UK Labour councillor cleared of antisemitism, reinstated after months-long suspension

UK Labour councillor cleared of antisemitism, reinstated after months-long suspension
A Labour Party panel found that East London councillor Puru Miah had not breached the party's rules on antisemitism.
3 min read
05 April, 2021
Mile End ward councillor Puru Miah was cleared of antisemitism [Twitter]

An East London councillor has been reinstated to the UK Labour Party after being cleared of antisemitism allegations against him.

Mile End ward councillor Puru Miah was suspended from the party in November, over a 2014 Facebook post which made mention of a book by Israeli academic Shlomo Sand.

The best-selling book, entitled 'The Invention of the Jewish People', contends that the idea of a Jewish race expelled from its homeland is a modern notion. In turn, the book questions the ideological foundations of Zionism.

A Labour panel that reviewed Miah's case said in a letter on 25 March that his "behaviour on this occasion did not amount to a breach of the party’s rules".

The letter also reminded the Tower Hamlets counsellor of the "high standards of conduct the party expects of its members".

At the time of his suspension, Miah apologised for any upset caused by his post, which had been made prior to him becoming a Labour member.

However, he stood by his participation in a broader academic discussion relating to the themes of the book.

Speaking to The New Arab earlier this year, Miah said that the idea of nations and peoples being socially constructed is applicable to all races and groups, not specifically Jews.

Miah's suspension came amid growing disillusionment among Muslim members of the Labour Party. A survey commissioned by the Labour Muslim Network at the time found that  55 percent of Muslim members did not "trust the leadership of the Labour Party to tackle Islamophobia effectively".

Read also: British-Palestinians complain to Labour Party over hiring of Israeli former intelligence officer

Miah's suspension was seen by some as detrimental to relations with Muslim constituents, prompting 26 Muslim community leaders from East London to pen a letter in his support.

“At a time when Muslim members are publicly tearing up their Labour membership cards and a large number of Muslims reporting their experiences of prejudice in the party, Puru has been a lonely voice inviting us to continue our engagement with the Labour Party," the letter read.

Writing on his personal blog on Friday, Miah thanked those who had supported him during his suspension, including Professor Sands.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who stood by me in this difficult time. In particular, the academics who issued statements publicly and to the Labour Party in my support, a special thanks to Professor Shlomo Sand who issued a message of support from Israel," Miah wrote.

"I would also like to thank faith leaders who in recognition of my long-standing private interfaith work rallied to my support. In particular, local faith leaders, who issued an open letter to the Labour Party."

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