Labour pair withdraw over "anti-Semitic" Facebook post

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Labour said it took complaints of anti-Semitism "extremely seriously"

Two Labour council candidates have withdrawn from upcoming elections over an allegedly anti-Semitic image posted on Facebook.

Denise Addison and Sheila Argument were due to stand in wards in Redcar and Cleveland, Teesside, in May.

They shared and liked a post showing the Freedom of Humanity mural which features businessmen playing a board game propped up by slave-like figures.

Labour North said it would select two new candidates.

Businessmen caricatures have been criticised for replicating anti-Semitic representations of Jewish men and the mural has been said to propagate conspiracy theories about a Jewish plot to dominate financial institutions.

Screen grabs showed Ms Addison, who was due to stand in the Longbeck ward, shared the post on 26 February.

The same post was "liked" by Ms Argument, who was a candidate in Loftus.

Image caption,
The mural, shared on Facebook, has been described as anti-Semitic

Earlier this month Labour North said both women were being investigated.

A spokesman has now confirmed they have withdrawn their names from the local government elections, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

He added: "We will now be looking for new candidates for selection and we will be fighting all the seats in the election."

When the investigation was announced, the organisation said the Labour Party took all complaints of anti-Semitism "extremely seriously".

Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, welcomed their withdrawal.

The Freedom for Humanity mural was painted in 2012 near Brick Lane in London's East End by American graffiti artist Kalen Ockerman, also known as Mear One.

He said he had not initially realised the image was "deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic".

Mear One has denied being anti-Semitic and described the piece as being about "class and privilege".

Ms Argument and Ms Addison have been contacted for comment.

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