The frontrunner for the position of BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) representative on the Labour Party’s ruling body has reportedly been suspended for posting an allegedly antisemitic cartoon on social media.
Mehmood Mirza, the vice chair of the West Ham branch of the Labour Party, was considered the favourite for election to the post on the National Executive Committee, but following a complaint back in October 2019 about a cartoon he posted on Facebook, he has now been suspended.
The cartoon apparently depicted a man wearing a headband with the words “free Palestine” who had a sticker with the word “antisemitism” placed over his mouth. The cartoon was drawn by the controversial cartoonist Carlos Latuff, an artist who placed second in Iran’s Holocaust Denial Cartoon Contest.
Some activists expressed disappointment that Mr Mirza was allowed to run at all, given the complaint had been lodged some time ago. Nevertheless, he received 75 local party nominations – more than any other candidate – and was backed by the TSSA union and the Labour Left Alliance group.
At least five candidates have been suspended over the course of the campaign thus far, namely Jo Bird, Mohammed Azam, Graham Durham, Mehmood Mirza and Keith Hussein, albeit Jo Bird had her suspension lifted.
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.