Dundee West parliamentary candidate Jim Malone has strenuously denied claims of antisemitism and racism – and revealed he had received the backing of the Labour party.
In an exclusive interview with the Tele, Mr Malone said it is “business as usual” – and insisted he had received assurances he should hold no fears over suspension from Labour or his ability to stand as a candidate in the general election.
Calls have been made for his suspension after video footage of Mr Malone speaking at an event in 2010.
It has been claimed the former firefighter compared the treatment of Palestinians to Jews in Nazi concentration camps.
But accusations of antisemitism have been flatly denied by Mr Malone and he believes his work in the community should prove that.
He said: “I completely disagree with the allegations made against me and I believe my record of working with and for all communities in Dundee and elsewhere speaks for itself.
“Furthermore I have the backing of the party. I will not be suspended nor will I stand down because I have done nothing wrong.
“I have not breached any rules and I would not have been selected as a candidate if the party believed I was guilty of the accusations levelled against me.”
Mr McKenzie’s complaint centred around the video footage from 2010 – but Mr Malone maintains he did not do anything wrong.
He said: “The Labour party has experts who have carefully looked at this issue and they are happy that I have not, in any way, breached International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism adopted by the Labour party earlier this year.
“I can categorically reassure anyone that I have never held antisemitic views.
“I am very proud to be a a lifelong member of Dundee Anti Apartheid Movement and I have a history of fighting against racism.
“I am completely against racism and regularly represent other cultures in Dundee, including working with city Muslims through the mosque where I am a regular visitor.
“These accusations were made against me by someone who has no knowledge or understanding of Labour’s IHRA stance.
“I was fighting racism and fascism before they were born.”
Fiona Sharpe, of the campaign group Labour Against antisemitism, said there is “serious and substantial evidence” the candidate holds views “which should have no place in mainstream British politics”.
And SNP equalities spokeswoman Angela Crawley said it is “staggering” Labour still stands by Mr Malone and accused the party of failing to “properly root out antisemitism and racism”.
Candidate denies antisemitic comments
Dundee West candidate Jim Malone has responded directly to complaints over alleged antisemitic comments made during footage which was unearthed from an event in 2010.
Mr Malone had been accused of comparing the treatment of Palestinians to Jews in Nazi concentration camps.
But he said: “I spoke at a demonstration following the Israeli army’s assault on an aid convoy to Gaza in 2010, which led to ten deaths, dozens more wounded and a suspension of diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey.
“I recalled my father’s experience as a British serviceman. He was present at the liberation of Bergen-Belsen after the horrific events of the Holocaust, the greatest crime in the history of humanity. I was intending to express my compassion and understanding about the circumstances in which many Jewish people fled to Israel after the Second World War.
“My father also served in Mandatory Palestine after the war, and observed some of the violence that took place there at that time, in which both Israeli and Arab combatants and civilians lost their lives. I was not seeking to compare the two events.
“My engagement with politics in the Middle East is about ending hostilities and bloodshed, and working for peace and understanding in the future.
“Through the Fire Brigades Union, I have worked with Israeli firefighters and their unions and Palestinian firefighters in efforts to build cross-community solidarity.
“I am deeply concerned by the recent spike in antisemitism and I hope to work with the Jewish community in Dundee to root out this evil and ensure such hatred is never tolerated in our society.”