A long-serving councillor hit out at what she claimed was a “culture of bullying and harassment” in Enfield Labour after quitting the group and the Labour Party.

Cllr Ayfer Orhan claimed she had received an “avalanche of abuse” after right-wing councillors “pounced” on a “benign” social media post she made in a bid to push her out of Enfield politics.

She claimed a public statement by council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan labelling the tweet antisemitic and saying she had been suspended from the Labour group triggered the attacks that left her “living with terrible stress and fears for (her) safety”.

Responding to the claims, council and Labour group leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan claimed the social media post “caused distress to Jewish residents” and accused the councillor of “innuendo and unfounded accusations”. She added that it is “usual for suspensions to be in place during investigations into such serious matters as antisemitism”.

In March 2019, Cllr Orhan – an Enfield councillor since 1998 – posted a tweet that questioned an oil drilling contract in Middle Eastern region the Golan Heights that had apparently been awarded to a private energy company, Genie Energy.

The tweet quoted a post by another Twitter user claiming Israel had supported terrorist groups Al Qaeda and Isis in a bid to destabilise Syria and secure control of the Golan Heights, which was captured from Syria by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967.

It said: “#Israel hoped that destabilising #Syria by supporting ALQaeda & #ISIS would help legitimise their annexation of the #GolanHeights.

“The Golan has a lot of water, but they discovered it also has oil.”

The post went on to claim Genie Energy was set up to drill for oil in the region and listed several high-profile US figures – including former vice-president Dick Cheney – on the firm’s board.

Cllr Orhan posted in response: “What is this??? I have been watching the development of political interest for the #GolanHeights with some interest but this is truly shocking if true.”

Following publication of the tweet, Cllr Caliskan issued the public statement labelling it “antisemitic” and claimed Cllr Orhan had been suspended from the Labour group pending an investigation.

But according to a press release by Left Legal Fighting Fund – an organisation that seeks to support left-wing activists, protesters, and whistleblowers – the national Labour Party intervened, clarifying that Cllr Orhan was merely under investigation and could continue as a Labour representative.

It adds that Cllr Orhan was exonerated by the Labour Party, which rejected the allegation that the post was antisemitic following an investigation that ended in February this year.

Cllr Orhan said: “In response to a benign tweet I posted in 2019, right-wing Labour councillors pounced at the opportunity to attempt to push me out of Enfield politics. Cllr Caliskan also issued a public statement containing a number of falsehoods, which has still not been corrected.

“Those events triggered a needless investigation against me by the Labour Party, which I believe was a grotesque intimidatory exercise. The attacks on me by Labour councillors have led to me receiving an avalanche of abuse, both online and offline. I’ve been living with terrible stress and fears for my safety.

“Moreover, Keir Starmer’s political attacks on socialists, his abandonment of progressive policies, and his abysmal election performance earlier this month make me despair for Labour’s future. Rather than being a party that stands for social justice, Labour is becoming the very opposite. I cannot, in good conscience, remain a Labour member.”

She added: “I believe there is a clear culture of bullying and harassment within the Enfield Council Labour group. I’m not the only one who knows about this. That’s partly why so many of us have felt compelled to resign.”

Council and Labour group leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan said: “Cllr Orhan’s tweet caused distress to Jewish residents who contacted me with their concerns. As Cllr Orhan has made clear, she was being investigated by the Labour Party. It is usual for suspensions to be in place during investigations into such serious matters as antisemitism.

“While myself and other Labour councillors are focusing on the residents of Enfield, Cllr Orhan has once again kept her focus on internal politics and resorted to innuendo and unfounded accusations.

“She has been repeating these accusations since 2018, when herself and other councillors failed to accept changes that came about through legitimate democratic processes.”

Cllr Orhan has now joined the Community First group on Enfield Council – a seven-strong group of former Labour councillors.

The Labour Party was also approached for comment.