A Labour candidate in a by-election has apologised after saying Israel ‘allowed’ the deadly October 7 attack to happen.
A secret recording caught the moment Azhar Ali, a candidate in a Rochdale by-election, allegedly said the controversial remark.
The recording has sparked a firestorm, prompting the Labour Party to confirm his comments were ‘completely wrong’ and not representative of the party.
What did Mr Ali say?
In the recording obtained by the Mail on Sunday, Mr Ali allegedly said: ‘The Egyptians are saying that they warned Israel 10 days earlier… Americans warned them a day before [that] there’s something happening…
‘They deliberately took the security off, they allowed… that massacre that gives them the green light to do whatever they bloody want.’
Reactions from both sides
Raphi Bloom, co-chairman of the North West Friends Of Israel, told the Mail: ‘To accuse the Israeli government of willfully allowing Jews to be slaughtered is a disgraceful and shocking thing to say.’
Tory Vice-Chairman Craig Tracey said: ‘The fact that Sir Keir’s candidate for Rochdale is spreading these bizarre and offensive anti-Israel conspiracy theories shows that for all his bluster, he’s failed to change his party.’
Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator Pat McFadden told BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: ‘What he said was completely wrong. I was appalled when I saw it.
‘He has quite rightly apologised and retracted it, and I hope he’s learned a lesson from it. He’s given a full apology and retraction that his comments were wrong and they certainly don’t represent the Labour party.’
Did he apologise?
The Tory Party has since called for Labour to suspend the by-election campaign and withdraw Mr Ali’s party membership – but Labour said Mr Ali will remain as a Labour candidate.
In a statement, Mr Ali said: ‘I apologise unreservedly to the Jewish community for my comments which were deeply offensive, ignorant, and false.
‘Hamas’ horrific terror attack was the responsibility of Hamas alone, and they are still holding hostages who must be released.’
On October 7, armed Hamas gunmen infiltrated southern Israel, killing 1,200 Israelis and sparking an all-out war between Israel and Hamas.
Since the conflict began, more than 20,000 Palestinians and hundreds of Israelis have been killed.
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