Labour housing campaigner suspended over spoof ‘Hanukkah’ video

Posted On 08 Dec 2017 at 1:38 am

A Brighton and Hove Labour housing campaigner has been suspended after posting a spoof “Hanukkah” video on Facebook.

Daniel Harris was accused of anti-semitism after he added the faces of three Brighton Labour councillors to the “fun” video.

The three were council leader Warren Morgan and his colleagues Anne Meadows and Caroline Penn.

Christmas recycling

Mr Harris described the video as “a bit of fun”. But a number of people failed to see the funny side and yesterday (Thursday 7 December) the party suspended him.

Former Hove MP Ivor Caplin, a leading figure in the Jewish Labour Movement, said: “I was appalled that any member of the Labour Party could think that this is any way you could treat Labour councillors.”

He said that two of the three councillors in question had significant Jewish connections, adding that this was a time for the party to show zero tolerance “to this kind of anti-semitism”.

Another party member said that the video, later switched to one showing the three councillors as elves, was part of a pattern of abuse directed at councillors online and in person.

The member said that this time he had breached clear rules backed by the leadership and passed at the party conference in Brighton only a few months ago.

Mr Harris shared news of his suspension this afternoon in a Facebook post. It also referred to the prospect of a by-election in East Brighton as one of the ward councillors, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, is now an MP.

The post said: “Anything to try and stop a working class person being a councillor. Lloyd announces his date of resignation. And I get suspended!”

Although Councillor Russell-Moyle has not yet officially resigned, aspiring Labour candidates for the impending by-election are believed to be being given until next Thursday (14 December) to be nominated.

The selection is expected to take place a week later.

Mr Harris announced recently that he hoped to stand in the by-election, as did former Labour parliamentary candidate Nancy Platts.

He said that he would fight his suspension.

Mr Harris said: “Having been suspended by the Labour Party for an alleged anti-semitic post, which I categorically deny, I am utterly devastated.

“I want to condemn all forms of racism. As a gay man who has been victim to two incidents of homophobic hate crime this year, I know full well the challenges people from minority groups face.

“I would never take part in any form of racism.

“The application elfyourself.com is a seasonal fun dancing application in partnership with Office Depot where you upload images.

“I purchased two videos – one which had elves and the other Hanukkah. The three councillors’ faces were added and I posted.

“The posts were meant to be a bit of fun, not racist. They were purchased online and are available to anyone with £1.99.

“I fight for vulnerable people in the community and, as a result of being fairly vocal on issues, I believe this whole incident is a political ploy by the right in Labour to deny working class voices and smear the left.

“I’ve already received threats and abuse online and a targeted media smear with people like Ivor Caplin, former MP, running to the press.

“I was definitely naive to not consider this backlash.

“I believe that these actions of constantly contacting the press to smear good people is what really brings the Labour Party into disrepute.

“Smearing good community campaigners and pushing for more negative press is not right and should be called out.

“Finally I want to end with an apology if my post did offend anyone. It was certainly never meant to offend. It was meant to bring seasonal joy, not more divisions.”

  1. Atlee turning in his grave Reply

    “Anything to try and stop a working class person being a councillor..”

    Perhaps all this wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t published such a blatantly anti-Semitic video…

  2. Katherine Reply

    This kind of behaviour is unacceptable from people who want to represent the party.

    There is no movement to stop working class people, or socialists, being councillors. There is a process to stop people who publish offensive content representing people.

  3. Riad El Taher Reply

    The Visio is not in any way anti any thing if any thing it is gagging to any criticism of Isreal ., Daniel should not taken the Video off and cave in to critics from over zealous LP members

    • Melpom4 Reply

      You are not Jewish. You do not get a vote in determining what is and is not antisemitism. Stay in your lane.

    • Cal Desmond-Pearson Reply

      If he had made a video featuring Eid Al-Fitr or Eid Al-Adha I’m sure that you would have been frothing at the mouth!

    • Joseph Alfonszo Reply

      Riad El Taher aren’t you one of the guys that got sent to prison for doing deals with Saddam Hussein and against United Nations mandate you think you can pop up and tell somebody what they did was acceptable. And are you banned by the Labour Party you were wrong then by defying United Nations mandate and you are wrong now

  4. Trevor Reply

    This is one of the most unbelievably offensive things I’ve ever seen from a Labour Party member. It would be awful from anyone, never mind someone with aspirations to be a Labour Councillor. None of these councillors are Jewish and yet he thinks it’s “a joke” to put them in traditional Jewish dress and have them dance around…. The commenter above makes no sense: what has this got to do with Israel? Daniel Harris clearly believe that it is okay to invoke being Jewish as some kind of aspersion upon these councillors. 1) there is nothing funny about being Jewish 2) He clearly indulges in anti-semitic feelings and tropes, why else did he choose to (theoretically) lampoon members of his own party in this disgusting manner? His expulsion can’t come soon enough.

    • Fishwife, 49 Reply

      “There is nothing funny about being Jewish” – Jackie Mason, Mel Brooks, Ruby Wax and the cast & writers of Friday Night Dinner might beg to differ.

  5. Nye Bevan Reply

    ‘It was just a joke’ is the standard controlling response of a bully. So now we have a new variation with ‘it was just a funny Chanukah card’.
    You can call this out as bullying and racism because the reason given is not sufficient, is not an excuse, and doesn’t wash.
    In this case, why send a Chanukah card to someone non Jewish? Even if you could stretch to this, in the interests of multi culturalism, then they should be sent to everyone, and not just to the three of you with your track records
    A ‘funny’ card is the equivalent of a ‘joke’. People have been abused forever and shamed into acquiescence by this response in the workplace and in school.
    It might be a joke on a card but it’s NOT funny if it relies on such stereotypes of racism, which in this particular case, given his history, also reveal the sender has crossed the always ambiguous line from antizionism to antisemitism.

  6. Daniel Harris Reply

    Ive written a statememt on the matter. http://survivorblog.co.uk/2017/12/08/i-deplore-all-forms-of-racism/
    Be nice for my right to reply is published.

    • Rabbi Andrea Zanardo Reply

      You say you have written to the synagogues.
      We at the Reform synagogue, the largest in Sussex, have received nothing.
      Shabbat shalom

      • Daniel Harris Reply

        Hi Rabbi.

        I have had to take some time out. Ive written my apoligy and will hand deliver this tommorrow.

        Thanks
        Daniel Harris

    • Melpom4 Reply

      Your reply is ludicrous. You cast these people as Jews with Magen David and Talit, which are Jewish prayer shawls, SACRED RELIGIOUS GARMENTS, and then try to pretend it’s something something Israel? Those symbols are universal symbols of the Jewish people. Not of Israel. You are revolting, and yes, YOU ABSOLUTELY ARE A RACIST. You placed these people into caricatures of Jewishness in order to denigrate them. In order to intimate that being Jewish is the lowest of the low. Resign!

    • Rabbi Andrea Zanardo c/o BHRS Reply

      On your page there is nothing. Maybe the contents was stolen by Mossad. Do you still have all you shoes?

  7. Atlee turning in his grave Reply

    I’m sorry Daniel, but if you don’t think what you’ve done is racist, you don’t deserve to be a member of the Labour Party and you certainly shouldn’t represent it in on the council. You seem to lack the necessary judgement and maturity required for public office.

  8. Kim Reply

    Stop acting like the victim. You wouldn’t have been suspended if you didn’t post a racist video. All of your own doing, stop sulking and start some introspection!

  9. anthony meadows Reply

    WELL SAID

  10. anthony meadows Reply

    Daniel you knew exactly what you were doing. You have been abusing these councillors for a long time and by putting them in Jewish clothing makes you Anti Semitic as you are abusing the Jewish community. I have been a Labour party member for a long time and I’m a Jew so I am very offended by this. Stop whinging and face the responsibility of your actions.

  11. Barney Reply

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Jews are people too. Why would they be any more offended by this seasonal joke than anyone else?

    I’m sure it’s not the jewish people who are offended, but some self-righteous bigots who like to pretend to be “protecting” people who are perfectly capable of defending themselves where necessary.

    The jewish people are known for their sense of humour above all else, so how would they be “offended” by something as mild as this?

    We all find ourselves the butt of jokes from time to time, but the adults among us just laugh it off.

    I remember Irish pubs where the Irish people themselves told the best Irish jokes, and they understood that people were laughing WITH them, not AT them.

    I’m sure it’s the same for everyone else in the world.

    • Sharman Reply

      Actually this is very offensive, if you can’t see that, you’re part of the problem. We laugh at ourselves and we’re good at it. This isn’t funny.

  12. anthony meadows Reply

    This is anti Semitism at its best

  13. karen young Reply

    What about the elf community? no body has mentioned them, surely it’s an affront to all those hard working elves who make shoes and the suchlike, to have their faces replaced with Labour councillors who’s followers 1) don’t laugh 2) don’t dance and 3) would probably stop Santa from wearing his red coat unless he can prove he voted for Corbyn

  14. Trevor Reply

    Good god, the level of racism on display in these comments is unreal. Haha, Black people should laugh at black jokes! Irish people should laugh at Irish jokes! Who are you Roy Chubby Brown? What century is this? Looks like Daniel has admitted it was an act of antisemitism now, though why he didn’t take the opportunity to apologise to the councillors involved is quite beyond me. These councillors are human beings with mental health and wellbeing of their own: Sick of the utter lack of empathy in the Labour ranks these days.

  15. Friend of mine Reply

    Daniel what is this funny if you had only a nice Chanukah card then it would be great but just when I thought you had finally got the right way of doing things you do this you mean very well by trying to help alot of people but you have much to learn no body can be taken seriously if they do this this town very tough to get into real work starts with real understanding of the different cultures apologize properly think about what you say and if you are able to return to work then with a gentle heart not everyone is out to get you you put your self in position to make something good

  16. Stating the obvious Reply

    Should have gone for the elves.

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  18. David Anderson Reply

    “It’s just a bit of fun” how many womèn who complain of everyday sexism have been told that?
    “Lighten up cant you take a joke”
    how many victims of everyday racism have been told that?
    Lets apply a simple test to this video why dont we replace the three non jews superimposed on a caricature of jewish people with white people done up in black face and lets get them to dance for “a bit of fun ” would that be racist?
    If the answer is yes then this is clearly anti semitic unless of course there are double standards operating here.

  19. Freddie Long Reply

    What a storm in a teacup! I smell a heap of manufactured outrage directed at what is, admittedly, crass behaviour. But it’s a bit of a stretch to describe this as racist, anti-Semitic or a ‘hate crime’. The creators remain unprosecuted – as does Facebook. The greatest offence is to free speech – a cornerstone of the Enlightenment – every time exaggerated offence is grasped like this in a grubby attempt to undermine a political rival.

  20. Frank Adam Reply

    This all seems like PC gone crass and nuts.

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