The vice-chair of Middlesbrough Council has said he is “truly sorry” for sending antisemitic posts referencing David Icke and the Rothschild family.
He is set to meet with a local synagogue for sensitivity training, but more details on the exact location and date have yet to be confirmed.
Cllr Lee Garvey, who works as a photographer, told Jewish News: “I am truly sorry the comments I made have caused offence.
“I have to go and experience [being in synagogue] for myself, and that’s the idea because I’m representing them now. I want to go and look, meet the rabbi and say ‘look I’m sorry’. It wasn’t meant to cause offence.
“I didn’t even realise at the time how those comments could be taken, even up until yesterday because they don’t come from an antisemitic place, a place where I wanted to have a go at anybody who was Jewish.”
Among the material sent by the Independent councillor, one reads: “And so the Rothschild agenda on as UK obeys its financial masters.
“Read David Icke’s book, it tells you what happens next, Iran Afghanistan, Libya, now Syria and next WW3.
“Start watching alternative media, start thinking for yourselves, it’s a con.”
Another post, which dates back to 2015, reads: “Just saw an interview with David Cameron [sic] where he says we need to stop the demonisation of Jews.
“Let’s look at how I see it. Israel is doing to Palestine what they themselves suffered at the hands of the Nazis.
“Watch any US sitcom or show, and you will see all the vast majority have at least Jewish one character if not Jewish family.
“Why is this when they make up JUST 2.2 percent of the population??”
Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “I’ve already arranged a meeting with a local synagogue.
“They’ve been fantastic and we’ve arranged for Lee and I to visit the synagogue to learn more about Judaism and the sensitivities around antisemitism.
“We’re also looking to arrange a visit from representatives of the synagogue to the Town Hall in the very near future.”
In a statement yesterday, Middlesbrough Labour Deputy Leader Denise Rooney urged cllr Lee Garvey to apologise for his comments and resign.
“Cllr Garvey’s conduct brings Middlesbrough Council – a council that has long history of campaigning against racism in all its forms – into disrepute,” she wrote.
“I’ve written to the Council’s Monitoring Officer asking for a full investigation into councillor Garvey’s comments.”