Labour suspends Brighton councillor over alleged antisemitism

 Anne Pissaridou
A Labour councillor has been suspended over Facebook posts promoting alleged anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.

Anne Pissaridou is the second Labour representative from Brighton and Hove to face investigation in relation to alleged antisemitic content, putting Labour’s minority control of the council at risk.

Pissaridou, until recently the chair of the authority’s environment, transport and sustainability committee, was reported to the party’s compliance unit last week.

In March, Nichole Brennan resigned as deputy chair of the housing committee after pictures emerged of her protesting against the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism. She remains under investigation. Both councillors were selected to run for Labour in the city with support from the leftwing Momentum group.

In Pissaridou’s case, a Labour investigation will centre on a 2016 Facebook post she shared, which was taken from an alleged antisemitic conspiracy theory website.

It links a member of the Rothschild family with what it claimed to be the imminent collapse of the German banking system and warned about the need to stockpile food.

The post includes a picture of a smiling Jacob Rothschild surrounded by bars of gold while an upset child grabs bottles of water. It is accompanied by a statement that the famous Jewish family had been in “de facto control of the world’s central banks for centuries”.

Labour’s inquiry will also focus on a second post from August 2018 on a website run by Mike Sivier, who was expelled from Labour in the same year after he allegedly refused to undertake antisemitism training.

The headline of that post said: “Jewish Israeli journalist claims pro-Israel propagandists have ‘taken out contract’ to stop Jeremy Corbyn being elected.”

In response to her suspension, Pissaridou said: “I am deeply sorry for my actions and any distress I have caused to the Jewish community. This happened several years ago, before I was a councillor, and the posts I shared do not reflect my views.

“I do not seek to excuse my mistake. I deeply regret not properly reading information before sharing such hurtful links.”

She said she would fully cooperate with any investigation. She will attend council meetings as an independent until Labour’s inquiry is completed.

At least three other Labour activists in Brighton have been suspended from the party over allegations of antisemitism in recent weeks. A number have now left the party.

In local government elections last year, Labour won just one more seat in Brighton and Hove than the Green party.

Source: The Guardian