A Hastings councillor who resigned from the Labour Party earlier this year has hit out at her former group at a meeting this week.
Old Hastings councillor Dany Louise criticised Labour councillor Leah Levane for her role as co-chairwoman of Jewish Voice for Labour – a group Cllr Louise described as “racist” and “anti-Semitic”.
This description was strongly condemned by Cllr Levane, however, who said it was ‘frankly slanderous.’
Cllr Louise made her comments as councillors debated the authority’s annual work programme at a full council meeting on Wednesday (May 15).
Chairing the meeting, town mayor Nigel Sinden said he could not allow grandstanding and Cllr Louise would have to either discuss the work programme or stop speaking.
After being allowed to continue, Cllr Louise said: “I am inviting you all to reflect on whether it is appropriate and consistent with Hastings Borough Council values that a Labour councillor should be running a racist, anti-Semitic organisation and that this should be addressed in the programme of work this coming year.”
Cllr Louise was told she could not continue and asked to sit down.
After the meeting Cllr Louise said her microphone had been switched off several times during the exchange.
Afterwards, Cllr Levane disputed Cllr Louise’s description of the group.
Cllr Levane said: “Cllr Louise was referring to Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), of which I am proud to be co-chair.
“JVL has always condemned all forms of racism. Allegations that the organisation is racist and anti-Semitic are frankly slanderous.
“We have received a publicly printed apology from a national daily for making similar statements in the past.”
A member of the Jewish Labour Movement and the Brighton & Hove Progressive Synagogue, Cllr Louise had been elected as a Labour councillor for Old Hastings in the 2018 council elections.
Now an independent, Cllr Louise resigned from the Labour Party earlier this year, saying it had “become a welcoming environment for antisemites” in a resignation letter to council leader Peter Chowney.