A Labour councillor will not face disciplinary action over a link to a David Duke video on his Facebook page – insisting he had “no recollection” of putting it online.
A link to the video entitled “CNN Goldman Sachs and the Zio Matrix” was posted on the page of Zafar Iqbal, who represents the South Yardley ward in Birmingham, the day after the outbreak of the Gaza conflict in 2014.
The video’s description clearly says: “This video reveals how the Zionist Matrix of Power controls media, politics and banking.”
Jewish News exposed the message two weeks ago, revealing it had been referred to the party’s compliance unit.
Now Iqbal has released a statement saying: Cllr Zafar Iqbal said:”“I have no recollection of sharing this video and have no idea how it was shared on my Facebook page. Anyone that interacts with me on social media knows that I would never knowingly share any racist, abusive or anti-Semitic content.
“Nevertheless – I accept that this content was for a period active on my Facebook page and it has now been deleted. I know that this type of content could cause deep offence and I apologise to anyone who was affected by seeing this material. There is no place for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party or in our society – and I will continue to work closely with groups of all faiths in Birmingham against racism and prejudice.”
Jeremy Corbyn strongly condemned the use of the epithet ‘Zio’ during the launch of his party’s inquiry into anti-Semitism earlier this year.
Following news that Iqbal would not be disciplined, The Board of Deputies of British Jews questioned the party’s procedures.
Vice President Marie van der Zyl said: “This case continues to raise questions about the robustness of Labour’s disciplinary procedures. It seems a fairly pathetic excuse that Cllr Iqbal has ‘no idea of how it was shared’ on his own Facebook page. Perhaps he wants to tell us ‘the Zionists did it’?
“Labour has an anti-Semitism problem and if it keeps letting people get away with it the shame of racism will continue to rot the core of what is supposed to be a proudly progressive party.”