A HOUSING chief has stepped down to be investigated for anti-Semitism.

Brighton and Hove city councillor Nichole Brennan resigned from her council cabinet posts after photos of her holding up a sign calling Israel a “racist, apartheid state” were given to The Argus.

The pictures were taken two years ago at a Hove Town Hall rally against the city council’s adoption of the International Holocaust Recognition Association’s definition of anti-Semitism.

The association defines claims the state of Israel is racist.

The photos show Cllr Brennan standing next to expelled Labour Party member Tony Greenstein.

Mr Greenstein was kicked out the party for “anti-Semitic behaviour” months before the October protest.

In a statement sent to The Argus Cllr Brennan apologised for the pictures and resigned as deputy housing chairwoman and rough sleeping chief.

“I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused to the Jewish community and I sincerely regret campaigning in this way,” she said.

“This happened two years ago, before I was a councillor.

“At the time I was not as knowledgeable about the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as I am now.

“I do not seek to excuse my actions.

“I have referred myself to the Labour Party and will fully co-operate with any investigation and have stepped aside from my role as deputy chair of housing and lead for homelessness and rough sleeping, pending its outcome.”

Cllr Brennan said she now fully supports the definition.

Jewish Labour Movement vice-chairman Stephane Sarvery said Cllr Brennan’s sign was “disturbing”.

“What these photos seems to suggest is that for Cllr Brennan the adoption of the IHRA definition by Brighton council was somehow linked to Israel,” he said.

“The fact she associated both is disturbing to say the least.

“It raises the question as to why Cllr Brennan thought it was appropriate to link the fight against anti-Semitism in the UK with the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

“I’d strongly suggest that the council and local Labour Party meet with Cllr Brennan and ask her why she thought this was an appropriate behaviour for a Labour councillor.”

Labour Against anti-Semitism spokesman Euan Philipps called for “appropriate disciplinary action” to be taken against Cllr Brennan.

“We trust Nancy Platts, the Labour leader of the council, will adhere to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism,” he said.

It is understood Labour is looking into complaints against Cllr Brennan.

A party spokesman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of anti-Semitism extremely seriously.

“They are always fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and appropriate action is taken.”