‘Shock’ over councillors’ Netanyahu-Hitler comparison

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

‘Shock’ over councillors’ Netanyahu-Hitler comparison

Sir Eric Pickles condemned comments made by local officials in Leicester in a letter to the City's Mayor this week

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Conservative Friends of Israel chairman Sir Eric Pickles has expressed his “shock” at comments from Labour councillors in Leicester comparing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler.

In a letter to Leicester’s mayor Sir Peter Soulsby, sent on Tuesday, Pickles describes how other councillors have in the past said Britain sponsors “Jewish colonial immigration” and compared Israel to Apartheid South Africa.

“It was with real shock that I came across a number of statements by your Labour councillors which are a real concern,” he said. “I am sure many in the Jewish community would find these comments unacceptable.”

None of the comments Pickles mentions were made in the last two years, with some dating back to 2012, and his intervention follows a recommendation by former Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti that a line be drawn under past comments made by Labour members.

Leicester City Council was one of three local authorities accused of anti-Semitism for instituting a boycott of Israeli goods and services from the West Bank in the wake of the Gaza conflict in 2014, in a motion proposed by Cllr Mohammed Dawoob.

In his letter to Soulsby, Pickles said that a year earlier, in 2013, Dawoob said Britain sponsored “Jewish colonial immigration” to Palestine from 1918 to 1948, and that in 2012 he compared Israeli policies to apartheid.

A legal challenge for discrimination, brought against Leicester’s boycott by Jewish Human Rights Watch last year, was unsuccessful in the High Court.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: