Enfield Labour suspends whip for councillor who shared ‘Israel backs ISIS’ tweet

Enfield Labour suspends whip for councillor who shared ‘Israel backs ISIS’ tweet

Exclusive: Jewish News understands that Ayfer Orhan has had the whip withdrawn after retweeting message from the account 'Partisan Girl'

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

The tweet by partisan girl was seemingly defended by Ayfer Orhan
The tweet by partisan girl was seemingly defended by Ayfer Orhan

A councillor who shared a tweet claiming Israel backs Al Qaeda and Isis and questioned whether it was true has been suspended from the Labour whip on Enfield Council.

Jewish News revealed yesterday that Councillor Ayfer Orhan retweeted a message from the account Partisan Girl, which claimed Israel backs Al Qaeda and Isis, questioning whether the tweet was accurate.

The original tweet by Partisan Girl read: “#Israel hoped that destabilising #Syriaby supporting ALQaeda [sic] & #ISIS would help legitimise their annexation of the #GolanHeights.”

Sharing the tweet, a post from Orhan’s account read: “What is this??? I have been watching the development of political interest for the #GolanHeights with some interest but this is truly shocking if true.”

Neither the councillor – who is understood to  be a potential contender to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Enfield North – or the local Labour group have responded to requests for comment following calls for action by Labour against Antisemitism.

But Jewish News understands the party’s whip on Enfield Council has now acted to suspend the whip pending an investigation.

Anger is also growing over the reaction of Enfield Southgate Labour Executive to Ayfer’s tweet. Following criticism from a social media user, it tweeted: “What exactly is wrong with this statement? Why does it bother you so much Miriam? What are the reliable facts? Maybe you can provide them.”

Jewish News understands that Valerie Lestrade, chair of Enfield Southgate constituency Labour Party, told a meeting tonight that she refused to apologise when asked to do so by the Labour communications department. She also apparently said she couldn’t see anything wrong in the original comments.

It was propose during the meeting that the Southgate Labour Twitter account should only be used to retweet tweets by the Southgate MP, councillors or approved statements from the CLP executive. This was agreed until the CLP can come back with a more detailed policy.

Leader  of Enfield Council Nesil Caliskan said in a statement: “Cllr Ayfer Orhan has been suspended from the Labour Group at Enfield Council, pending investigation. This swift decision was taken following an anti-Semitic tweet posted by Cllr Orhan, which has caused great offence. Labour Party values mean we opposes all forms of xenophobia and racism, that includes anti-Semitism. It is important we challenge it and stand up against it whenever and wherever we face it, whichever political party”.

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