Nigel Farage has been criticised for referring to “a powerful Jewish lobby” operating in America.
Mr Farage, who was presenting his phone-in show on the LBC network yesterday, took a call from someone identifying himself as “Ahmed” during a debate on Russian influence in last year’s US presidential election.
“How come there’s such an issue with Russia, and no one really highlighting AIPAC and the Israeli lobby and their involvement in American politics and elections”, the caller asked.
Mr Farage, referring to the “Israeli lobby”, responded by saying Ahmed had made “a reasonable point”.
He added: “There are about six million Jewish people living in America, so as a percentage it’s quite small, but in terms of influence its quite big. They have a voice within American politics, as indeed do the Hindu groups and many other groups in America. But I don’t think anybody is suggesting that the Israeli government tried to affect the result of the American elections.”
When the caller claimed Israel had Democrats and Republicans “in their pockets”, Mr Farage, the former leader of UKIP, responded: “In terms of money and influence they are a very powerful lobby”.
He went on to thank “Ahmed from Leyton”, who he said “makes the point that there are other very powerful lobbies in America, with the Jewish lobby, that has links with the Israeli government, is one of those strong voices”.
Social media users condemned Mr Farage’s comments.
“Nigel Farage spewing anti-Semitic conspiracies over the radio, nobody cares because he's right-wing”, one person tweeted, with another sarcastically saying “Nigel Farage slips into antisemitic tropes of Jewish power and wealth. Shocked, I tell you, shocked!”
Adam Langleben, a Jewish Labour councillor, posted a link to the excerpt of Mr Farage’s show, saying the politician had gone “full conspiracy”.
He tweeted: “Person calls in and compares AIPAC to Russian collusion. Farage plays up influence. Interchanges "Israeli" and "Jewish" lobby.”
A Board of Deputies spokesperson said: “Nigel Farage’s clumsy use of the terms Israel and Jewish lobby interchangeably and his reference to their ‘power’ has crossed the line into well-known antisemitic tropes. We would advise him to be more careful in his use of language in future.”