Former Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob is now running to become Labour’s candidate for the Mayor of the West Midlands metropolitan area, despite her deeply troubling record and her having reportedly only become a Party member some four months ago.
In a 2013 tweet (that she has since deleted), Ms Yaqoob stated: “Iceland arrests 10 Rothschild bankers…wow”, and linked to an article making this false claim and featuring a prominent image of the banker and philanthropist Lord Jacob Rothschild. The article linked in turn to a longer piece on the “Political Vel Craft” website, which is known for disseminating extreme conspiracy theories.
She has repeatedly tweeted about “Zionists”, including accusing Zionists of “heartlessness”; describing allegations of antisemitism against Ken Livingstone as “Zionist smears”; claiming that Zionists are “aligned…with [the] right promoting Imperial wars”; abusing others as “Zionist trolls”, and stating that “Zionists have abused the memory of the Holocaust to bolster support for today’s Israeli state and its racist and murderous policies.” These tweets have also very recently been deleted.
On 16th May this year, Ms Yaqoob posted a video on Facebook (which has now been removed but remains available on Youtube) of a speech she made to a rally, in which she described Israelis as “European colonisers” who had somehow contrived to be involved in the Eurovision Song Contest, but were only “pretending to be European” in order to gain solidarity from “white” European nations against “brown ‘other’ Muslim Arab dehumanised species”. She ended her diatribe against the Jewish State by stating: “…no matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, a pig is still a pig.”
Non-European nations have regularly been involved in the contest since its inception, and even Australia has recently joined, while Israel’s hosting of the competition, far from being part of a “plot”, as Ms Yaqoob implies, was a result of Israel’s contestant having received the most votes the previous year.
Ms Yaqoob has also praised Jewish Voice for Labour, an antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, and has described efforts to address Labour’s antisemitism crisis (which by inference includes the Party’s adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism) as “a vicious campaign for censorship,” while insisting that she does not “stand for even a drop of antisemitism”.
Ms Yaqoob’s record of controversial pronouncements and activity, including with regard to Middle Eastern politics, is longer still. She has also been accused of homophobia and has notably been described as “unfit for office” by Labour MP Naz Shah because of the conduct of her campaign to unseat the Bradford West MP in 2017. There are also questions surrounding how Ms Yaqoob has been able to run as a candidate despite only having recently joined the Labour Party — and having run a vicious campaign against a sitting Labour MP only two years ago which reportedly left Ms Shah feeling suicidal.
Jeremy Corbyn has lionised Ms Yaqoob, describing her as a “hero” and a “fantastic activist”.
The pro-Corbyn Momentum group, including its leader, Jon Lansman, has endorsed Ms Yaqoob, despite the group conceding that Rothschild conspiracy theories are antisemitic. Ms Yaqoob has also received support from the Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon and numerous councillors and trade unionists, and the endorsements of high-profile pro-Corbyn “outriders”, including The Guardian columnists Ellie-Mae O’Hagan and Owen Jones, the The New Satesman’s Grace Blakeley, and Novara Media’s Aaron Bastani.
Joe Glasman, Head of Political and Government Investigations at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Salma Yaqoob’s tweet endorsing Rothschild conspiracy theories, which cites as its source a bizarre antisemitic website, make her unfit for membership of any political party, yet the Labour Party — whose leader has described her as a ‘hero’ — is attempting to fast-track her from the leadership of George Galloway’s Respect Party to a Labour mayoralty. Mr Galloway and Mr Corbyn have for decades been of the same political mind, and the coordinated support for Ms Yaqoob’s candidacy from Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon, Momentum and Mr Corbyn’s most prominent media cheerleaders can be no accident. It demonstrates that the Labour Party’s institutional antisemitism is so deep-rooted that it is no longer concerned by naked displays of racism.”
On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Over 55,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”