New Pakistani PM was victim of antisemitic conspiracies for years

Marriage to Jemima Goldsmith was used against Imran Khan because Goldsmith was granddaughter of German Jewish family.

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July 28, 2018 14:48
3 minute read.
New Pakistani PM was victim of antisemitic conspiracies for years

Imran Khan, chairman of PTI, gives a speech as he declares victory in the general election in Islamabad. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Imran Khan, the former cricket star set to become Pakistan's next prime minister, was once married to Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of billionaire James Goldsmith. Although Jemima converted to Islam for her 1995 marriage to Khan in 1995, “she was constantly attacked as an insincere Muslim, part because of her Jewish grandfather,” according to a 2004 account in The Guardian. Khan and Jemima have two children, Qasim and Sulaiman.

Jemima is also the sister of Zac Goldsmith, who ran for mayor of London in 2016 and lost to Sadiq Khan. Imran Khan reportedly endorsed Goldsmith in the mayoral election. In 2016 The Independent noted “that candidate Zac Goldsmith, and his alliance with Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, his former brother-in-law, should raise serious questions.”

Jemima Goldsmith was born in 1974, the daughter of Sir James Goldsmith and Lady Annabel Vane Tempest Stewart. Sir James was the son of a luxury hotel magnate and parliamentarian named Frank Goldsmith. Frank Goldsmith was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1878 and his family, like that of the Rothschilds who lived in the same city, was well known. James Goldsmith was brought up Catholic according to The Telegraph and Jemima was Christian until she converted to Islam.

When she married Khan, who had refashioned himself as a devout Pakistani nationalist seeking a political career after two decades playing international cricket, she was 20 years younger than her husband. “Since they had married in 1995, Jemima had made huge efforts to adapt to life in Pakistan,” The Guardian noted. Khan was elected to parliament and had a single-minded devotion to becoming Prime Minister. “Imran stubbornly subscribes to the idea that it is his destiny to become Pakistan’s prime minister,” a 2004 article noted.

Jemima, who wanted to be a journalist, was openly pro-Palestinian and had studied Islam and the Middle East, wrote an article in The Guardian in 2000 that was criticized for being antisemitic. “The Israeli lobby in the US is rich and influential,” she wrote after the Mohammed al-Dura killing in Gaza on September 30, 2000. “The media is largely controlled by the Jews, as is Hollywood, and they account for more than half the top policy- making jobs in the Clinton administration.” She defended the article, saying that “It is outrageous to suggest that I am antisemitic, not least because I have family who are practicing Jews. I was raised with a strong sense of our Jewish roots.” She also wrote that “many of my friends are Jewish.” The article was pilloried as being connected to Imran’s political career. “Imran did not write the piece and in no way influenced it,” she said.



The strain of politics and adapting to culturally different Pakistan proved too much for the couple. “When we realized Jemima couldn’t live here any more, we divorced. At first we were concerned for our children. But it has worked out and I see them during their holidays,” her former husband told The Independent in 2006.

In 2015 Khan married Reham Khan, also a journalist. But the marriage ended after 10 months. The Express Tribune reported in 2018 that Reham “claimed that her ex was seeing Bushra Wattoo, the newly-wed bride of Imran, while he was married to her.”

Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) performed well in Pakistan’s 2013 elections promising to end the “war on terror” in the country. But Khan’s former marriage dogged him. Political enemies wrote about his “Jewish connections” and political rivals in the PML-N and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam spread “innuendos” about “Jewish financing” and conspiracies. The conspiracies didn’t go away. In 2018, Reham Khan was accused by Jemima of publishing a book with “moronic, re-hashed Zionist conspiracy theories,” according to the Times of India.

Now with the election behind him, the conspiracies and innuendo may finally end and he will face new hurdles of having to govern. The PTI came in first in the 2018 elections with 116 seats out of the 342 in parliament. Jemima congratulated Khan on Twitter. ’22 years later, after humiliations, hurdles and sacrifices, my son’s father is Pakistan’s next PM. It’s an incredible lesson in tenacity, belief and refusal to accept defeat.”

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