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A Labour councillor resigned this morning over claims she posted a series of shockingly offensive anti-Semitic tweets.
Among the most offensive remarks on Aysegul Gurbuz’s Twitter profile was a claim that Hitler was the “greatest man in history”.
The discovery of the Luton councillor’s vile comments – revealed by the Mail on Sunday – was the latest in a series of anti-Semitic scandals to hit the Labour party.
She was suspended by the party at the weekend but this morning she quit as councillor. She said her offensive tweets were made when she was “just 16 or 17” and were “ill judged and offensive”.
She also said “multiple people” had access to her Twitter account.
The 20-year-old student is also alleged to have said she hoped Iran would use a nuclear weapon to “wipe Israel off the map”.
One tweet, written in January 2013, said: “The Jews are so powerful in the US it’s disgusting.”
Another post, in October 2012, said: “Ed Miliband is Jewish. He will never become prime minister of Britain.” And Adolf Hitler was praised as the “greatest man in history” in a tweet in October 2011.
Gurbuz, who is Muslim, became Luton’s youngest councillor when she was elected to the High Town ward last year.
This morning she said in a statement: “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 suspended Gurbuz on Saturday night after the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism found a series of disturbing posts on her Twitter account from 2011 to 2014.
Gurbuz initially denied she had written the tweets and claimed her sister may have posted them.
A Labour spokesman said: “Councillor Gurbuz has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation.”
The suspension was the latest anti-Semitism probe within Labour ranks. Labour peer Baroness Royall is already leading an inquiry after Oxford University Labour Club’s co-chairman resigned, claiming a “large proportion” of its members had “some kind of problem with Jews”.
In the past weeks, Labour has twice suspended the deputy chairman of its Woking branch, Vicki Byrne, for posting anti-Semitic tweets, and suspended councillor Khadim Hussain, former Lord Mayor of Bradford, for sharing a Facebook post that said: “Your school education system only tells you about Anne Frank and the six million Zionists that were killed by Hitler.”
Louise Ellman, one of Labour’s most senior Jewish MPs, claimed last week there had not been enough done to tackle the party’s anti-Semitism problem.
Labour’s London mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan, said anti-Semitism was a “badge of shame” in a speech on Wednesday and urged Jeremy Corbyn to act.
Corbyn responded to the Mail on Sunday revelations yesterday by insisting he would immediately investigate “any form of anti-Semitism” and it would be “cracked down upon”.
He told the Andrew Marr Show: ‘Anti-Semitism is absolutely abhorrent and wrong.
“Anyone that commits any act of anti-Semitism, that makes anti-Semitic remarks, is auto excluded from the party and an inquiry follows immediately.
“We have suspended, we will suspend, any member that behaves in that way.”
Gurbuz is in her final year at Warwick University, where she is also events organiser for the student union’s Friends of Palestine society.
She told the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism: “It was a joint account I had with my sister so I don’t know if she’s gone out and tweeted that, but I’m absolutely appalled right now.
“Where I live we’ve got very good cohesion with the Jewish community… I’m absolutely shocked.”
Gurbuz did not respond to our calls for comment last night.
Jonathan Sacerdoti, from the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, said: “These tweets are anti-Semitic. They appear on Aysegul Gurbuz’s personal account and there is no defence for that.
“Anti-Semitism is rising in Europe and the UK, and the regular anti-Semitic tweets and opinions emanating from the Labour Party have failed to elicit any meaningful response from Jeremy Corbyn. How many more cases must we see before Labour take action?”
Trevor Holden, chief executive of Luton Borough Council, said: “This will be referred as a matter of urgency to the council’s independent standards committee to allow a full investigation to take place.
“The council expects the highest standards of councillors and will not accept any behaviour which could undermine community cohesion.”