A candidate shortlisted by the British Labour Party for the Bradford Council seat is still under consideration for the position even after newspapers published a series of anti-Semitic comments she had made on Facebook, downplaying Hitler’s culpability and accusing the Jews of exploiting the Holocaust to their ends.
Five years ago, Nasreen Khan—a former member of George Galloway’s Respect Party—posted her comments under a video, shared on the social network and titled “The Palestine You Need to Know.”
“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,” she wrote at the time. “What have the Jews done good in this world?”
When accused of harboring neo-Nazi beliefs, she continued: “No, I’m not a Nazi, I’m an ordinary British Muslim that had an opinion and put it across. We have worse people than Hitler in this world now.”
When the comments became public, earlier this week, Khan issued an apology. “I accept fully that it was inappropriate and unacceptable,” she said. “I profoundly regret the comments I made in 2012 and any offence they caused.”
But to many of her critics, comments like Khan’s ought to disqualify her from holding public office. “The question you have to ask,” said Conservative MP Andrew Percy, “is would a neo-Nazi be allowed to be on a short list simply by saying sorry? Anyone can issue an apology to further their own political career. What has she actively done to prove she doesn’t still hold these views?”
The failing, Percy continued, was not only Khan’s but also her party’s. “I would like to say these views don’t belong in the Labour Party,” he said, “but sadly as we keep seeing from example after example, they are clearly welcomed with open arms in Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.” Simon Cooke, leader of Bradford Council’s Conservative Group, agreed, saying he was “really shocked that Labour has allowed Nas Khan to get to the point of being a candidate. They really need to get their act together.”
A Labour Party spokesperson told the British press that the party does “not comment on internal selection matters.”