Two more Labour councillors have been suspended from the party pending an investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism in the latest incident to grip the party. Newport councillor Miqdad Al-Nuaimi has been suspended for sending a series of tweets comparing Israel to the Nazi party and suggesting there is an "Israeli connection" to Islamic State (Isis).
Renfrewshire councillor Terry Kelly has also been suspended after it emerged he wrote a blog post in 2014 about the "Jewish lobby" influencing the US politics and the Oscars awards. Both councillors were suspended just over an hour after the claims were first uncovered by the political blog Guido Fawkes.
The suspensions are the latest in a number of similar incidents involving members of the Labour party in recent months. Former London mayor Ken Livingstone was suspended following his comments regarding Adolf Hitler being a Zionist, which were said while defending Bradford West MP Naz Shah following her suspension from the party. Meanwhile three councillors were also suspended on the same day for allegedly posting anti-Semitic views online.
The latest suspensions arrived after Britain's Chief Rabbi attacked the party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn for failing to deal with the "severe problem" at the party. Ephraim Mirvis wrote in the Telegraph: "Zionism is a movement celebrated by people right across the political spectrum, all over the world, and requires no endorsement or otherwise of the particular policies of any Israeli Government at any time.
"But to those people who have nevertheless sought to redefine Zionism, who vilify and delegitimise it, be under no illusions - you are deeply insulting not only the Jewish community but countless others who instinctively reject the politics of distortion and demonisation."
Corbyn has denied there is a crisis at Labour, but has launched an independent inquiry into anti-Semitism and other forms of racism within the party. He said: "Labour is an anti-racist party to its core and has a long and proud history of standing against racism, including anti-Semitism. I have campaigned against racism all my life and the Jewish community has been at the heart of the Labour party and progressive politics in Britain for more than a hundred years.
"There is no place for anti-Semitism or any form of racism in the Labour party, or anywhere in society, and we will make sure that our party is a welcoming home to members of all communities."