UK: Hitler-loving councilor led university BDS campaign

A UK Labour Party councilor has resigned after being suspended for a series of anti-Semitic tweets, which included her enthusiastic praise of Adolf Hitler.

Aysegul Gurbuz – a 20-year-old Muslim from Luton who was the town's youngest ever councilor – stepped down despite denying the messages on her Twitter account were posted by her.

Yet she also took "full responsibility" for the offensive posts, while claiming that "multiple people" had access to her account.

"Multiple people had access to my account and the tweets made do not reflect what I believe, but I take full responsibility for what was spoken in my name," she said.

"I believe it is the right thing to acknowledge the pain I have caused and have resigned."

The Labour Party had previously suspended her, with party leader Jeremy Corbyn vowing anti-Semites would be "auto excluded" from the party.

Corbyn's party has come under fire over the past several months after a series of anti-Semitic incidents emanating from senior party activists and other members.

Meanwhile, more information continues to surface about Gurbuz, a final-year student at Warwick University who served for a year as head of the university's Friends of Palestine Society.

Astonishingly, according to Warwick University newspaper The Boar, Gurbuz had run as Ethnic Minorities Officer during 2015 Students’ Union elections, with her manifesto stating her intention "to increase awareness of Holocaust Memorial Day" and encourage "more investment into Interfaith Week."

At the same time, however, she had fronted a campaign to advocate the endorsement of the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) Movement at the university, which Jewish students have often accused of carrying out anti-Semitic harassment.

Earlier this year Gurbuz proposed a "Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions for Peace" motion for students to endorse. Tellingly, the motion called on the Student Union to "condemn the Israeli occupation of pre-1967 Palestinian lands [emphasis added]," referring to the entire State of Israel, as well as urging the university to "join the international academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions."

The full motion tabled by Gurbuz can be read here.

Jewish student activists have in the past noted how prominent anti-Israel campaigners often seek positions on "Holocaust remembrance" committees, using their condemnation of far-right Jew-hatred as an easy way to "prove" they aren't anti-Semitic, even while harassing Jewish students on the basis of other anti-Jewish prejudices associated with the far-left. Gurbuz appears to be a case in point.

She is now facing the prospect of disciplinary action at Warwick University.

"We certainly wish to talk with this student when she returns to campus at the start of term to ascertain if there has been a breach of the University’s policies on these matters," Peter Dunn, director of press and policy at the University of Warwick, told The Boar.

The university's student union said it will "consider appropriate next steps" against Gurbuz.

"Anti-Semitism has no place on our campus or in wider society," a student union statement read. "It must be taken as seriously as any other form of discrimination, and we wish to offer support to any students who have been affected by this, given the highly inappropriate nature of the tweets in question."

Warwick Anti-Racism Society also responded to the furor. "We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community on campus and beyond as this type of appalling, racist behaviour is never acceptable," it said in a statement.

Gurbuz, however, has insisted she should not be judged over "ill judged and offensive" posts made when she was "just 16 or 17" – apparently contradicing claims it wasn't her who posted them.


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