Local MP Faces Anti-Semitism Accusations

Two former colleagues submit complaints to the party about Rupa Huq

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Rupa Huq, the Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton is being accused of anti-Semitism by two former employees of the party who worked at her office until earlier this year.

The first alleges in a dossier of over 2,000 words, that on the second day he was on her staff he turned up for work with a Star of David on his satchel. He says he was repeatedly questioned by the MP as to why it had been placed there.

The complainant, who says he is not Jewish but has Jewish heritage, alleges that initially the MP asked why he had the flag of Israel on his bag, he responded by saying that it wasn’t. He continued working in her office for another 11 months.

He also claims that Dr Huq criticised a policy briefing he had written for being too ‘pro-Israel’ and was later banned from writing policy documents. A source close to the MP is quoted in the Times as saying that she had been concerned by an email sent by the employee on her behalf in response to a question on the violence in Gaza.

It is further claimed that she attended an event held by a Palestinian community group last June without telling her staff. She later instructed her staff to look for pictures of her at the meeting. It was discovered that the group had posted a message saying 'Ahmad Nassar Jarrar, hero in our land.' This was a reference to a man who had plotted to kill a rabbi. When this was raised by the complainant it is alleged that any concerns were dismissed.

The source quoted by the Times says that Dr Huq was ‘sickened’ by the image and never attended any of the group’s meetings again.

It is also claimed that when interviewing a candidate for her staff last September Dr Huq 'devised a whole separate line of questioning based on Judaism and loyalty to Israel for one of the candidates'. Dr Huq’s justification according to the complainant was that the candidate had a master's degree in Middle Eastern issues and that the approach was therefore appropriate.

A second complainant has alleged that Dr Huq made one former employee 'listen to her conspiracy theories surrounding the Jewish community'.

The source quoted by the Times as being close to the MP says she 'has no recollection of this whatsoever and rejects the allegation that it happened'.

The second complainant also claims that when the first was off work sick, Dr Huq took a 'no tolerance for anti-Semitism' poster and threw it on the floor, saying it wasn't needed anymore.

Dr Huq was, until recently, a member of the Labour Friends of Israel which she joined the year after she was first elected and she has described herself as a ‘critical friend’ of the country. In 2015 she signed a document entitled ‘We Believe in Israel’ which opposed boycotting Israeli goods, divestment and sanction and endorsed Israel’s right to exist. She says she left Labour Friends of Israel after Joan Ryan MP remained in its place as its head after leaving the party for the Independent Group and also because she had become uncomfortable with positions being taken by the group on certain issues.

A spokesperson for Rupa Huq MP said, "We don’t comment on staffing matters. Any suggestion that Rupa is antisemitic or has acted inappropriately is entirely false and malicious.”

A Labour party spokesperson told the Times, 'We take all complaints seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures.'

June 9, 2019

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