A leading antisemitism campaigner confronted a Labour MP at a Chanukah event over why he shared a post that referred to “MASS MURDERING ROTHSCHILDS ISRAELI MAFIA CRIMINAL LIARS”.
Gideon Falter, chief executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, asked Afzal Khan – MP for Manchester Gorton and shadow immigration minister – how he had “the gall to show [his] face” at the event at the London residence of the US ambassador on Thursday night.
“I went up to him and he put his hand out, and I said ‘I don’t shake hands with Jew-haters’. And I asked him what he was doing there,” Mr Falter told the JC.
He said Mr Khan responded that he had been invited to a Chanukah celebration.
“Chanukah is the celebration of the triumph of my people over antisemites like you,” Mr Falter said he replied. “Do you often attend celebrations for people you despise?”
Mr Falter said he added: “You shared an article saying that there is a conspiratorial Israeli Rothschild mafia. Lord Rothschild is here. Are you not afraid to be in the presence of such a man?”
Mr Khan shared a post on Facebook in 2015, when he was an MEP, that said: “DIVORCE ISRAEL-BRITISH-SWISS ROTHSCHILDS CRIME SYNDICATE IN EVERY WAY ESPECIALLY HOMELAND SECURITY AND AIPAC-WALL STREET-PENTAGON WARMONGERS!
“NETANYAHU = MAJOR SALES PERSON FOR IRAQ WAR = PUPPET OF THE ZIONIST MAFIA LIKE BUSH & CLINTONS!
“DIVORCE THESE MASS MURDERING ROTHSCHILDS ISRAELI MAFIA CRIMINAL LIARS = PUT THEM IN PRISON!”
When the post came to light earlier this year, Mr Khan said he was “sincerely sorry about this genuine accident”.
According to Mr Falter, Mr Khan denied he had shared anything antisemitic when he was confronted.
Mr Falter then showed him a screenshot of the post as well as a tweet from Mr Khan in 2014, in which he shared a link to an article, whose headline, Mr Falter pointed out, was: “The Israeli Government are [sic] acting like Nazi’s [sic] in Gaza”.
Mr Falter said he told him: “You're not just an antisemite, you’re a brazen liar too.”
When Mr Khan told Mr Falter that he was going to speak to someone else, Mr Falter said he answered: “Everywhere you go in this room, I will accompany you so that everyone you try to shake hands with or speak to knows who and what you are, or you can just get out now.”
After that, Mr Khan said goodbye to the ambassador and left the event, Mr Falter said.
Mr Khan's spokesperson denied he had left after the confrontation, saying his departure was "some time later".
They said Mr Khan was "sworn at" and responded how he did because he did not "made offensive statements himself, when he had in fact shared without comment and subsequently fully and unreservedly apologised".
Mr Falter denied swearing, adding: "No surprise they’re not averse to going low."
In a statement to the JC, Mr Khan's spokesperson said: "Afzal Khan previously apologised unreservedly for sharing a video by the Jewish comedian Jon Stewart about Netanyahu, and explained he had not seen the antisemitic text beneath it about the Rothschilds.
“Afzal is committed to tackling antisemitism and bringing communities together. He set up the Greater Manchester Muslim-Jewish Forum and he was awarded a CBE for his work to strengthen community cohesion and interfaith relations.”