Brent Council leader called out for 'anti-Israel' TikTok post

A still from the video Cllr Muhammed Butt shared on his TikTok account

A still from the video Cllr Muhammed Butt shared on his TikTok account - Credit: TikTok / LDRS

The leader of Brent Council has been criticised after he posted a TikTok video with a song that contained lyrics calling for the bombing of Israel’s Tel Aviv.  

Labour councillor Muhammed Butt originally posted the clip, which showed three men on a walking trip in South Wales, in May 2021. 

The men unfurl a Palestinian flag at one point in the video, and it is accompanied by the Arabic song ‘Edreb Edreb Tal Abib’, which contains the lyrics “Hit, Hit, Tel Aviv” when translated. Cllr Butt said he was unaware of this translation and immediately took the post down when it was brought to his attention. 

He said: “Of course I am appalled at finding out the translated connotation of the lyrics. I would never and never have endorsed the message in this song. As soon as it was highlighted to myself, it was removed.”

However, Liberal Democrat councillor Anton Georgiou said this was no excuse and urged Cllr Butt to take more care when it comes to his social media. Cllr Georgiou said: “I am disgusted to read what Brent Council leader, Cllr Butt, has been sharing on his public TikTok account. The excuse simply doesn’t wash with me. As an elected official, Cllr Butt should be a lot more careful.” 

He added that this “isn’t the first time” that Cllr Butt has posted “deeply offensive content”, referring to an incident in 2016 when the council leader shared a video which compared Israel to Islamic State, for which he later apologised. In 2018, Brent Council, under Cllr Butt’s leadership, passed a motion expressing regret at the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. 

The motion read: “This council is appalled that more than two thirds of Palestinians are reliant on humanitarian assistance, with limited access to essential amenities such as water and electricity.” At the time, Labour councillor Neil Nerva pointed out that a UK local authority discussing foreign policy is a “difficult area”.

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Cllr Butt has previously condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, a pro-Palestinian movement which calls for economic penalties to be applied to Israel. 

Writing in Jewish News, he said: “My Jewish residents will have parents, siblings and children in Israel. That’s why I have no time for boycotts. As far as I can see, it does nothing for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”