Revealed: UK Labour Party’s Corbyn Defended Candidate Who Called Israel ‘Pig,’ Retweeted Antisemitic Article
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK Labour party who is widely considered an antisemite, has defended a party candidate who referred to Israel as a “pig” and ranted online against “Zionists,” The Daily Mail reported on Sunday.
Salma Yaqoob, a former member of Israel-hating politician George Galloway’s Respect Party, is shortlisted to be a Labour candidate for mayor of the West Midlands. She has been vehemently opposed by several Labour members and MPs, and the party’s LGBT organization has denounced her as a homophobe.
The Mail discovered a 2013 video of Corbyn calling Yaqoob, a “hero” and “fantastic activist.”
Asked to comment, Corbyn’s spokesman said, “Of course Jeremy praised Salma Yaqoob in 2013 for her years of work on anti-war and anti-austerity campaigns. Those campaigns have been vindicated.”
Yaqoob was a member of the far-left organization Stop the War, of which Corbyn was also a prominent leader.
Dissident Labour MP Ruth Smeeth said of Corbyn’s comment, “I personally think Salma Yaqoob has no place in our movement.”
“The idea anyone could see her as a hero or a heroine is beyond my comprehension,” she added.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews slammed Yaqoob, saying, “Not only was Salma Yaqoob formerly a senior associate of George Galloway in the Respect Party, but she has also retweeted an article about ‘Rothschild bankers’ arrested in Iceland — a clear antisemitic trope.”
The group’s president Marie van der Zyl said, “No one who refers to Jews as ‘pigs’ could possibly be considered for high office by any reputable party.”
“Labour must withdraw her from the shortlist for West Midlands mayor and expel her immediately,” she added.
The party group Labour Against Anti-Semitism also chimed in, saying, “Salma Yaqoob has a track record of allegedly making overtly anti-Semitic public statements. It is beyond belief that she has been shortlisted as a potential candidate for the mayor of West Midlands, a region with a proud history of tolerance and multiculturalism.”
The group’s spokeswoman Fiona Sharpe said, “Labour should withdraw Ms. Yaqoob from the selection process: there must be no place for someone with her apparently toxic views anywhere in our democratic system.”