Labour councillor suspended over Facebook post saying ‘no factual basis’ for Jewish race

Puru Miah with former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn Pic: Puru Miah

Tower Hamlets Labour councillor Puru Miah has been suspended by the Labour Party as it investigates claims of anti-Semitism over a 2014 Facebook post.

Miah, the former treasurer of Momentum and a councillor for Mile End, claimed in the post: “There is no factual basis whatsoever for a Jewish race, nation or homeland, it is all a recently invented propaganda called ‘Zionism’.” Miah has since deleted the post and apologised.

He was speaking in relation to Israeli historian Shlomo Sand’s controversial book The Invention of the Jewish People. Shlomo criticises the theories surrounding Jewish identity, and questions the factual evidence surrounding several events in Jewish history, including the Jewish diaspora, which he calls a modern invention.

Miah’s Facebook comments. Pic: Jewish News

In an open letter to Jewish News, who initially broke the story, Miah said: “I am embarrassed, given the current context of anxieties in the Jewish community and the backdrop of rising prejudices against minority communities. The situation fills me with regret.”

The Labour party are currently investigating. “I will not comment on the matter any further. In the meantime, I ask people to join me in having full confidence in the Labour Party’s complaints procedures,” he said.

A party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of anti-Semitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

This is not the first time Miah has faced party suspension. Last month, members of the public, Labour and non-Labour Party members called for his suspension as a Labour councillor over allegations that he breached COVID-19 Regulations. Miah issued a statement denying all allegations.

Miah’s suspension reflects the ongoing issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, and comes just one month after former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the party over allegations of anti-Semitism.

Last month, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published their findings of an enquiry into whether the Labour Party had “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish.”  The report found the Party was “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.”

Tower Hamlets Council and the regional London Labour party did not respond to requests for comment.

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