A candidate for British parliament representing the Conservative Party said several years ago that local Jews who go to Israel “have come back as extremists – as people that are brainwashed.”
Bashir apologized for his remarks Monday, expressing “deep regret” and adding they were “born from personal experience.”
In a 2014 speech delivered to the European Parliament in Brussels, Amjad Bashir, who is running for parliament in a Leeds constituency, said, “Young men are going over from England where I come from – people of the Jewish faith who my grandchildren have grown up with as decent young men,” according to a report Monday by The Jewish Chronicle.
“They will not listen to reason. There is something very peculiar and wrong going on in Israel,” added Bashir, at the time a member of the European Parliament, blaming “rabbis and politicians.”
“I deeply regret the comments I made around brainwashing — this was born from a personal experience but it was completely wrong and I apologize unreservedly for it,” he told the Jewish Chronicle.
The elections in Britain are set for December 12.
On Sunday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated his opposition to anti-Semitism in a letter to Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog. “The safety of Jewish people is a top priority for the UK Government,” he wrote.
Separately, a candidate for parliament for Labour, which has been dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism, reportedly co-managed a group on Facebook that coached Holocaust deniers and other purveyors of hate speech about Israel and Jews on how to conduct themselves when dealing with disciplinary action by the party, the Daily Mail reported Saturday.
The candidate, Maria Carroll of Wales, told the paper she was not aware of the hate speech or she “would have immediately condemned them.”