Board suspends Southend deputy for two years over unacceptable posts

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Board suspends Southend deputy for two years over unacceptable posts

Peter Baum is suspended by the Board until May 2024 over social media posts labelling Palestinians 'Nazis' and 'child abusers'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies
Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies

Peter Baum – the Deputy for Southend & Westcliff Hebrew Congregation – has been suspended by the Board for over two years after he repeatedly labelled Palestinians “Nazis” and “child abusers” in a series of social media posts.

In a statement, the Board of Deputies confirmed Baum’s suspension up until May 2024 for “tweeting unacceptable content”.

Baum’s suspension is in place until the end of the current triennium but he will be able to apply for the suspension to be lifted after six months subject to a sincere apology and a meaningful change in his behaviour.

President Marie van der Zyl confirmed: “Mr Baum’s conduct in tweeting unacceptable content is antithetical to the values and standing of the Board.

“The values expressed in these tweets are wholly inconsistent with his role as a Deputy, and undermine our work to challenge racism and antisemitism”.

A formal complaint was submitted about Baum’s conduct in January after he made a series of inflammatory comments about Palestinians – calling their supporters “human excrement” in an opinion piece published by WeeklyBlitz on 31 December.

After a subsequent investigation, Baum was warned about his conduct and put on notice that should he continue to espouse “racist views” much strong sanctions would follow.

But a new complaint to the Board submitted in February oultined how he had continued to “express the most appalling racist views” in a stream of online posts.

An investigation by the Board into Baum’s conduct upheld two complaints this week.

The suspended Deputy confirmed his suspension on social media claiming he had been sanctioned for “representing the community I was born and raised in for tweeting that the Palestinians are Nazis and calling Desmond Tutu a true black coward.”

Messages of support for Baum included a post by Yehoshua Jacobs which said:”We had kapos in the concentration camps, we have them today running Jewish organisations. Be glad you are not a club member.”

The right-wing pro-Israel activist Jonathan Hoffman claimed Baum’s suspension had been overseen by a “leftist”.

He wrote:”Having wrecked the ZF the left has taken over the BoD.”

Another poster on Baum’s Facebook page used a vile slur for black people.

Others claimed he was a victim of cancel culture.

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