Unite suspends official who accused Hodge of ‘weaponising the Holocaust’ to push her ‘Zionist agenda’

The trade union is investigating the comments by communications officer Nick West


Unite has suspended an official who accused of Jewish MP Dame Margaret Hodge of “weaponising” the Shoah to advance her “Zionist” agenda in a Holocaust Memorial Day tirade.

Communications officer Nick West said in the Facebook rant that Dame Margaret “wields the bloodshed as a political weapon”, adding: “Humanity would not miss her”. 

Disgusted readers called his post “stinking antisemitism” and “the cry of antisemites throughout the ages”.  Fellow Unite member Steve Cooke said: “Your comment is absolutely vile and if anyone is weaponising the Holocaust, it is you”.

Mr West has previously drawn parallels between the Holocaust and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and even suggested an Israeli lobby was behind Labour’s antisemitism row. 

In 2016, he wrote: “Criticism of the state of Israel isn’t antisemitism. The Jews suffered great tragedy and now inflict it on others.” 

And in 2018, he wrote: “As we know it’s all cobblers orchestrated by the power of the state of Israel’s lobbying and right-wing MPs’ objections to Corbyn. Labour needs to stand up and say this and stop apologising.” 

Mr West’s comment about Dame Margaret came in response to a Facebook post promoting her column for news website LabourList. 

 In her piece, she discussed the importance of HMD and tackling rising antisemitism, and described her refugee brother-in-law's escape from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport. 

“One of his earliest memories is Kristallnacht in November 1938, when his grandfather was assaulted and had all his teeth knocked out. His father had already lost his job as a judge because he was a Jew.

“Herbert and his little sister were among the few children who escaped on the Kindertransport. He still has the passport with the Nazi swastika imprinted on it. He remembers little of the journey to Liverpool Street. He was only eight.” 

 Dame Margaret became in recent years an outspoken critic of her party’s handling of antisemitism claims under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. She also spoke out several times about the antisemitic abuse she received on social media.

The Labour veteran, who defeated former BNP leader Nick Griffin at the ballot box in 2010, revealed last month she will not be standing again at the next election.

A Unite spokesman said: “Unite takes this matter extremely seriously.  The employee in question has been suspended and an investigation is under way.”

The JC contacted Mr West for comment.

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