Labour candidate appears to compare Netanyahu to Hitler

Jane Aitchison was defending comments by a fellow Labour hopeful who said she would celebrate the deaths of Benjamin Netanyahu and Tony Blair


A Labour candidate has appeared to compare Benjamin Netanyahu and Tony Blair to Hitler.

Jane Aitchison, the party’s candidate for Pudsey in Yorkshire, was defending comments made by Zarah Sultana, a fellow Labour hopeful who said she would celebrate the deaths of Mr Netanyahu and Mr Blair.

She had been asked by BBC Radio 5 live presenter Emma Barnett whether Ms Sultana should be permitted to run as the Labour candidate in Coventry South.

Ms Aitchison did concede that Ms Sultana’s comments were “wrong” and “not tasteful”, but said that “people do celebrate deaths sometimes”.

After pausing for 12 seconds, she said: “I think I’d like to talk to her, and see what she was really trying to say. Is she apologising? I don’t know. If she’s apologising, then I think that would be OK.

“People do celebrate deaths sometimes. Is it really good to celebrate deaths? It’s not. But people do sometimes because they feel strongly about whatever that person represented.

“People, for instance, celebrated the death of Hitler. It’s not tasteful.”

Ms Sultana apologised on Monday for her posts about Tony Blair, saying they were written in 2015 out of "frustration".

In a statement on Tuesday, Ms Sultana said: "BAME structures bring together all people who experience different forms of racism. I support Labour’s BAME structures and their inclusivity of all people, including Jewish people, who experience racism.

"At university, I used insensitive language when trying to articulate the need for a specific campaign for students who experience racism based on the colour of their skin, such as racist stop and searches on campuses and the attainment gap.

"I should have been more inclusive and I shouldn't have used the language I did. I am genuinely sorry for having done so."

Andrew Percy, Tory MP and vice-chairman of the APPG on antisemitism, said: "This is a shocking and disgusting slur showing just how common place antisemitism and baiting of the Jewish community has become within Corbyn's Labour Party.

“Comparing Israeli leaders with Adolf Hitler, a man responsible for the death of 6 million Jews, is not only deeply upsetting to the Jewish community but also sick.

“To have a parliamentary candidate defend these comments just shows how rampant antisemitism is still alive and well in Corbyn’s Labour Party."

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