Labour has barred a potential council candidate who said “Jews have reaped the rewards of playing victims” from standing for office.
Widespread condemnation followed news that Nasreen Khan, a former Respect activist, had been shortlisted to contest the seat in Bradford.
Jewish News revealed on Tuesday that she was to be interviewed again by a party panel and she has now been removed from a two-person shortlist.
The controversy centres around a series of posts five years ago on which she said: “It’s such a shame that the history teachers in our school never taught us this but they are the first to start brainwashing us and our children into thinking the bad guy was Hitler.
“What have the Jews done good in this world??”
She is also reported to have written there are “worse people than Hitler in this world now” and “Jews have reaped the rewards of playing victims. Enough is enough”. She has since described the remarks as “inappropriate and unacceptable”.
Amid reports she had resigned her membership and will stand as an independent, a Labour Party spokesperson said: “Following an investigation, Nasreen Khan has been removed from Labour’s panel of approved candidates in Bradford. Labour condemns all forms of anti_Semitism in the strongest possible terms.”
Even before the story emerged publicly this week, those concerned about her shortlisting had been told the party would not suspend her candidature as details of her past had been known at the time. Only if new information emerged could the case be reexamined, they said. But it’s now being suggested by local Labour sources that the panel who placed her on the shortlist were unaware of the comments, despite her having provided a statement she had provided to the party at an earlier stage.
In that statement in the summer, Khan is understood to have said that she originally used the term ‘Zionist’, only to change it to ‘Jews’ when she was informed the former was “a term of abuse”. But she now “profoundly regretted” using the generalised terms ‘Jews’ and was now able to distinguish between Israeli policy and the Jewish community. Khan said she had also learnt more about the Holocaust.
She added that others in the party had said “as bad or worse”.
Jewish Labour Movement chair Jeremy Newmark said: “This is the right outcome. Nasreen must demonstrate genuine contrition and understanding of why her comments are unacceptable and racist.”