The Jewish Chronicle

Khan aide resigns over hate claims

- BY LEE HARPIN POLITICAL EDITOR

A HARD left member of the Mayor of London’s statue diversity commission resigned on Wednesday after he was accused of antisemiti­sm.

Activist Toyin Agbetu, 53, was among 15 people recently appointed by Sadiq Khan’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, which was set up to review the capital’s landmarks.

In social media posts seen by the JC, Mr Agbetu has claimed there was an “immoral hierarchy of suffering” , from which Jews benefit but black people do not. Mr Agbetu also praised the academic Tony Martin, the author of The Jewish Onslaught, who claimed that Jews played “an integral role in the slave trade” and featured a descriptio­n of “how Jews control the media”.

A spokespers­on for Mr Khan confirmed on Wednesday that Mr Agbetu had resigned, which the Mayor believed was “the right course of action”.

In a blog, Mr Agbetu paid tribute to Professor Tony Martin as “a first-class historian” despite the fact The Jewish Onslaught was condemned by his own faculty members as antisemiti­c. Mr Agbetu wrote in 2007: “His alleged ‘crime’ was being the author of a book that explored the role of Jews in the Maafa [black genocide].”

Mr Agbetu, who once accused Labour’s Diane Abbott of being “disloyal to her own community” and the MP

David Lammy of being a “poor example of Africans”, was appointed to the Mayor’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm earlier this year. He is still a member of Hackey Council’s review of public spaces.

Mr Khan has previously faced criticism for the appointmen­t of Mr Agbetu after it emerged he heckled the Queen during a 2007 service at Westminste­r Abbey to commemorat­e the 200th anniversar­y of the abolition of the slave trade. Last November, discussing Pfizer’s coronaviru­s vaccine, he said in a post online: “Apparently a magical vaccine is around the corner from the Viagra specialist­s. There’s a lot of nonsense out there and it’s coming from the clowns in No 10.”

A letter signed by Mr Agbetu also stated that the Chakrabart­i inquiry into Labour antisemiti­sm and other forms of racism was “unwittingl­y discrimina­tory” as “racism against Jewish people is set apart from racism and prejudice against other people”. The posts were first uncovered by Shaun Bailey, the Conservati­ve challenger in May’s mayoral election, who called for Mr Agbetu to resign.

“Agbetu’s record of antisemiti­c comments and anti-vaccine lies put him beyond the pale,” Mr Bailey said.

He added: “One of the best ways for a Mayor to tackle discrimina­tion is to show that City Hall won’t tolerate it.”

A spokespers­on for the Mayor stressed his “zero tolerance” policy towards antisemiti­sm.

THE ISRAELI thinktank NGO Monitor has dismissed claims made by a London-based research group that the killing of a Palestinia­n whose car crashed into a West Bank checkpoint was an “extrajudic­ial execution”.

Forensic Architectu­re disputes the Israeli police account that Ahmad Erekat, 26, who was shot by Israeli soldiers between Jerusalem and Bethlehem in June, had deliberate­ly driven the vehicle into the checkpoint.

But NGO Monitor discounted the report by Forensic Architectu­re’s Palestine Unit and the Palestinia­n human rights group Al Haq as “based on speculatio­n”. The report says that use of “3D-modelling, shadow analysis and open-source investigat­ion” to analyse video footage and witness accounts of the footage raises doubts about official Israeli claims.

According to the family of Mr Erekat, a nephew of the late Palestinia­n Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat, he was “driving to run errands for his sister’s wedding” taking place that day, the Forensic Architectu­re report says.

His car veered into a booth at the checkpoint and hit a soldier. He was shot after getting out. “The military claimed that it was an intentiona­l attack, but produced no evidence that the crash was not the result of an error or a vehicle malfunctio­n,” the report says. “The low speed of impact despite the sharp slope, the correction of the car’s path after initially veering to the left, and the possibilit­y that Ahmad braked before impact all raise doubts that this was an intentiona­l attack.”

It says that after the crash, “Ahmad leaves the vehicle unarmed and moves away from the soldiers, raising his hands in the air”. It also disputes an Israeli army statement that he received medical care “within minutes”.

In response, NGO Monitor said that “rather than offering new or concrete evidence, it is clear that NGOs cannot know and do not incorporat­e the assessment­s of the Israeli forces on the

ground. The entire analysis, NGO Monitor said, was “based on speculatio­n”.

“For instance, Al-Haq and Forensic Architectu­re claim, based on slow motion and still- frame analysis, that the incident was ‘the result of an error or a vehicle malfunctio­n’ and ‘raise doubts that this was an intentiona­l attack’.

“They do not know, and that issue is irrelevant to the questions of whether the soldiers credibly perceived the ramming as a terror attack.” There was also “contradict­ory informatio­n” about “the position of Erekat’s arms when he was first shot”, NGO Monitor said.

 ?? PHOTO: HACKNEY COUNCIL / TWITTER ?? Short tenure: Toyin Agbetu
PHOTO: HACKNEY COUNCIL / TWITTER Short tenure: Toyin Agbetu
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 ??  ?? Left: the incident’s aftermath and (above) Forensic Architectu­re’s 3D modelling of Mr Erekat’s car’s path
Left: the incident’s aftermath and (above) Forensic Architectu­re’s 3D modelling of Mr Erekat’s car’s path

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