Labour politician paid off Jewish assistant who complained about anti-Semitism


(JTA) — A senior member of Britain’s Labour Party used taxpayer funds to silence a longtime aide after she complained about anti-Semitism in the party.

According to The Telegraph, in 2016 MP Khalid Mahmood suspended his assistant and erstwhile lover Elaina Cohen after she posted two tweets accusing his fellow MP Naz Shah of being “anti-Zionist.” Her comments came after it was revealed that Shah, who would later be suspended by party leader Jeremy Corbyn, had written a Facebook post calling for the relocation of the entire State of Israel to the United States.

In response, Mahmood initiated disciplinary action against her. When she was finally found blameless, she returned to work where she claims she was essentially sidelined and replaced. She sued on the basis of religious discrimination, leading to a settlement, allegedly paid for with taxpayer money. As part of the deal, Cohen, who still works for Mahmood, was required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

“We’re in the middle of an anti-Semitism storm, and I had two years of hell over two tweets trying to bring it to the party’s attention,” Cohen told The Telegraph.

Labour has struggled to shake off reports of rising anti-Semitism within the party ever since the ascension of far-left parliamentarian Jeremy Corbyn to the party’s leadership in 2015. According to The Times, the party’s unit investigating anti-Semitism allegations against its members “has all but collapsed” and there is now only one staffer investigating hundreds of complaints.

Last week, video footage surfaced of Corbyn implying that Zionists were unable to understand British ways of thinking despite growing up in the country.

In a clip of Corbyn’s speech published by The Daily Mail, Corbyn told attendees at a London conference that “Zionists … clearly have two problems. One is they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either. They needed two lessons, which we could perhaps help them with.”

The conference, which was promoted on the Hamas terror organization’s English language website, featured several controversial speakers, including one who had advocated boycotting Britain’s Holocaust Memorial Day and another who blamed Israel for the 9/11 attacks.

Last month, Labor decided to adopt parts of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism, but to exclude several examples that specifically related to the ways anti-Israel activism can be seen as anti-Semitic.

The Jewish Chronicle reported on a purported copy of an updated Labour anti-Semitism code of conduct, leaked on line, sought to rein in party members who accused others anti-Semitism. The document aims to “put a stop” to the “abuse” of allegations of anti-Semitism “as part of a factional agenda.” Some Corbyn supporters online have accused the British Jewish community and the Israeli government of pushing anti-Semitism allegations in order to discredit the British left.

Recommended from JTA