Two academics paid up to £10,000 each to advise the Commission for Countering Extremism have posted antisemitic material online, including that Israel is in an “alliance with Al Qaeda”, according to The Sunday Times.
Professor Tahir Abbas, who holds a post at the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University in the Netherlands, reportedly tweeted that Labour’s problem with antisemitism had been exaggerated, and that the “fear of antisemitism is greater than the reality”, and that the issue had been used to “target” Jeremy Corbyn.
The second academic, Dr Sadek Hamid, retweeted an article claiming that the “Israel lobby” had “manufactured” the Labour Party’s antisemitism crisis. His account claims that his retweets are “not endorsements”.
The academics both editedPolitical Muslims, and recently spoke together at an event organised by the notorious Islamic Human Rights Commission, which organises the annual “Al Quds Day” parade through London, which has traditionally been a show of support for Hizballah, the genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisation, support for which has now been made illegal in the UK following years of campaigning by Campaign Against Antisemitism and our allies.
Speaking at the event, Dr Hamid said that he had taken his role with the Commission to help “dismantle” Prevent, the Government’s counter-extremism programme. Speaking alongside Dr Hamid, Professor Abbas reportedly said that Muslim radicalisation was “natural”, given the “widening inequality” facing British Muslims and that “being radical by itself is not necessarily a problem”, although violent radicalisation was.
The Sunday Times claims that an official at the Commission, Euan Neill, said that the academics’ opinions were “inevitable among some of the people” that the Commission worked with.
Sara Khan, the Commissioner told the newspaper: “Having been made aware of these abhorrent tweets, I have already challenged the academics. They both stated they rejected antisemitism…”
Professor Abbas told The Sunday Times that he was not an anti-semite and had deleted the tweet, which he said was “sloppily worded”.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has confidence in Sara Khan and the weak response to this matter is uncharacteristic. We are seeking clarification from her as to why she has not responded more forcefully.