A candidate for Britain’s Labour party has apologized for liking an anti-Semitic Facebook post that claims British Prime Minister Theresa May has a “Zionist Slave Masters agenda”, but local Jewish leaders have called on Labour to disown her.
An investigation of the social media activity of Lisa Forbes, Labour’s candidate in the Peterborough by-election. also found she approved of a message claiming Islamic extremists were created by the CIA and Mossad, the Jewish Chronicle reported Sunday.
“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 Forbes’ 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 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, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
Forbes told the Sunday Times she apologized “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.”
Meanwhile, 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 Forbes' 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 anti-Semitism training. This is somewhat ironic given her previous rejection of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.”
“We are fed up hearing that Labour opposes anti-Semitism while repeatedly hearing excuses that its members accidentally missed the racism that was staring them in the face,” they said.
“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.”
The incident is the latest in a series of troubling anti-Semitism involving Labour members. Dozens of Labour members who have been suspended and, in some cases, expelled from the party due to anti-Semitism over the last few years.
A report released in October of 2016 determined that the Labour party’s leadership is failing to seriously confront the anti-Semitism among its ranks.
More recently, nine Labour lawmakers left the party over its failure to tackle the problem of hatred toward Jews among party supporters and leaders.
And, last week, the United Kingdom’s Equality and Human Rights Commission officially launched an investigation into Labour’s anti-Semitism problem.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire not only for failing to tackle the anti-Semitism in the party but also for calling Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends" and for outright refusing to condemn those two terrorist organizations despite being urged to do so by local Jewish groups.
Corbyn insists he is not an anti-Semite. In an interview with the BBC in September of 2018 he described anti-Semitism “as a scourge in any society, I have opposed it all my life…I have spent my whole life opposing racism in any form and I will die fighting racism."