Candidate vying to replace Gerald Kaufman compared Israel to Nazis

Candidate vying to replace Gerald Kaufman compared Israel to Nazis

Afzal Khan is seeking to become the new Manchester Gorton MP, three years after making controversial comments about Israel

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Afzal Khan
Afzal Khan

A Labour MEP who was not disciplined after comparing Israel to the Nazis has confirmed he is standing to replace the late Sir Gerald Kaufman.

Afzal Khan has put his name forward to be the Labour candidate for Manchester Gorton, following the death of Kaufman two weeks ago, aged 86.

As Member of the European Parliament for the North West, Khan was at the centre of controversy in 2014, when he compared Israel to the Nazis.

During the war in Gaza three years ago, he tweeted: “”The Israeli Government are [sic] acting like Nazi’s [sic] in Gaza”, but the party did not take any action, much to the ‘deep disappointment’ of Jewish community leaders.

Upon putting his name forward to be the candidate for Manchester Gorton, Khan, who came to the UK from Pakistan as a child, said: “As a former Manchester councillor, Lord Mayor and now an MEP, I’m a proven campaigner, with a track record of hard work and delivering for my constituents.”

Khan called Sir Gerald Kaufman “a true champion for the people of Manchester Gorton. Over the 20 years we worked together I was always grateful for his support, advice and above all friendship.”

Gideon Falter, Chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism told Jewish News: “If Afzal Khan believes that Israeli policy is to act like Nazis then he is an anti-Semite according to the International Definition of Anti-Semitism adopted by the British government. 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 anti-Semite for another.”

A Jewish Labour Movement spokesperson said: “We are following the selection process with interest.  Our North West Regional team will seek to engage with all contenders at the appropriate time.”

Afzal Khan MEP's tweet
Afzal Khan MEP’s tweet
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