Jewish community leaders condemn Labour candidate for 'Zionist Slave Masters' Facebook post

Lisa Forbes, who is running in Thursday's Peterborough by-election, endorsed posts claiming Islamic extremists were created by the CIA and Mossad




Labour's candidate in the Peterborough by-election has apologised for liking an antisemitic Facebook post that claims Theresa May has a “Zionist Slave Masters agenda”.

An investigation of Lisa Forbes's social media activity also found she approved of a message claiming Islamic extremists were created by the CIA and Mossad.

“I have enjoyed reading this thread so much," she commented underneath. “So much that trys [sic] to divide us, but there is far much more that unites us.”

Jewish community leaders said in a joint statement that her social media activity brought her suitability for public office into question.

The first post contained a video about a Muslim community's Friday prayers for the victims of the Christchurch mosque shooting in March, and Ms Forbes said she had liked this and “not the views expressed in the accompanying text”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to comment on the social media activity, which was discovered by freelance investigative journalist Iggy Ostanin, while campaigning in Peterborough on Saturday.

Ms Forbes told the Sunday Times she apologised “wholeheartedly for not calling out these posts”, adding: “Regardless of whether I am elected, I will deepen my understanding of antisemitism so I can act as an ally, challenging it wherever it occurs.”

In a joint statement, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust said the revelation “brings in to question her suitability for public office”, adding that Ms Forbes's claim to have not seen the words “stretches the limits of credulity”.

The statement by Marie van der Zyl, Simon Johnson and David Delew continued: “Ms Forbes also says she will seek antisemitism training. This is somewhat ironic given her previous rejection of the IHRA definition of antisemitism. 

“We are fed up hearing that Labour opposes antisemitism while repeatedly hearing excuses that its members accidentally missed the racism that was staring them in the face.

“Unless Labour disowns Lisa Forbes as a candidate, it will only confirm the Party’s shameful descent into the racist mess for which they are now being investigated by the EHRC.”

Ella Rose, equalities officer for the Jewish Labour Movement, added: “From anti-Jewish racism, transphobia and islamophobia to sexual harassment and misogyny, it’s clear that the Labour Party procedures are not fit for purpose. 

”Until morality is put above factionalism and nepotism, the Labour Party will continue to fail to protect minority groups.”

Thursday's by-election in Peterborough takes place after the removal of Fiona Onasanya, who was elected for Labour but expelled after her conviction for perverting the course of justice.

The seat is expected to be closely contested after Labour defeated the Conservatives in the 2017 general election by just 607 votes.

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