A pro-Israel candidate for the British Conservative Party in a local election was suspended after refusing to take a down a post offering his condolences to the 11 Israelis killed in terror attacks in the last week.
According to the UK Jewish News, Dr Shadman Zaman, a candidate in Bury, Greater Manchester, was ordered to “take down” the Facebook post on Wednesday by the constituency group’s leader. When he did not do so, Zaman said on Thursday that he had been suspended as a candidate by the local Conservative Party.
Zaman was running for a seat in the Besses ward in the municipal election in Bury. His post written after the third terrorist attack in Israel offered his “deepest condolences” to the “families and friends of the victims” of the three attacks. According to the Jewish News, Bury Conservative leader Nick Jones messaged Zaman and told him: “Shadman can this be taken down. We need to keep local.”
When asked, Jones told the news outlet that he had “categorically not told candidates they cannot post pro-Israel sentiments,” but added he had instructed candidates to “focus on the local election.”
In terms of Zaman specifically, Jones said: “The candidate in question for Besses was advised that all social media would need to be approved by the agent as per our group rules and has failed to do this.“
In a follow up Facebook post titled “Why couldn’t an NHS doctor remain a candidate for Bury Conservatives?” Zaman wrote that while he has “love” and “loyalty” for “modern Conservative values” and has found the national Conservative Party to be a “broad church,” he discovered that the local Bury Conservative Party is “riddled with infighting, leadership crisis, shenanigans and backstabbing.”
“I should have known when I witnessed how deserving people like Jordan Lewis were deselected, most likely for his Zionist connections! How long term councillor Yvonne Wright left to run as an independent! How good and hard working candidates were cast aside in favour to please one community with the false hope that it will repay in a [general election] instead of focusing on issues that matter to the people,” he said.
Zaman, who describes himself as “a Zionist since the age of 12 and will remain so,” was the first Bangladeshi national to visit Israel.
Remarking that he was told not to “write anything ‘pro-Israel” as it might offend certain section of people in Bury North,” Zaman said that he felt like former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was running the local Conservative Party.
“I was howled at for one of the posts condemning antisemitism in the [National Union of Students] and forced to delete a post condemning a murder of a women's rights activist by Islamists in Pakistan. I was told not to mention the word ‘Bangladesh’ at all during the campaign as it might offend a certain section of people in Bury North… Every time, that one word – ‘deselection’ – would be used as a threat.
Zaman explained that he can’t run as a Bury Conservative “at the cost of my identity” and called the relationship between him and his campaign agent “toxic.”
“The Bury Conservatives even asked me to finance my own campaign as they took away all funding from Besses to another area and in return I was promised a safe seat next year,” he wrote. ”For me politics was never about money or a safe seat. It is about the people. I fell in love with Besses and my plans for Besses was born out of my desire to improve the lives of the people.”
“Dear residents of Besses, if you feel like I have let you down then I apologize but I can't function in such cesspool of toxicity called Bury Conservatives,” Zaman wrote. “To Bury Conservatives, be better and be human please. You can be great politicians and I am sure some day, some of you will become MPs from safe seats, but be human first and don't forget the core intention of power and politics: ‘To Do Good For the People...' Sincerely Yours, Dr Shadman Zaman, NHS Doctor, Zionist, Bangladeshi and Proud.”