UK MP suspended for blaming jail term on Jews

Labor suspends politician after he allegedly blamed road accident he caused on "Jewish conspiracy," Press Association reports.

By JONNY PAUL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
March 14, 2013 13:24
Britain's Lord Nazir Ahmed

Lord Nazir Ahmed 370. (photo credit: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah / Reuters)

 
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LONDON – A British politician who complained of Jewish conspiracy after being jailed for his part in a fatal car crash has been suspended by his party.

The Labor Party moved swiftly to distance itself from Lord Nazir Ahmed’s comments, suspending him while it investigate the comments he allegedly made after blaming his fate on a Jewish conspiracy.

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“The Labor Party deplores and does not tolerate any sort of racism or anti-Semitism. We will be seeking to clarify these remarks as soon as possible,” the party said.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews condemned Ahmed’s comments, accusing him of using the worse anti- Semitic conspiracy theories.

“We are appalled by Lord Ahmed’s alleged comments which recall the worst Jewish conspiracy theories. However outlandish and incredible his allegations, there will always be gullible or malicious individuals or groups that will accept what he has said and add to the growth of anti- Semitic discourse,” Board chief executive Jon Benjamin said.

“We note that Lord Ahmed has now been suspended from the Labor Party pending a full investigation. If he is found to have indeed made the reported comments, he should be expelled from the party, as such views should have no space in responsible political discourse,” he added.

In 2009, Ahmed was jailed after he killed another motorist. He was sending a text message at the time while driving on a major highway.



He said that his prison sentence was a result of pressure applied on the court by Jews “who own newspapers and television channels,” The Times reported on Thursday.

The 55-year-old became one of the first Muslim peers in the UK after then-prime minister Tony Blair appointed him in 1998.

Ahmed also claimed that the judge in the 2008 case was appointed to his position after he helped a “Jewish colleague” of Blair during an important case. According to Ahmed, the judge was hand-picked to carry out the sentencing.

He also alleged that Jewish-owned media organizations pressured the courts to charge him with a more serious offense.

Ahmed maintained that the plot stemmed from Jewish disapproval of his support for the Palestinians in Gaza.

The Times said he repeated his comments during a television interview in Pakistan, which was said to have been broadcast last April.

“My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this,” he allegedly said in the interview.

Ahmed denied he ever gave the interview. The Times said it has sent his lawyer a copy of the transcript.

Martyn Gombar, a 28-yearold Slovakian, was killed in December 2007 when his car was hit by Ahmed’s Jaguar near Sheffield, in south Yorkshire.

The police said that while he was driving at 110 kph, he had sent and received five text messages.

According to the Times, three Court of Appeal judges refused to quash Ahmed’s conviction.

They maintained that the sentence was justified and that there should not be “one law for the rich and powerful and one law for the rest.”

However, the appeal court did agree to the “exceptional” course of suspending the sentence for 12 months after learning that his sentence would hinder Ahmed’s work “building bridges between the Muslim world and others.”

The peer was freed after serving 16 days in jail.

Last year, the Labor Party suspended Ahmed following reports that he offered a £10 million bounty for the capture of US President Barack Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Ahmed allegedly made the offer after the US announced a $10m. bounty for Hafiz Muhammed Saeed, founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist group blamed by India for the 2008 Mumbai massacre that killed 166 people.

In an interview on the Iranian mouthpiece Press TV during Operation Cast Lead in 2009, Ahmed said that Jewish student groups actively recruited for the IDF. He said that British Jews who served in the IDF should be arrested and, if necessary, charged with war crimes.

“We know that there are student unions that have been actively recruiting young people in Britain to join the IDF and we also know that there are young Jewish students who go and serve on the kibbutz and also in schools, who are also then doing national service in Israel,” he said.

Meanwhile The Guardian’s assistant editor has waded into controversy for linking Ahmed’s comments to the settlements in a tweet to the respected Times columnist Daniel Finkelstein.

Finkelstein had asked in a tweet why BBC radio had not picked up the Ahmed story in its news summaries.

Responding to the tweet, White said: “I agree it’s a stinker and typical of double standards. Pity about the illegal settlements though. Best wishes.”

A bemused Finkelstein asked White what the settlements had to do with it, to which White replied: “A lot. Whenever one types ‘double standards’ about tendentious Muslim claims those Israeli settlements start waving too.”

“Please, no. A Rotherham man is claiming the Jews helped convict him of a driving offense. What has Israel to do with it?” Finkelstein said in response.

White’s comments immediately sparked fury with many asking what the connection was.

Media watchdog organization Comment is Free Watch accused White of “Jew baiting” in his attack on Finkelstein: “A Guardian journalist, noting that Finkelstein was Jewish, immediately engaged in an ad hominem and completely irrelevant attack, raising the topic of settlements in Israel.

“The Guardian reporter’s ugly response to Finkelstein’s tweet represents the classic anti-Semitic reflex of holding Jews collectively responsible for the perceived sins of the State of Israel – a bigoted association. Daniel Finkelstein is not an Israeli,” the group said.

The Community Security Trust – a charity that works with police and government to stem anti-Semitism in the UK, and provides security for the community – condemned the spurious comparison.

“Michael White seems to be alleging that Daniel Finkelstein cares more about Israel than he does about anti-Semitism. In that case, perhaps Mr. White should spend more time looking in the mirror and less time making stupid comments on twitter,” said Mark Gardner, CST’s communications director.

Board of Deputies Jon Benjamin said: “Red mist linking of Lord Ahmed’s anti-Semitic comments and settlements suggests that Michael White sees Jewish bogeymen everywhere, too.”

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