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Labour suspends Walthamstow activist for antisemitic Facebook posts

    David Watson with Sadiq Khan
    David Watson with Sadiq Khan

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    A Labour activist has been suspended from the party after the JC brought his antisemitic posts on social media to light.

    David Watson, the fundraising co-ordinator for the Walthamstow Labour Party, has been suspended pending an investigation, a spokesperson confirmed.

    He shared articles on Facebook alleging that Daesh has used weapons made in Israel, comparing Mossad with the Nazis and accusing Israel of genocide against the Palestinians.

    Though he deleted his Twitter account on Monday, cached images reveal that he retweeted an image which describes a Jewish ritual in which a man puts his mouth on a baby’s circumcised penis.

    Mr Watson also wrote in a Facebook status: “If I were a Palestinian, like most people ... I'd probably want to be a guerilla fighter and liberate my people from a brutal and oppressive occupation.”

    Another post saw Mr Watson call Zionism “a racist ideology.”

    Following the suspensions of Labour MP Naz Shah and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, he voiced his support for the pair, describing Ms Shah’s post about relocating Israel to the US as “supposedly antisemitic”.

    When asked for a comment on his suspension, Mr Watson told the JC: “I've never made any antisemitic comments in my life, so I’m very surprised.”

    On Monday evening he made a statement over his reinstated Twitter account, writing: "These charges are spurious and I am totally innocent.

    "I have opposed racism and antisemitism all my life, both personally and professionally. As an activist I have participated on demonstrations against racism and as a professional I have fought vigorously to combat racism in schools.

    "My strong support for the Anne Frank project for example, is something I am particularly proud of. The allegations leading to my suspension are without justification and I will fight them vigorously, in court if necessary."

    In a public post on Facebook the Wednesday before, he appeared to be aware of his fate, writing: “It seems that the Witch-hunt Against Anti-Semites (sic) is heading my way.”

    Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, said she was “very clear that we must show zero tolerance” to antisemitism in the constituency.

    She said she would “expect and indeed be calling for the local leadership” to take action over the issue, adding: “Bigotry has no place in a party campaigning for social justice.

    “Walthamstow is a diverse and very tolerant community - I’ve lived here for 20 years and it’s really important we be clear that hatred of one group begets hatred of another.

    “Bigotry is hatred, and hatred doesn’t help you to have a debate. Those people who suggest otherwise don’t understand the power of bigotry to exclude and disempower people.”

    Mark Hope, chair of the Walthamstow Labour Party, was unaware that his fundraising coordinator had been suspended and refused to give any comment on the subject.

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