Afzal Khan CBE, whose tweet compared the Israeli Government to Nazis, has confirmed that he will be standing in the selection to be the Labour Party’s candidate in the by-election to replace the late Sir Gerald Kaufman MP in the seat of Manchester Gorton. Khan is a Labour Member of the European Parliament for the North West.
His candidacy has already gained the support of senior figures within the powerful Communication Workers’ Union and GMB union.
After 33 years as the MP for Manchster Gorton, the late Sir Gerald Kaufman left Manchester Gorton as the ninth safest Labour seat in the country. In October 2015, Sir Gerald delivered an antisemitic speech to MPs on the Parliamentary Estate, and just like in the case of Khan, the Labour Party refused to investigate or discipline him.
On 2nd August 2014, Khan tweeted a link to an article from which he quoted that “The Israeli Government are [sic] acting like Nazi’s [sic] in Gaza.”
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, which was first devised by the European Union itself and has been adopted by the British Government, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic.
Khan’s use of the slur was surprising given his prominence in interfaith dialogue work. He is co-founder of The Muslim-Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester and was awarded a CBE for his community and interfaith work in 2008.
The Labour Party refused to investigate or discipline Khan for his tweet and instead offered a pitifully weak statement: “These views are not shared by the Labour Party and Afzal Khan MEP has been reminded of his responsibilities as a Labour representative.”
If Khan believes that Israeli policy is to act like Nazis then he is an antisemite. If that is so, and he is selected as the Labour Party candidate in Manchester Gorton, the Jewish community could be in for years of torment — the Labour Party would have swapped one antisemite for another.
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