Labour activist barred from Holborn and St Pancras branch after allegations of anti-Semitism
- Credit: Archant
The former Camden branch secretary of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign has been refused membership of the Holborn and St Pancras Labour Party after it emerged she promoted Holocaust revisionism and was once praised by Holocaust denier, Paul Eisen.
Gill Kaffesh, also known as Gillian el Kaffesh, has been a party activist, but Labour blocked her application to join her local branch following an internal investigation.
She is quoted on the political blog, Harry’s Place, as having told Iranian news agency IRNA several years ago: “There is no doubt that a great number of Jews, along with other victims of the Nazi army, were killed by Hitler.
“However, historical phenomena need to be further examined to uncover the truth. Therefore, banning opposition to the theses termed as ‘invariable reality’ is irrational.”
In the notes to an article entitled ‘My Life as a Holocaust Denier’, Paul Eisen thanks a list of people, including Ms Kaffash, for having “openly and repeatedly demonstrated their solidarity”.
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Keir Starmer, the MP for Holborn and St Pancras, said: “I am pleased that, having held a full hearing into the case of Gillian Kaffesh, the party has refused her membership application. The party must continue to take swift action on this issue.
“Anti-Semitism is entirely against Labour values and the Labour Party has always been at the forefront of fighting intolerance. There can be no place for anti-Semitism in modern Britain, and I am determined to work with the Jewish community to fight this, wherever it is found.”
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Mr Starmer said he has never met Ms Kaffesh, but that he is “appalled” at some of the things she has said, and is pleased that the party has taken a firm position in denying her membership.
He said: “I think the Labour Party needs to take a clear and firm voice over this issue, so there is no ambiguity. I think the party has always had a strong line on anti-Semitism, but it is very important at the moment that we reaffirm and reassert our position.”
He added that the desire to find a solution for Palestine should never be couched in anti-Semitic terms.
Until 2011, Camden Council directed Palestinians in search of assistance to Ms Kaffesh, when she was secretary of the Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
According to blogger, Gilead Atzman, Camden Council wrote to Ms Kaffesh back in 2011 asking her to explain some of her reported views, and subsequently removed a link to her from their website.
Ms Kaffesh’s Facebook page states that she is from Derby, and studied at the University of London.
Labour has recently been mired in allegations of anti-Semitism, with accusations from within and without that the party is not doing enough to clamp down on anti-Jewish sentiment.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has dismissed media claims that he has ever knowingly associated with Holocaust deniers as “ludicrous”, and has stressed that the party is committed to rooting out all forms of discrimination.
During an appearance on The Sunday Politics at the weekend, Mr Corbyn said that only a “very small number” of party members have been named in allegations of anti-Semitism.