Labour candidate apologises after use of slang term gassed prompts antisemitism claims – The Independent

Posted By on November 27, 2019

A Labour candidate has been forced to apologise after her use of the popular slang termgassed prompted accusations of antisemitism.

Peymana Assad, who is of Afghan heritage,came under fire after she wrote: Some man I just met thought I was Israeli so I cracked the 10 lost tribes of Israel joke to him and he got gassed.

Her 2012 comment was unearthed on Monday by GnasherJew, a Twitter account run by Jewish investigative journalists and ex-Labour members dedicated to exposing left-wing antisemitism, who called the remark exceptionally distasteful.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Within hours, the Labour candidate for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner issued a statement saying she had used the word in the sense of the common slang term for being happy and excited.

She added: It didnt occur to me at all that it would have other connotations and Im completely mortified that I didnt realise this. I unreservedly apologise.

Protesters clashed during the demonstration

Reuters

Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism in the Labour Party

AFP/Getty

Protesters hold placards and flags during a demonstration, organised by the British Board of Jewish Deputies for those who oppose antisemitism, in Parliament Square

Reuters

Hundreds of people gathered in Parliament Square to protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party

EPA

Labour MP Luciana Berger speaks during the protest

PA

A protester blows through a shofar during the demonstration

Getty

Members of London's Jewish community protest in support of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn outside parliament

EPA

Labour MP John Mann speaks during a protest against antisemitism

PA

People protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party as Jewish community leaders have launched a scathing attack on Jeremy Corbyn, claiming he has sided with antisemites again and again

PA

Labour politicians Stella Creasy and Chuka Umunna leave after attending the demonstration

Getty

A pro-Jeremy Corbyn protester holds a placard during a counter-protest

Getty

A support of the Labour Party hold up a placard during the demonstration

Reuters

Jeremy Corbyn supporters during the demo

Reuters

A protester holds up a sign reading For the many, not the Jew

AFP

Protesters clashed during the demonstration

Reuters

Members of the Jewish community hold a protest against Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn and antisemitism in the Labour Party

AFP/Getty

Protesters hold placards and flags during a demonstration, organised by the British Board of Jewish Deputies for those who oppose antisemitism, in Parliament Square

Reuters

Hundreds of people gathered in Parliament Square to protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party

EPA

Labour MP Luciana Berger speaks during the protest

PA

A protester blows through a shofar during the demonstration

Getty

Members of London's Jewish community protest in support of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn outside parliament

EPA

Labour MP John Mann speaks during a protest against antisemitism

PA

People protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party as Jewish community leaders have launched a scathing attack on Jeremy Corbyn, claiming he has sided with antisemites again and again

PA

Labour politicians Stella Creasy and Chuka Umunna leave after attending the demonstration

Getty

A pro-Jeremy Corbyn protester holds a placard during a counter-protest

Getty

A support of the Labour Party hold up a placard during the demonstration

Reuters

Jeremy Corbyn supporters during the demo

Reuters

A protester holds up a sign reading For the many, not the Jew

AFP

Ms Assad elaborated on the encounter that prompted the tweet in question.

A man came up to me and asked if I was from Israel," she said.

"Im used to people asking where Im from and assuming that Im not from Britain. I said I was Afghan but that theres a theory that Afghans descend from one of the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel, we laughed about it being a kind of strange theory thats never been proved.

"He was really intrigued by it and said hed look it up when he got home.

There has long been the suggestion of a link between Israel and the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan, who some believe could be one of the ten lost tribes described in the Talmud.

In 2010, Israel commissioned a study into the link but it is not clear what the findings were. Several previous studies have proven inconclusive.

Responding to Ms Assad's apology, GnasherJewsaid: We believe that she probably didnt mean to offend, but, there is no doubt it was very offensive.

The row broke out shortly after Chief RabbiEphraim Mirviscondemned Jeremy Corbyns failure to tackle antisemitism, suggesting he was unfit for office and that the very soul of our nation is at stake.

The latest news on Brexit, politics and beyond direct to your inbox

The Labour Party is currently subject to an investigationinto antisemitism by the Equalityand Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Adam Wagner, a lawyer involved in the EHRCprobe and founder of RightsInfo, said it was clear the comments were innocent.

(Twitter)

Once the candidate explained the comments, it is clear that they were an innocent joke and the use of the term gassed was meant to mean excited, he toldThe Independent.

She shared a number of tweets in 2012 relating to different context where she used the term in that way.

Rafael Shimunov, co-founder of The Jewish Vote and board member of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice said: From a Jew in NYC, I see how this clarification is necessary but anyone with a basic understanding of youth culture in 2012 would have easily known how innocent your use was, and those who continue to smear you after this statement have cynical anti-left political agendas.

As news of the allegedantisemitismbroke, some suggested the accusations pointed to a larger problem within politics and the media.

If you are a London media person and you dont know what gassed meansitsays more about the class and race of your newsroom more than anything else, one Twitter user wrote.

Emily Thornberry on Labour antisemitism: Nobody can pretend that there isnt an ongoing problem

Another said: Its so unfortunate that young people of colour and those from working class backgrounds are now being vilified for innocently speaking in their own vernacular.

Ms Assad also shared numerous examples of herself using the phrasein various contexts in late 2012 and early 2013, as well as instances where she had denounced antisemitism, calling herself absolutely committed to standing in solidarity with Jewish people and to fighting antisemitism.

She wrote: Ive been outspoken against any pro-Palestinian campaigners blaming Jewish people for Israels actions and about antisemitism in our party.

She said she would continue to promote the Board of Deputies of British Jews Ten Commitments.

The Labour Party did not respond to request for comment and Ms Assad deleted her Twitter account at around midday on Tuesday.

Social media is an increasingly important battle ground in elections - and home to many questionable claims pumped out by all sides. If social media sites won't investigate the truth of divisive advertising, we will. Please send any political Facebook advertising you receive todigitaldemocracy@independent.co.uk, and we will catalogue and investigate it.Read more here.

View post:

Labour candidate apologises after use of slang term gassed prompts antisemitism claims - The Independent

Related Post

Comments

Comments are closed.