Since Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader, the party has been dogged by rumours of anti-semitism in certain factions of the party. Matters were only worsened last week with the re-admittance and then re-expulsion of Vicki Kirby, a former Labour parliamentary candidate who has suggested that Isis ought to attack Israel.
Now there are concerns that the negative publicity could damage Sadiq Khan’s London mayoral bid. Last week, Jonathan Arkush — the President of the Board of Deputies — claimed that the Labour candidate could struggle to win votes from London’s 180,000 Jews. While Khan has made clear that Labour needs to ditch its ‘anti-Jewish’ image, he may wish to take a closer look at who he takes an interest in on social media.
Khan follows the Electronic Intifada Twitter account. This is a curious choice given some of the comments their staff and writers have made in relation to Zionism and Israel.
The co-founder of Electronic Intifada Ali Abunimah has previously stated that ‘supporting Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit’:
Supporting Zionism is not atonement for the Holocaust, but its continuation in spirit.
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) October 25, 2010
The publication is pro-Hamas, previously publishing an article by Hasan Abu Nimah which claimed Hamas is ‘standing up to the strong and unjust and supporting the weak and oppressed’. Meanwhile, after three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped, Rana Baker — an Intifada journalist — tweeted that it was ‘wonderful wonderful news that three settlers have been kidnapped. Celebrations celebrations. Cheers everybody (Zionists excluded)!’.
So, why is Labour’s mayoral candidate taking an active interest in Electronic Intifada? After being contacted by Mr S, Khan has unfollowed the account and his spokesperson has issued a statement:
‘Sadiq absolutely condemns all forms of anti-Semitism – and will act to tackle this vile problem as Mayor. Sadiq’s Twitter account follows thousands of people and it in no way means he endorses their views. Sadiq has now unfollowed this account.’
Still no explanation of why Khan followed the account in the first place…