Comments by Nigel Farage calling Sadiq Khan a “hypocrite” for speaking out against immigration bans while hosting diplomats from countries that refuse to admit Israelis, have been labelled “bizarre” by a Middle East expert.
The Mayor of London vocally denounced Donald Trump’s executive order that barred people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US.
Writing in the Evening Standard, he said: “Every country has the right to set its own immigration policies but this ban is both discriminatory and counter-productive.
“It will see the US turn its back on its obligation to refugees fleeing from violence and persecution — and it will play straight into the hands of the terrorists and extremists who seek to divide and harm our great nations.
“I fear it will be used to act as a recruiting sergeant for so-called IS and other like-minded groups.”
Khan last night reiterated his point in front of diplomats from around the world including 11 countries that do not allow Israeli citizens in.
Farage pounced on the speech as evidence of his “hypocrisy”.
He spoke out again on his radio show on Wednesday night, saying: “Khan is attending a social reception where he’s going to meet representatives of 11 states that ban Israeli Jews and he has no problem with that.
“I can’t work it out.”
But the comparison between Trump’s Muslim refugee ban and that in place amongst Israel and other Middle Eastern countries is an uneven one.
Michael Stephens, research fellow for Middle East studies at the Royal United Services Institute, told The Huffington Post UK: “Israel doesn’t exactly let them in either... The Israelis won’t let a Lebanese person in or a Saudi unless there’s a specific reason.
“Lebanon and Israel are at war with each other. There’s a state of war that’s existed between those two countries, the same that’s existed with Iraq, the same technically with Saudi Arabia, although they seem to get on like a house on fire these days.
“I don’t think it’s really fair or reasonable for Nigel Farage to take out of context the notion that a state in the Middle East, which is at war with other Middle Eastern states, and has reciprocal travel bans, is the same as what the United States is doing.”
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
Israel is technically still at war with Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Algeria and Saudi Arabia as a result of no peace treaties being signed between the countries after various wars last century dating back to the War of Independence in 1947.
Israel does not have diplomatic relations with the rest of the countries listed as they do not officially recognise the State of Israel.
Stephens added: “There are long-standing grievances that have gone back 75, 80 years. You can’t just suddenly step into that and say that what’s happened in 2017 is the same as what happened in 1947.
“2017 has become the age of trite comparisons and cheap political analysis that suit the Far Left, the Far Right or whoever. I tend to think Nigel Farage sympathises with Donald Trump so he’ll try to find a reason for explaining the ‘hypocrisy’.
“If there is hypocrisy here, I can’t see where that charge can be labelled. For Farage to try to find equivalency is bizarre to me because as somebody who actually has to do this in my daily work life, I see the restrictions of both sides.”