Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Suspension Threat for Councillor Facing Probe over Social Media Posts; 'ZIONIST REGIME' FACEBOOK COMMENTS SCRUTINISED

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Suspension Threat for Councillor Facing Probe over Social Media Posts; 'ZIONIST REGIME' FACEBOOK COMMENTS SCRUTINISED

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE KELLY Reporter mike.kelly@trinitymirror.com

A LEADING Tyneside councillor is facing possible suspension after being plunged into the centre of Labour's anti-Semitism scandal.

Dipu Ahad, who represents Elswick in Newcastle's West End, is one of 10 sitting councillors nationwide named by BuzzFeed News as appearing in a dossier of people flagged up as allegedly being anti-Semitic.

It was compiled by Labour Against anti-Semitism, a group of volunteers who prepare reports on members and then submit them to Labour's head office.

In it, screen shots of Coun Ahad's Facebook page show him saying he voted against a planning application for a Marks & Spencer store "on principal (sic)" - also saying the store was "directly killing innocent Palestinian people by directly funding the Zionist regime".

According to the report, Coun Ahad also "liked" posts referring to Zionists controlling the media and countries being in debt to "Rothschilds".

The opposition Liberal Democrats on Newcastle City Council say the comments, made in February 2013, could constitute a breach of code of conduct which should now be investigated.

Coun Ahad was not prepared to comment when contacted on Tuesday.

However, in a comment emailed to BuzzFeed News, he wrote: "Ever since I got elected in 2007 I have a history of working tirelessly in bringing all the various communities in Newcastle together. "As to your focus of my relations with the Jewish community, let me state the following: 1. I am on record to have condemned anti-Semitism throughout my history.

"2. I have had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz in 2012 and my views are public in this regard.

"3. I was the chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day in Newcastle." He went on: "It is possible there will be Muslim councillors and members of Labour Party who will view the need to justify our innocence as McCarthyism. "While there is a continued need to find prejudice and xenophobia in our country I believe your approach will alienate those very people who should be part of the team to eradicate these evils.

"Sincere, anti-racist campaigners look for positives in people and build coalitions rather than invest resources searching for spurious connection from decades ago to condemn them. …

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