Chingford News

‘Israel lobby’ graffiti on Chingford Labour Party office sparks libel accusation

Stella Creasy’s online condemnation of the graffiti has been accused of being ‘libellous’ towards former candidate Faiza Shaheen, reports Marco Marcelline

Chingford and Woodford Green Labour Party office in Hatch Lane, Credit: Google Streetview

Graffiti that was sprayed onto the Chingford and Woodford Green Labour Party office over the weekend has provoked an online row between Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy and supporters of Faiza Shaheen.

The graffiti, which read, “Israel lobby out…work 4 us” and “UK MPs for UK not Israel”, was first condemned by the new Labour candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green, Shama Tatler, on Saturday.

The Brent councillor, who replaced Faiza Shaheen after she was deselected last week, tweeted: “This shameful act of vandalism on our office is an attack on the whole community. I will always stand up against the forces of hatred and antisemitism.”

On Sunday morning (2nd June), Stella Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow, condemned the graffiti saying it was “appalling to see this happen in our borough”. 

She added: “Any candidate worth voting for should want to win by the power of our ideas and clarity of organisation, not through feeding off the culture of intimidation and division being stoked in our nation.”

The latter statement was seized by left-wing commentators including Owen Jones who accused the MP of libelling Faiza.

In a dramatic exchange on X, Owen described the tweet as a “vile smear”. 

He wrote: “Stella is clearly directing an innuendo at Faiza Shaheen, who her party purged for straightforward political reason. There’s not a single statement Creasy could point to linking Faiza to this. So she tries to bypass libel laws by not naming her.”

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In a since deleted tweet, the Jewish News journalist Lee Harpin said the “Israel lobby” graffiti was “pure antisemitic hate, whipped up by the ex candidate’s vile campaign”.

Amid the dramatic social media exchanges, Faiza posted: “I see I need to speak to my libel lawyer again.” 

In a statement to the Echo, Creasy said her commentary was directed at “all candidates” rather than “any one” of them. She said: “My comment was about being clear that none of us would want to benefit from such behaviour.

“As someone with a track record of speaking out against abuse in politics – whether to those in my own party, from those in my own party or indeed to those in other parties or from those in other parties – if I am re-elected will continue to work across parties to try to tackle this behaviour and intimidation because its integral to protecting free speech.”

Faiza’s team was contacted for comment. 

On Friday, hundreds of people turned up at a hastily arranged protest to show solidarity with Faiza where she told the crowd that she didn’t think there is “any way back” for her into Labour.

Meanwhile, her replacement Shama Tatler launched her campaign over the weekend in an event that was attended by Waltham Forest Council leader Grace Williams and Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal. Labour’s candidate for Wanstead and Leyton Calvin Bailey was also pictured at the event. 

Waltham Forest Labour told the Echo the group “looks forward to working alongside Calvin Bailey and Shama Talter towards a Labour victory, so that we can deliver for the people of the borough.”

Local constituency party members in Chingford and Woodford Green and Leyton and Wanstead have complained that the two candidates have “no connection” to the areas they are standing in. 

A local Labour Party spokesman said: “Labour’s selection processes are a matter for Labour’s NEC and London Labour.”

Police are currently investigating the graffiti. There has been no arrest for the graffiti and anyone with information is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers, quoting CAD 2106/01Jun. 

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