A Labour councillor in Brighton and Hove has apologised for calling Israel a “racist” state and has resigned from her role as deputy housing chairwoman and rough sleeping chief pending an investigation.
Pictures have emerged showing Nichole Brennan holding a sign calling Israel a “racist, apartheid state” in a protest two years ago at Hove Town Hall against the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by the local authority. The Definition lists “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”) as an example of antisemitism.
Brighton and Hove City Council adopted the Definition.
In a statement, Cllr Brennan said: “I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused to the Jewish community and I sincerely regret campaigning in this way…This happened two years ago, before I was a councillor. At the time I was not as knowledgeable about the [D]efinition of antisemitism as I am now. I do not seek to excuse my actions.”
She went on to say: “I have referred myself to the Labour Party and will fully cooperate with any investigation and have stepped aside from my role as deputy chair of housing and lead for homelessness and rough sleeping, pending its outcome.”
Cllr Brennan reportedly added that she now fully supports the Definition.
A spokesman for the Labour Party said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously. They are always fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and appropriate action is taken.”
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In the first release of its Antisemitism in Political Parties research, Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that Labour Party candidates for Parliament in the 2019 general election accounted for 82 percent of all incidents of antisemitic discourse by parliamentary candidates.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.
(Photo credit: Brighton and Hove City Council)