The leader of Brent Council has apologised for sharing a Facebook post which compared Israel with Islamic State.
Labour politician Muhammed Butt shared a clip which appears to show a Palestinian girl in a skirmish with an Israeli soldier, which at the bottom claimed “Israel is a terrorist state like ISIS.”
When contacted by Jewish News, Muhammed Butt, who is also the Lead for Equalities at London Councils, said: “I apologise for sharing this on social media. I do not agree with these views and as Leader of Brent Council I have championed diversity, tolerance and respect for all faith communities, and will continue to do so.”
Butt, who leads the council which has only seven non-Labour representatives, shared the post on 16 April, and has since removed it, after it was brought to the Labour Party’s attention by Jewish News.
In an open letter to the council leader, Brent’s Conservative leader Cllr John Warren called for Butt’s resignation claiming “he is no longer a fit and proper person to hold the Leader’s position and he can no longer credibly represent all communities in Brent.”.
It continues: “I know that Cllr.Butt made an attempt to apologise” but the apology “smacks more of desperation than genuine contrition.”
The apology comes after a turbulent week for the Labour Party, who suspended MP Naz Shah and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone over alleged anti-Semitism.
In a Facebook post in 2014, before she became an MP, Ms Shah shared a graphic which showed an image of Israel’s outline superimposed onto a map of the US under the headline “Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict – Relocate Israel into United States”, with the comment “problem solved”.
The Labour MP has stepped down from her position as aide to shadow chancellor John McDonnell and apologised to the Jewish community, but was suspended on Wednesday.
Ken Livingstone was also suspended by Labour for “bringing the party into disrepute” . Livingstone was criticised after he said Naz Shah’s actions were “over the top” but not anti-Semitic, and also made references to Hitler “supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn however denied this was a crisis over anti-Semitism in the party, saying: “Where there is any racism in the party it will be dealt with and rooted out. I have been an anti-racist campaigner all my life.”