U.K. Labour Party Suspends City Councilor Who Called Hitler 'The Greatest Man in History'

Aysegul Gurbuz is the latest of a string of Labour Party officials accused of making anti-Semitic comments on social media posts or elsewhere on the web.

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn campaigns for local elections earlier this month in Harlow.
Reuters

A year after being feted as the city of Luton's youngest councilor, Aysegul Gurbuz, 20, has been suspended from the British Labour Party over a series of anti-Semitic tweets, British media say.

The Muslim official is the latest of a string of scandals involving anti-Semitism to taint the party.

In one of her tweets, all posted before she won her seat last year on the Luton Borough Council, Gurbuz suggested Iran could develop a nuclear weapon to "wipe Israel off the map," and in another she hailed Hitler as the "greatest man in history."

In an objectionable tweet from 2013 Gurbuz said "the Jews are so powerful in the U.S. it's disgusting." A year earlier she had said that because former Labor leader Ed Miliband is Jewish "he will never become prime minister of Britain."

The Sun reported that Gurbuz had denied posting the tweets and suggested her sister had done so. "It was a joint account I had with my sister so I don’t know if she’s gone out and tweeted that, but I’m absolutely appalled right now.

“Where I live we’ve got very good cohesion with the Jewish community... I’m absolutely shocked.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has told a BBC television show, "we have suspended, we will suspend, any member that behaves that way," backing up an earlier pledge that anyone uttering anti-Semitic remarks is "auto-excluded from the party."

A council spokesman said that "while these comments appear to pre-date her time as councilor, the council is shocked by these comments."

The scandal in Luton was the latest of a series of anti-Semitic incidents involving the party.

In other recent controversies Vicki Kirby was reelected in March as vice-chair of her local Labour party branch despite having been suspended in 2014 after a series of tweets, including one in which she suggested Hitler might be “the Zionist God.” Another tweet asked: "What do you know about Jews? They've got big noses and support [London soccer team] Tottenham Spurs lol." She has since been suspended again, and an inquiry is pending.

A week earlier , party activist Gerry Downing, whose Socialist Fight website has published articles on “the Jewish Question” and who himself has been accused of questioning the Holocaust, has recently been thrown out of the Labour party for the second time.