Lib Dem councillor sparks fury after refusing to address antisemitism concerns

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Lib Dem councillor sparks fury after refusing to address antisemitism concerns

Birmingham City councillor Ayoub Khan refuses to answer concerns put to him that he considers antisemitism awareness training 'is beneath you'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Birmingham City Lib Dem councillor Ayoub Khan
Birmingham City Lib Dem councillor Ayoub Khan

A Liberal Democrat councillor exposed by Jewish News for questioning evidence that Hamas carried out atrocities in Israel on October 7th has sparked renewed anger after refusing to confirm he has undertaken antisemitism awareness training for linking the Jewish state to the Nazis. 

Birmingham City councillor Ayoub Khan was asked by Labour’s Lee Marsham at a meeting of the city council this week if he considered antisemitism awareness training “is beneath you.”

While Khan faced a second question from a Labour councillor urging him to answer the question on whether he had “taken up the antisemitism awareness offered.”

In a speech at the council meeting Khan had said:”Of course I now stand here delivering this speech. There will be some saying ‘Councillor Khan antisemite. His speech antisemitic’.

“How dare you make such a remark. I will be prepared to scrutinise and hold any government or organisation.”

Labour councillor Marsham told Jewish News:”I call on Ed Davey and Roger Harmer to stand up and take action against Cllr Khan for his refusal to undertake antisemitism awareness training. His comments are wholly unacceptable.”

TikTok post by Birmingham City councillor Ayoub Khan,

In October, after Khan had said he “has a problem with the credibility” of accounts detailing the massacre carried out at by Hamas, included at a kibbutz in southern Israel , a spokesperson for the Lib Dems claimed: “Councillor Khan has recognised that his comments were offensive.

“He has apologised and deleted his TikToks, and agreed to undergo anti-semitism training,” the spokesperson said.

“Liberal Democrats utterly condemn the terrorist atrocities committed by Hamas on 7 October.”

But his conduct this week showed little sign of regret by the councillor, who is a criminal barrister by profession.

During last Tuesday’s meeting, instead of attempting to answer either question put to him, the Aston ward councillor proceeded to read out statistics on civilian casualties in Gaza as a result of Israel’s war on Hamas in response to the October 7th massacre.

When Khan then continued to read out a report on a 12 year-old girl who was injured in Gaza, Lord Mayor Chaman Lal intervened, urging him to answer the questions put to him in the chamber.

He claimed “the citizens of Birmingham” were more concerned with hearing about the “atrocities” than the questions “being put to me.”

As Khan continued without responding, many councillors in the meeting began to raise objections, and he was told to sit down.

In a move that mirrored his conduct last year when the Gaza conflict erupted , Khan again used the TikTok platform to attack suggestions he was an “antisemite”, but without confirmation he had undergone awareness training.”

He ended the video saying:”Despite the unjustified protestations made by Labour councillors or anyone else,  I want to stand on the right side of history.

“The Palestinian cause is a just cause  and I want to stand on the right side of history.  Free Palestine.”

In comments posted beneath his TikTok video Khan responded a claim that the two Labour councillors who has quizzed him were “issnotreal’s (sic) payroll” by writing:”Certainly the residents in their ward see what they stand for!!”

Khan also responded with “lol” to a post that said ironically of antisemitism training “Does that involve taking them your bank details and wire money to your account….”

The Lib Dem councillor also responded to a claim that if “the antisemitism card” and “doesn’t work, the Holocaust  gets brought up for good measure” by writing”They have diluted the word to meaningless.”

A Lib Dem spokesperson said: “A complaint against Ayoub Khan is currently being assessed under the party’s independent complaints process. While this is ongoing and until it is fully concluded it is not possible to comment further.”

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