Published: 15:39, 19 November 2019
| Updated: 17:29, 19 November 2019
The Labour candidate for Herne Bay was suspended for three months by the party for sharing a social media post referring to Israeli troops as Zionists, it has emerged.
Left-wing election hopeful Coral Jones joined the race to win the seat and oust veteran Conservative Sir Roger Gale last week.
However, KentOnline has learned the 64-year-old was suspended from the party in 2016 - a year after she joined Labour - for retweeting a post referring to "Zionist Israeli forces".
“Nothing happened,” says the former GP. “It’s well behind me and the party’s dismissed it.
“It was caught up in all the suspensions around the time of Jeremy Corbyn's second election, so you'd get suspended with no process.
“We're now the party of unity and I haven’t heard of any of these things happening since.
“Everybody’s getting behind the leader and the progressive, anti-austerity policies and I think it’s all been put behind us.”
The original tweet criticised the action of Israeli troops after they entered Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque.
Zionism is a movement advocating the creation of a Jewish state in the Middle East and, in turn, support for the modern state of Israel.
It has been said by some the term can be used euphemistically to attack Jewish people, while others believe the Israeli government and its supporters are muddling it with anti-Semitism to avoid criticism.
Ms Jones added: “The thing to point out about that is Zionism is the policy of Israel, so there's nothing anti-Semitic about that at all."
Incumbent Canterbury Labour MP Rosie Duffield divided activists earlier this year by saying the party "probably is" institutionally anti-Semitic while on the BBC's Sunday Politics.
During the interview, she also called for the leadership to deal with the issue urgently in order to stem the number of Jewish campaigners from revoking their memberships.
But Ms Jones believes differently, stressing she would not campaign for a party she believed to be anti-Semitic.
“I wouldn’t be in a party that I thought had that problem, but I can’t comment on what someone else would say,” she said.
“Our leader is a lifelong anti-racist, so I’m proud to be a prospective parliamentary candidate for a leader like him.”
More by this authorJack Dyson