A newly selected Labour candidate will no longer be standing in next year’s council elections after the leader of the council condemned an “anti-semitic” letter he wrote to fellow members.
Council leader Daniel Yates asked the local Labour party to reconsider its selection of Jerry Gould, one of three candidates selected to contest Patcham for Labour next May, after he compared the Labour party’s “supine” adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-semitism to BNP policy.
Mr Gould also said he thought Israel was “a racist endeavour” and accused the state of systematic genocide against the indigenous population.
The letter was written at the height of the anti-semitism row which has dogged the party over the summer, just after the party backed down to protests at what many Jewish bodies described as the “watering down” of the IHRA definition.
One of the most contested changes was not including describing Israel as racist as one of the examples of anti-semitism, a decision which was reversed on August 4.
Council leader Daniel Yates said: “As Leader of the Labour and Cooperative Group of Councillors I want to make clear that the statement circulated by this individual who is not a councillor, is deeply offensive and unacceptable.
“If they were a councillor I would be immediately supporting the withdrawal of the whip and their suspension by the party.
“However as they are not a councillor we have referred this matter to the Chair of their Constituency Party and the Chair of the Local Campaigns Forum which is responsible for the list of candidates. I hope and expect that swift action will be taken for these openly anti-semitic and divisive comments.
“There is no place in Brighton and Hove or indeed in political discourse for hate speech in any form and all examples must be addressed swiftly.
“I can appreciate the anger, distress and offence that these comments and views will undoubtedly have caused within the community, and we completely and unreservedly wish to disassociate ourselves from this individual and his actions.”
Mr Gould was selected on August 2 alongside Janet Smith and Adam Scott. Cllr Yates then tweeted his endorsement for all three, adding: “Remember those names.”
Great to see another three strong labour candidates for patcham. Nobody better placed to make sure patchams voice is better heard. Janet Smith. Jerry Gould. Adam Scott. Remember those names. @bhlabour #2019 pic.twitter.com/AkExOFITsv
— Daniel Yates (@danieljyates) August 2, 2018
Mr Gould was not available for comment.
Jon Rogers, who chairs both the Brighton Pavilion Constituency Labour Party and the city’s campaign forum, which coordinates the selection of candidates, said he was no longer a candidate.
Meanwhile, the party is now looking for more people willing to stand as candidates next year, with women in particular encouraged to come forward.
The selections which had already taken place over the summer had been hotly contested, with three sitting councillors – Adrian Morris and Dan Chapman in Queen’s Park and Anne Meadows in Moulsecoomb – “deselected” by members who instead selected other candidates.
One of those selected, Claire Wadey in Withdean, has since withdrawn her candidacy. And the party has yet to select candidates for Regency, St Peter’s and North Laine, and Hove Park.
Mr Rogers said: “We had a lot of people come forward and we wanted to ensure that we stand a good slate of candidates, with at least one woman in every ward.
“We were so successful in safe and marginal seats, like East Brighton and Hanover and Elm Grove, where we have three female candidates.”
Jerry Gould’s full statement
I have been reflecting on my position within the party since the supine acceptance of the IHRA draft by the NEC as Labour Party policy.
I have no doubt the modern state of Israel is a racist endeavour in the same way and for the same reasons as the USA and Australia. These are:
1. The theft of land from the indigenous population
2. the refusal to recognise equal rights in law for the indigenous population
3. the dehumanising and systematic genocide against the indigenous population
I also understand the IHRA draft stated that questioning the right for the modern state of Israel to exist is also anti-Semitic. In this I feel I’m in good company as I know the Messianic Hasidim challenge Israel’s right to exist because the Messiah didn’t lead them there and to be thought anti-Semitic alongside the most observant Jews on the planet is a comfort.
For these reasons I will at no time Kao Tao to this policy. Many friends of mine have said this is a small change to unite the party. My reply is; I have read the 1994 constitution of the British National Party, in that there is only one clause with which I disagree (all the others being good Old Labour principles) and that is “for the indigenous white population” – such a small change to Labour values?
After a day’s reflection I have concluded as a life long Trades Unionist I will do all I can to enact my principles so I will not resign from the Party or as your candidate. However, I think the Patcham LP committee should be made aware of this to be sure they want me as a candidate.