Labour suspends activist pictured in election leaflet for sharing ‘ZioNazi’ post

Labour suspends activist pictured in election leaflet for sharing ‘ZioNazi’ post

Suspended activist pictured in election leaflet received 'formal warning' last year

Credit: The Sun
Credit: The Sun

Labour has suspended a student activist pictured in an election leaflet who was reported to the party last year over antisemitism claims, Jewish News understands.

Kierin Offlands, 21, appeared on the campaign leaflet alongside fellow activist Aisha Malik-Smith, but his photograph has since been removed from all online material.

The leaflet, produced by Labour Unions, a group of 12 trade unions affiliated to the party, was marked “Real change for young workers.”

Offlands was reported to the party by the group Labour Against Antisemitism (LAA) and received a warning in April last year, as first reported by The Sun.

Credit: Labour Against Antisemitism

A post shared from his Facebook account while he served as a youth officer for Southport Labour Party described Israeli soldiers as “coward #ZioNazi stormtroopers”.

Offlands apologised on Wednesday, writing: “I can only deeply apologise to anyone who has had to read such comments, and to Jewish people who receive such comments throughout their lives, especially our Jewish comrades in the labour movement.”

He added: “Attempts to pin this on the party at large is wrong. These were my mistakes as a stupid 15/16 year-old boy before I joined the Labour Party. On the contrary, the Labour Party and my trade union have provided me the important space to be educated on these matters.

“I most certainly do not hold these views today, and I completely support endeavours of groups like the Jewish Labour Movement to remove anti-semitic behaviour, similar to the comments I made back in early 2015, from the party and the movement.”

A spokesperson for the Labour Party said Labour Unions “use a wide range of images of members and supporters campaigning, and this is not intended as promotion of any individual in the photographs.”

“This photograph has been removed from all online materials and no further print runs of the leaflet were ordered,” the spokesperson added.

But Euan Philipps, spokesperson for LAA, said: “Kierin Offlands should have been suspended – and expelled – when Labour Against Antisemitism reported him in December 2017. At that time he was let off with a warning, a totally inadequate response.

“We hope that Mr Offlands’s case will be progressed quickly and he will be thrown out of the Labour Party this time round. We also demand the Labour Party revisit some of the other egregious cases of antisemitism that they have equally dismissed over the last three years.”

Kierin Offlands was approached for comment but did not immediately reply.

read more: