AS the General Election looms ever closer, more stories of candidates dabbling in antisemitism have emerged. ADAM CAILLER looks at some of the stories you may not have seen.
LIBERAL Democrat candidate Wera Hobhouse was forced to apologise after a 2014 tweet was uncovered in which she said that Gaza was like “Nazi ghettos in which Jews were trapped”.
The 59-year-old, who was also the Lib-Dems’ climate change spokesperson, told a London Jewish newspaper that she “abhors antisemitism with every fibre of my being”.
She said: “My mother’s brothers and sisters had to flee the Holocaust because they were Jewish, and it destroyed their families.
“I had an uncle imprisoned in Dachau, and a great uncle murdered because he was mentally ill.
“This was the reality for my family in Nazi Germany, and we still live with the trauma.
“However, I apologise unreservedly for any offence I have caused.
“Looking back at these tweets I realise that trying to discuss hugely serious issues via 140 characters is a mistake.”
But it also emerged that, in 2015, she tweeted: “Israel cynically using memory of the Holocaust. Never again this suffering to anybody not just Jews #bbcthebigquestion.”
THE Brexit Party has been told to remove a candidate who co-founded, and performs with a Nazi-themed heavy metal band.
Photos and video of Graham Cushway, the bassist for Stuka Squadron, have emerged of him wearing an outfit featuring the SS symbol.
Labour candidate Lloyd Russell-Moyle said: “It is pretty abhorrent to appear in a Luftwaffe heavy metal tribute band and to dress up as a Nazi.”
But the group posted a statement on Facebook to deny the band is Nazi-themed.
A spokesman said: “Stuka Squadron is — and always was — solely AN ACT. It is an art-house heavy metal band intended from the start to blend elements of musical theatre with traditional heavy metal performance. No more, no less.”
A LABOUR candidate has pulled out after he was overheard calling a Jewish councillor a “Shylock”.
Gideon Bull has denied using it directly at the unnamed person, but did admit to using the word during a private meeting.
And he claims to have not known that the Shakespearean character was Jewish.
Mr Bull said: “I used an analogy when referring to a housing decision being called in by backbenchers.
“I was not referring to the councillor, who was not part of the call-in.
“When she politely informed me that this saying was offensive, I immediately apologised and explained that I did not know that Shylock was Jewish and I would never have mentioned Shylock if I had known this.
“I grew up in a working-class area in Ilford where this was a common saying, but I didn’t know it was offensive.”
Labour’s candidate for St Ives has denied the band she performs in sings antisemitic songs.
Alana Bates said the song by her band The Tribunes, called From the River to the Sea, was “not antisemitic” despite the phrase being used by anti-Israel protestors to describe the “cleansing of Palestinian land”.
LIKE a bad smell, Chris Williamson refuses to go away.
Suspended from Labour for “Jew baiting”, and, last week, told he would not be selected as a Labour candidate, he has announced he will be standing as an independent candidate in Derby North.
And, he proclaimed, he will be the “only pro-Corbyn candidate on the ballot”.
He also called on Labour not to put someone up against him. They have — and it’s UNITE regional officer for the East Midlands, Tony Tinley.
Observant Jew Yosef David is taking on Jeremy Corbyn in his own backyard.
And the Brexit Party candidate is well aware that he probably won’t win.
He said: “I am aware that overturning a 30,000-plus majority would be a miracle.
“This is my way of highlighting the impact of the antisemitism epidemic in the Labour Party on the community.
“A Corbyn government would be a disaster for our community and the entire country.”
ANOTHER denial from a Labour candidate by way of the party’s International Shadow Development secretary Dan Carden.
He denied turning the lyrics of Beatles classic Hey Jude into Hey Jews.
A BuzzFeed journalist claimed to have heard Mr Carden change the lyrics on a late-night trip back from Cheltenham races in March, 2018.
But Mr Carden said: “I have been categorical in my denial about allegations relating to a coach trip some 20 months ago.
“This was a coach full of journalists and MPs. If anyone genuinely believed any antisemitic behaviour had taken place, they would’ve had a moral responsibility to report it immediately.”
NORTH WEST DURHAM
THE front-runner to take over as Labour’s deputy leader, Laura Pidcock, decided that invoking the words of Jesus Christ before he was crucified was a sensible idea, this week.
She told a Durham audience: “I have absolute faith that this is our time. I know we are on the path towards justice.
“And I know because Jeremy Corbyn might become PM they will throw everything at us.
“They will say some really hurtful things. Forgive them. For they know not what they do.”
But a spokesman said: “Laura said a well-known and often-quoted verse from the bible at her campaign launch.
“Any suggestion that her doing so was antisemitic is absurd and defamatory.”
Her father Bernard was a former Catholic priest.
LABOUR candidate Mark McDonald described the party’s antisemitism problem as “racism smears” that were “politically motivated”.
He claimed that the antisemitism problem was the result of an “unholy alliance” between the Conservative Party and a “small group” of Labour MPs.
Writing in The Tribune in 2016, he said: “It is not surprising that they found one or two antisemitic bad eggs, but to say that the Labour Party has a problem with antisemitism is simply not true.”
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