(photo credit: REUTERS)
LONDON – Jeremy Zeid, a Jewish UK Independence Party candidate in next month’s British parliamentary election, has resigned after party chiefs objected to his call for Israel to “do an Eichmann” on US President Barack Obama once he has completed his term of office.
The candidate for Hendon, a heavily Jewish neighborhood in northwest London, had earlier this year courted controversy by threatening to quit his party because UKIP’s Executive Committee had voted to ban all animal slaughter in Britain unless pre-stunning was carried out, a procedure which is prohibited under the Jewish laws of shechita.
His latest comments emerged on his Facebook page as a result of his frustrations with the way the US president was dealing with the negotiations with Iran.
“Once Obama is out of office, the Israelis should move to extradite the bastard or ‘do an Eichmann’ on him, and lock him up for leaking state secrets,” Zeid wrote.
He later denied an intention to cause offence, instead claiming he was expressing a private opinion and it was simply “a salacious bit of chit chat,” a “storm in a tea cup” which he predicted would blow over shortly.
Declining to apologize, he emphasized that all he said was that Israel ought to extradite the US president, whom he accused of wanting to do a deal with Iran which in turn wanted to “wipe Israel out, to see the Jewish state gone to dust.”
UKIP party chiefs took exception to his views and sent Zeid a letter last week which he later confirmed said, “Oh dear, oh dear, what have you said now, or words to that effect.” However he maintained he had not been under any pressure to resign.
“I have not stepped down because of UKIP. Every time I mentioned the National Health Service or the economy, everyone (else) was just obsessed with race,” he said.
Zeid told the Jewish Chronicle that he was done with politics as people focused solely on the minutia.
“It has taken a toll on my health, my well-being, my business.
I want to tell [my supporters]: Do not believe the hype or the spin or the mischief making.
This is a dirty, disgusting, revolting, horrible election campaign with slurs and accusations and I am glad to be out of it.”
People, he said, could spin it any way they wanted. “If people do not like it, well, I am sorry,” he said.
He later went on to accuse unnamed others of throwing him to the wolves. “In politics if you keep your head down, you go right up the chimney,” and that had he been a left-wing candidate, for example representing the Labor Party, and he had made comments about extraditing Obama as if he were a Nazi war criminal, “there wouldn’t have been a squeak,” he said.
Shneur Odze, a longtime UKIP member and chairman of its Israel Friends organization, told The Jerusalem Post he was a good friend of Zeid, but the party had taken the right decision. He said he was pleased the party had shown resolve to ensure that those who spoke out (contrary to party policy) would be subject to party discipline and that appropriate action would be taken if necessary.
Zeid has been replaced by another Jewish candidate, local dentist Dr. Raymond Shamash.
Shamash served as a medical officer in the IDF during the Yom Kippur War.