The Muslim mayor who flew the Palestinian flag over the east London borough’s town hall has been told to remove it by the police.
Lutfur Rahman (pictured), who heads the First Party, said it was a “humanitarian gesture” to the people of Gaza, and that his decision was backed by all Labour opposition councillors.
However staff at the town hall were reported as being worried about their safety as a result of the stunt, saying that they were anxious the flag could become a target for attack.
The flag was ordered down after complaints from Jewish groups, including YadbYadUK, which tracks anti-Semitism.
Jonathan Arkush, vice president of the Board of Deputies, said: “[He] should remember that he is flying a flag from a British town hall in support of an organisation that is regarded across Europe and the world as terrorist.”
He added: “It is totally inappropriate. It is also destructive of relations between the communities that make up our capital city.”
Tory party chairman Grant Shapps also waded in, telling MailOnline: “This is an administration that cannot even organise their own election count, let alone intervene on foreign affairs in the Middle East… What we need is an immediate ceasefire and continued humanitarian aid, rather than empty, flag-waving gesture politics.”
But in a statement, Mr Rahman said the flag was a “humanitarian gesture of our solidarity with the people of Gaza… In addition to the current military onslaught, the blockade of Gaza is causing a humanitarian catastrophe. Over 1,000 people have been killed, most of them women and children”.