A Scottish Labour councillor has been suspended from the party after a series of “anti-Semitic” rants on his blog – including one in which he describes Israel as “a war criminal state”.
Councillor Terry Kelly – who represents Paisley North West on Renfrewshire Council – has been removed from the party pending an investigation.
The move comes following a series of blog posts where he rails against Zionism and backs Ken Livingstone, who was suspended from the party last week.
The 67-year-old, who served as former Scottish Labour leader and retired MSP Wendy Alexander’s election agent on three occasions, also said the criticism of Livingstone is part of a bid to have Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ousted from his role.
Councillor Kelly has also lost his place as convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Planning and Property Policy Board following his suspension from the Labour Party.
A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “The situation regarding Councillor Kelly is that he is not suspended as a councillor but, as he has been suspended by his party, he cannot serve on council boards or committees where he attended as a party representative.”
In a blog post on Saturday, April 30, Councillor Kelly wrote a blog post – titled, ‘Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Livingstone are anti Semites according to the Blairite rump of the Labour Party! Beam me up Scotty’.
He wrote: “The accusations of anti-Semitism are based on something he said about Hitler and German Zionists who conspired to relocate German Jews to Palestine this was before he started the wholesale murder of the German Jewish population.
“To accept their charge of anti-Semitism you have to also accept that opposition to Zionism and Israel means you are anti-Semitic.
“No one who is attacking Livingstone can tell us what Livingstone said that was anti-Semitic, he was referring to a ‘bona fide’ historical fact which was that Hitler and the German Zionists were in accord.”
And the councillor – who represents Paisley’s Ferguslie Park area, one of the most deprived areas in Britain – said he believed it was part of a campaign to see Corbyn removed from power.
He explained: “This is the lengths that the underhand Blairites in the Labour Party will go to in their attempts to get rid of Corbyn and they do not care how much damage to the party they do to achieve that.
“With Corbyn’s landslide support as leader I foresee a lot of deselections coming, they will be democratic deselections and I will be giving them my total support, these people are treacherous self servers who think they own the Labour Party, it’s high time they learned different.”
And in a blog post from Thursday, March 31, called ‘Is it possible still, for anyone to defend Israel?’ he called for a boycott of the country and compared events there to the Vietnam War.
He also called on readers to boycott Israel as part of the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement.
He explained: “Not many have investments so they can’t disinvest and sanctions are done by governments but everyone can boycott!
“The Israeli Government are twisting the arms of many countries to get them to ban BDS but the truth is that no one can stop you from boycotting Israeli goods and refusing to have any contact with them, it worked with apartheid South Africa and the State of Israel is feeling the heat so ‘pile it on’.”
Rivals on Renfrewshire Council said Councillor Kelly’s conduct was proof that Labour are not fit to govern.
A spokesperson from the Renfrewshire Council SNP group said: “SNP Leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has made clear that we have a zero tolerance towards anti-Semitism or racism of any kind.
“Councillor Kelly has made clear many times on social media his support for the view of the Iranian leadership that Israel has no right to exist, this denies the voice of the Israeli peace movement and progressive voices that want a change of policy on the Palestinian question.
“Councillor Kelly was a Militant supporter in the 1980’s, and comes from the same hard left stable as Jeremy Corbyn. “Labour is simply unelectable these days, and this is proof.”
A spokesperson for Scottish Labour said: “Terry Kelly has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation.”
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