JLM accuse Labour candidate of ‘stoking community tensions’ on Gaza

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JLM accuse Labour candidate of ‘stoking community tensions’ on Gaza

Concerns have been raised about left-wing candidate Faiza Shaheem's attempt to position herself as the pro-Corbyn, pro-Palestine candidate in Chingford and Woodford Green

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Faiza Shaheem
Faiza Shaheem

Voters in Chingford and Woodford Green have raised concerns to the Jewish Labour Movement about the Labour candidate Faiza Shaheem, accusing her of attempting to “inflame community tensions” over Gaza.

Shaheem was one of the few left-wing candidates to be selected to fight a seat at the election, where she is attempting to oust ex-Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith from the north London seat.

But as she seeks to win over voters, Shaheen has attempted to stress her support for former leader Jeremy Corbyn by sharing a photograph of a newspaper article in which she was pictured holding arms with him.

The Telegraph newspaper article announced that Shaheen had one called Israel an “apartheid state”.

Faiza Shaheem deleted post on X

In the now deleted May 22 post on X/Twitter, she declared she had been “active on Palestine for 20 years and will be so if I make it into gov.”

Shaheem added:”I’m doing the best thing I can do to support, otherwise there will be another MP who will say nothing ot worse…”

In another May 22 post Shaheem wrote “if you live in the area” it’s either a choice between herself or “IDS who speaks at pro-Israel rallies.”

Meanwhile, The Sun also reported that on X Shaheem had  liked a post alleging that anybody who is mildly critical of Israel is “assailed” by “professional organisations” who “every time” inflict “non-stop harassment” and “accuse you of antisemitism”.

The post added that “you can’t easily ignore” the Israel lobby because they “tend to be your friends or people who move in the same circles as you”.

November 203 Insta post by Faiza Shaheem

A Jewish Labour Movement source said: “We’ve received a number of complaints about this from local Jewish members who are concerned about the tone of Ms Shaheen’s tweets and her pride on being pictured with a man who did so much harm to the party’s relationship with the Jewish community.

“Given the large Jewish community in the area, and at a time of record levels of antisemitism, we expect Labour candidates to speak responsibly, not risk stoking community tensions.

“We expect the Party to look at this seriously at the highest levels.”T

he source added:”Like the Jewish Labour Movement, many Jews are highly critical of Benjamin Netanyahu and his Government. 

“The problem is when that crosses a line.”

But on Monday,Shaheen was challenged again after posting online that the”Number 1 issue on the doorstep” was Gaza.

Meanwhile another Jewish Labour activist told Jewish News:””Of course party views differ on the Middle East, but surely we expect more from our candidate than inflaming community tensions during a general election. The party must take action while they still can.”

May 22 post by Faiza Shaheem

Last November, Shaheem had used her Instagram account to post a photograph of a pro-Palestine sit-in staged at Liverpool Street train station.

When challenged by Jewish News over the post, she claimed she was merely showing the event was happening when on her way home from work, rather than declaring support.”

Shaheem’s selection for the seat, which has a small, but not insignificant Jewish community, including Highams Park and Chingford United Synagogue, had proved a controversial one.

Some local activists claimed that when she previously stood in 2019 under Corbyn leadership a lot of resources were ploughed into the campaign, only for her to lose at the election.

In the past Shaheem is known to have been an ally of Jewish Voice For Labour founder Naomi Wimbourne-Idrissi, a former vice-chair of Chingford and Woodford Green CLP, before she was expelled from Labour.

Jewish News has contacted Shaheem and Labour for comment.

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