Labour probe after candidate shortlisted despite hate posts

Labour probe after candidate shortlisted despite hate posts

Council hopeful who said 'Jews reaped rewards of playing victims' on verge of selection

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Nasreen Khan
Nasreen Khan

Labour are investigating after an activist who said the “Jews have reaped the rewards of playing victims” was shortlisted for a safe council seat.

The Guido Fawkes website revealed last week that Nasreen Khan, a former Respect activist, was down to the last two to contest the seat in Bradford.

But sources have told the Jewish News that the party was aware of her remarks before she reached the last two – and she had provided a written explanation of her 2012 Facebook posts weeks before her interview with a three-person panel in the summer.

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”.

Following a number of complaints even before the story emerged publicly this week, Jewish News understands that the party said it would would not be able to suspend her candidature as details of her past had been known at the time of her shortlisting. Only if new information emerged could the case be reexamined, they said.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “We do not comment on internal selection matters.”

But amid mounting pressure for her to be removed from the list ahead of an expected selection announcement on Friday, a senior Labour source told Jewish News last night they were looking into the case.

In Khan’s mea culpa in August, she 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”.

Rt Hon Joan Ryan MP, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, said: “It really shouldn’t be anything other than glaringly obvious that anyone holding such appallingly antisemitic views should not be allowed to remain a member of the Labour party, let alone to represent it.” 

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