Green Party warned it’s ‘sinking into growing cesspit of racism’

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Green Party warned it’s ‘sinking into growing cesspit of racism’

Joe Belcher, Green candidate for Aldridge-Brownhills, wrote "the leaders of Israel, and Gaza conspired to carry out what happened on Oct 7 for financial gain."

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Joe Belcher
Joe Belcher

The Green Party has been urged to remove some of its general election candidates, over fears the party risks “sinking into a growing cesspit of racism”.

The Board of Deputies has fired a warning after Joe Belcher, the Green candidate for Aldridge-Brownhills, wrote on social media that “the leaders of Israel and Gaza conspired to carry out what happened on Oct 7 for financial gain.”

In a message posted on X/Twitter last November, Belcher also claimed: “Why would Hamas commanders order Oct 7 to then have their territory destroyed and their people killed or displaced from Gaza? For money? If so, who offered them this money? The Israel government?”

A spokesperson for the Board of Deputies told Jewish News: “We are increasingly concerned about the Green Party’s lack of due diligence around their candidates.

“Through their social media activity, some candidates appear to sympathise with the most crude antisemitic slurs. If the Green Party does not start showing some principle on this, it risks its wider agenda sinking into a growing cesspit of racism.”

On Thursday the Greens launched their election campaign in Bristol, where they are hoping to perform well on July 4.

But co-leader Carla Denyer has repeatedly been forced to comment on claims of antisemitism amongst candidates in recent months.

She told Jewish News previously: “I’m very conscious of the rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia across UK society. It is really concerning and it has no place in politics.

“I’m very conscious of the level of hurt felt by some Jewish communities across the country who feel unsafe by comments that have been made.

“I want to be clear that the Green Party takes all allegations of antisemitism and all racism very seriously. I have faith in our internal processes to investigate those.

“I’m not personally involved in those processes and I think that’s quite correct.”

The i newspaper reported that another Green candidate Sherief Hassan, running in Hemel Hempstead, liked a post which said “Israel must be eliminated” and another which claimed Jeffrey Epstein ran a blackmail operation for Israel.

While Maddison Wheeldon, MP candidate for Warrington North, compared Israel and Zionists with Nazis in posts on X this month. In one she wrote saying in one: “It is the Israelis and others supporting Zionism that are akin to the Germans that supported the Nazis.”

After winning in the local elections earlier this month Mothin Ali, a Green Party councillor elected in Leeds, said the result was a “win for the people of Gaza” before shouting “Allahu Akbar”.

After his conduct sparked complaints and concern from the Jewish community in Leeds, Ali, who said he did not support violence, said he was “sorry for any upset” caused.

The Jewish Labour Movement has previously raised concerns about former Labour members, who were expelled or suspended over antisemitism claims, being allowed to join the Greens.

The party confirmed it is working with Lord Mann, the government’s independent advisor on antisemitism, “to better educate Green representatives about anti-Jewish racism”.

Lord Mann, a former Labour MP, initially wrote to the party before 2 May’s English local elections over posts allegedly made by candidates Mohamed Makawi and Abdul Malik from October 2023.

The Green Party said Mr Makawi had has since apologised and undertaken social media training, while Malik was “unwittingly” implicated by being tagged in the post.

Malik told the BBC he did not put up a post showing Hamas spokesmen, and said he completely condemns the attacks on Israel.

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