Councillor Yusuf Jan-Virmani, the representative for the Audley and Queen’s Park ward, made derogatory comparisons between Israelis and animals while referencing the antisemitic blood libel conspiracy theory.
Cllr Jan-Virmani reportedly said: “Mr Mayor, councillors – I am not aware of any animal that is so cruel as the Israelis. Not even crocodiles. They bomb schools day and night… hospitals, they bomb them – they flatten them.
“They kidnap the kids and harvest their organs… that’s been proven. That’s from the United Nations.
“They inject people there. They murder by land sea and air. And what’s worse, the Israelis slander the defenceless Palestinian victims as terrorists.”
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis” is an example of antisemitism.
This also references an antisemitic meme containing a quote that is falsely attributed to Sir David Attenborough, which has since been debunked.
Rick Moore, Deputy Chair of the Blackburn Conservative Association, said: “In regards to Cllr Jan-Virmani’s speech, I am concerned that it seems to be clearly antisemitic in nature, comparing the Israeli people to animals which is clearly unacceptable.”
When questioned, Cllr Jan-Virmani doubled down on his remarks, saying: “I stand by what I said. It was nothing to do with Jews. It was criticism of the Israeli Government.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.