A LABOUR councillor from Blackburn has been suspended from the party after delivering a speech in the chamber today, riddled with antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories.
Councillor Yusuf Jan-Virmani, who represents the constituency’s Audley and Queen’s Park ward, has been suspended from the Labour Party after using his slot to address today’s council meeting to make stereotypical claims about Israelis.
Calling Israel’s elected officials a “right-wing extremist government”, Cllr Jan-Virmani went on to say:
“Mr Mayor, councillors – I am not aware of any animal that is so cruel as the Israelis. Not even crocodiles. They bomb schools day and night… hospitals, they bomb them – they flatten them.
“They kidnap the kids and harvest their organs… that’s been proven. That’s from the United Nations.
“They inject people there. They murder by land sea and air. And what’s worse, the Israelis slander the defenceless Palestinian victims as terrorists.”
The harvesting of organs was indeed carried out by Israel decades ago, but not against ‘kidnapped children’ as Jan-Virmani falsely claims, but instead dead bodies of some Palestinians had their organs harvested for medical use. This practice was widely condemned and ceased shortly after.
Speaking to VoteWatch, Rick Moore, Deputy Chair of the Blackburn Conservative Association, said:
“Firstly I would like to join the Conservative council group in condemning the violence from both sides of the Gaza conflict, and call for a de-escalation of the situation and encourage both sides to find a peaceful solution that respects all human rights.
“In regards to Cllr Jan-Virmani’s speech, I am concerned that it seems to be clearly anti-Semitic in nature, comparing the Israeli people to animals which is clearly unacceptable.
“Is anti-Semitism still festering in the Blackburn Labour Party? Cllr Jan-Virmani went on to make accusations of organ harvesting, a practice Israel admitted to, and ended in the 1990’s. To raise this issue in particular now, 30 years on; I see it as nothing more than an attempt to whip up further anti-semitism and hate which could well be targeted at Jewish Communities here in the UK.”
A Labour spokeswoman said: “The party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”
Senior sources confirmed to the Lancashire Telegraph that Cllr Jan-Virmani has been ‘administratively suspended from the Labour Party, pending investigation’.