Councillor suspended from Labour Party for saying ‘there’s no basis for Jewish race’

Puru Miah with former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: LDRS

Puru Miah with former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: LDRS - Credit: Archant

A Tower Hamlets councillor and Momentum’s former national treasurer has been suspended from the Labour party after a social media post was unearthed in which he said there was “no factual basis whatsoever for a Jewish race”.

Puru Miah has apologised for his 2014 post. Picture: LDRS

Puru Miah has apologised for his 2014 post. Picture: LDRS - Credit: Archant

Labour has launched an investigation into claims of antisemitism over Mile End councillor Puru Miah’s Facebook comment.

Mr Miah has apologised for the post, made in 2014, and said he is “embarrassed” by its content.

He told the LDR service it was made before he was a Labour party member and when he was involved in buying and selling academic books.

In the post he linked to a book by Israeli historian Shlomo Sand and wrote: “The invention of the Jewish people. This is an absolutely ‘must read’ for everyone who wants truth and justice for Palestine/Israel.

“The essential historical evidence will amaze you – there is no factual basis whatsoever for a Jewish race, nation or homeland, it is all recently invented propaganda called ‘Zionism’.”

Mr Miah has now deleted the post.

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Sources confirmed Mr Miah had been “administratively suspended” pending an investigation.

A Labour party spokesman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

Mr Miah said in a statement: “I unreservedly apologise for the hurt caused. Looking back at the post, I am embarrassed, given the current context of anxieties in the Jewish community and the backdrop of rising prejudices against minority communities.

“The situation fills me with regret and as soon as it was raised with me, I removed the private Facebook post.

I realise it falls far below the standards expected of a Labour councillor, representing diverse communities of all faiths and backgrounds… I look forward to this matter being investigated and resolved through an independent complaint’s procedure as recommended by the EHRC.”

Mr Miah was the national treasurer for the Momentum campaign during the 2017 general election and was responsible for the political organisations election canvassing at the time.

Last year the Electoral Commission fined Momentum more than £15,000 over undeclared donations. As its national treasurer Mr Miah failed to provide all invoices and submit an accurate spending report after the election, the Commission said.