Antisemitism in Political Parties

Nazir Ahmed

1998-2013: Labour peer (Independent 2013-2020)


  1. On 14th March 2013, it was reported that, during a television interview given while on a trip to Pakistan, Lord Ahmed had blamed Jewish owners of media organisations for his previous imprisonment for twelve weeks in 2009, following a conviction for dangerous driving. During the interview, he alleged that they had pressurised the courts, and that the judge who had sentenced him had been appointed to his post after helping a “Jewish colleague” of Tony Blair. He reportedly claimed that the alleged plot was concocted in order to punish him for his support for Palestinians in Gaza. Claiming that he should have been sentenced by a magistrate rather than the Crown Court, and that pressure had been brought in order to ensure that he received a more serious sentence, he reportedly said: “My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.”


Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis is that Lord Ahmed’s actions amount to breaches of the International Definition of Antisemitism and qualify as antisemitic discourse according to our methodology.

By alleging that he was the victim of a conspiracy involving Jewish owners of media organisations and a prominent member of the judiciary [1], he was “making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”


On 14th March 2013, it was reported that Lord Ahmed had been suspended by the Labour Party. The Party reportedly made a statement, saying that it “deplores and does not tolerate any sort of racism or anti-Semitism [sic]”.

Then Labour leader Ed Miliband, reportedly condemned Lord Ahmed’s comments, saying: “There’s no place for anti-semitism [sic] in the Labour Party, and frankly anybody who makes those kinds of comments cannot be either a Labour lord or a Labour member of Parliament.”

On March 14th 2013, a report in The Times noted that a “leading solicitor” had said that if Lord Ahmed had given the interview in Britain he could have been liable to prosecution for inciting racial hatred.

On 28th March 2013, it was reported that, whilst not suggesting that the video was inauthentic or that his remarks had been taken out of context, Lord Ahmed claimed not to remember when the video was made or its exact contents. However, he reportedly said: “I completely and unreservedly apologise to the Jewish community, to the judiciary, to the newspaper owners,” adding that he was “not anti-Semitic [sic]” and that he didn’t have “any explanation or excuse.”

On 13th May 2013, it was reported that Lord Ahmed had resigned from the Labour Party shortly before he was due to appear before Labour’s National Executive Committee in connection with his comments. His resignation letter reportedly related that he had made the decision to resign “with a heavy heart”. However, he went on to say: “I do not recall when this interview was held, where this interview was held and nor the person who carried out this interview. All I know is what has been reported in The Times. I reject the core story that emerges out of the alleged interview.” Moreover, he claimed that requests for the release of the video tape made to The Times by his lawyers, in order for a forensic examination to take place, had been denied.

He also suggested that the Labour Party was proceeding against him on the basis of “incredible and untested evidence”, and that it might have pre-judged his case.

On 1st March 2017, It was reported that Lord Ahmed would join  Baroness Jenny Tonge and Cllr David Ward as leaders of the Balfour Apology Campaign, which sought an apology from Britain for the ‘Balfour declaration’, which stated the British Government’s support for the creation of a “national Jewish home” in what is now Israel.

It is to be noted also that on 2nd November 2009, it was reported that Lord Ahmed had hosted a book launch in 2005 in the House of Lords for the Russian-born Swedish writer Israel Shamir, who has been described as “notorious for Holocaust denial and publishing a string of antisemitic articles”.

On 17th November 2020, Lord Ahmed resigned from the House of Lords, days before he was due to be expelled over allegations of a sexual nature. On the same day, the House of Lords’ Conduct Committee published its report recommending “that Lord Ahmed be expelled from the House of Lords”, which was the first time that a member of the House of Lords had ever been recommended for expulsion; however, the investigation and report made no mention of antisemitism.

In September 2017, Campaign Against Antisemitism sought comment from Lord Ahmed on the matter of his comments in [1], but did not receive a response.


Campaign Against Antisemitism has rated the Party’s handling of this matter as “unsatisfactory”. Our rating system is explained in our methodology. This case was last updated on 27th December 2020.