Jewish groups call on Labour to disown Peterborough by-election candidate

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Jewish groups call on Labour to disown Peterborough by-election candidate

Lisa Forbes has apologised for social media posts and pledged to receive antisemitism training

Lisa Forbes with Jeremy Corbyn
Lisa Forbes with Jeremy Corbyn

Jewish groups have urged Labour to disown a Peterborough by-election candidate who appeared to endorse antisemitic material on social media.

Lisa Forbes is standing in a hotly contested by-election on Thursday and has the backing of Jeremy Corbyn, who led a rally in her support on Saturday.

Forbes has apologised for her social media activity, which was uncovered by freelance reporter Iggy Ostanin, who shared his findings on Friday.

The Labour candidate liked a post that said Theresa May had a “Zionist slave masters agenda”. She also commented on another post that claimed Isis was was created by the CIA and Mossad, by writing: “I have enjoyed reading this thread so much.”

Following immediate criticism, Forbes “wholeheartedly apologised” for failing to condemn the posts and pledged to undergo antisemitism training.

“Standing up against hatred towards one group of people must never be allowed to become hatred of another,” she said. “Regardless of whether I am elected, I will deepen my understanding of antisemitism, so I can act as an ally, challenging antisemitism wherever it occurs.”

In a joint statement, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jewish Leadership Council, and Community Security Trust, said her social media activity “brings into question her suitability for public office”.

“We are fed up hearing that Labour opposes antisemitism while repeatedly hearing excuses that its members accidentally missed the racism that was staring them in the face,” the statement read. “Unless Labour disowns Lisa Forbes as a candidate, it will only confirm the party’s shameful descent into the racist mess for which they are now being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.”

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt criticised what he described as “virtue signaling” on Labour’s side, as he waited to greet President Trump at Stansted Airport this morning

He told Sky: ‘For the Labour Party to be boycotting this visit on the grounds of sexism and racism on a day where, in the newspapers, their candidate in the Peterborough by-election is being accused of liking an antisemitic post on Facebook, when they are being accused of turning a blind eye to terrible behaviour in the Labour party HQ, shows, I’m afraid, that this about virtue signalling on Labour’s side, this is not about any position of principal.”

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