February 11, 2020

Stanley councillor 'suspended from Labour Party' over 'antisemitic' Facebook posts

A councillor has allegedly been suspended from the Labour Party for sharing supposedly antisemitic posts on Facebook.

In one post, councillor Lyn Boyd is accused of sharing a message suggesting George Michael’s music career suffered because of his stance on "illegal wars by the Zionists".

She has denied posting anything anti-semitic and said she would continue to campaign against "any form of racism".

Coun Boyd was elected to sit on Durham County Council to represent the Stanley ward by a winning margin of 919 votes in 2017. She is also the local authority’s cabinet support member for finance.

It is understood the county councillor was reported to the Labour Party on February 2 over material allegedly shared on her Facebook timeline.

It is understood that Coun Boyd has been suspended pending an investigation and she has told the Jewish News that she would not be seeking re-election in 2021.

Despite ChronicleLive's attempts to contact Coun Boyd, she did not respond to requests to comment.

However, she told the Jewish News: "I can assure you that as an ardent anti-racist I would never post anything that was antisemitic on Facebook. Therefore I have no idea where these vile slurs have originated."

She added she will "continue to campaign against any form of racism or antisemitic behaviour".

She later added she didn't "know" whether she was the holder of the Facebook account behind the posts.

"I have challenged and got rid of people who I considered to be anti semiotic, [sic] think the claims are vile because of my lifelong abhorrence of anti-racism and any form of antisemitism," she said.

Among the social media posts discovered was a shared Facebook post about George Michael. It states: "If you ever wondered why you heard little from George in later years, it was because he opposed illegal wars by the Zionists, eg, Iraq, Palestine, etc."

The Facebook post dates back to 2016, shortly after the singer’s death.

Other material found appeared to dismiss allegations of antisemitism that have engulfed the Labour Party in recent years as a "smear".

Another post shared in 2016 contains a link to a video of a German Shepherd mauling a child, with the caption: "This is how the Israeli Zionist attack Palestinian children. You won’t see this in the mainstream media as they control most of it. Please watch and share."

Stephane Savary, a national vice chair for the affiliate body the Jewish Labour Movement, called for Coun Boyd’s suspension from the party and says she is "unfit to hold any public office".

The campaigner accused Coun Boyd of employing "a wide range of antisemitic tropes and far-fetched theories that you would expect from a far-right activist but not from a Labour councillor".

A Labour Party spokesperson said: "The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms.

"All complaints about antisemitism are investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken. We can’t comment on individual cases."

Helen Lynch, head of legal and democratic services and monitoring officer at Durham County Council, said: "We would take any complaint relating to antisemitism extremely seriously, although no complaint has been received by the council regarding this matter."

Source: Jewish news