Investigators from Campaign Against Antisemitism have discovered an antisemitic tweet by British Labour politician Afzal Khan. On 2nd August 2014, Khan tweeted a link to an article from which he quoted, “The Israeli Government are [sic] acting like Nazi’s [sic] in Gaza.”
— Afzal Khan MEP (@akhanmep) August 2, 2014
Khan is a Labour Member of the European Parliament for the North West and sits on various European Parliament committees including the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Budget Committee and the Security and Defence Committee, of which he is Vice Chair.
According to the definition of antisemitism that was first adopted by the European Union itself, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic.
His use of the Nazi slur is surprising given Khan’s 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.
However the Labour Party has declined to investigate or discipline Khan, instead issuing a short statement: “These views are not shared by the Labour Party and Afzal Khan MEP has been reminded of his responsibilities as a Labour representative.”
This is yet another signal sent to the Jewish community that the Labour Party is not taking its antisemitism problem seriously. We have seen repeated signs that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party operates a zero tolerance policy against racism, but only when convenient.
When it costs the party politically, antisemites go unpunished, whether it’s Father of the House, Sir Gerald Kaufman MP, or now Afzal Khan MEP. Suspending Khan would cost Labour politically in the European Parliament, so presumably that is why he has been reminded not to be antisemitic instead of being suspended and investigated.