‘Still it Continues’: Jewish Former Wife of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Protests Ongoing Antisemitic Abuse

Jemima Goldsmith, former wife of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, photographed in central London in 2010. Photo: Reuters/Paul Hackett.

The Jewish former wife of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has disclosed that she left the country in 2004 “after a decade of antisemitic attacks by the media & politicians (& weekly death threats & protests outside my house).”

Writing on Twitter, Jemima Goldsmith then added pointedly: “But still it continues.”

Goldsmith was responding to a post by Maryam Nawaz Sharif — daughter of former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif — claiming that the two children she shares with former husband Khan were “being raised in the lap of the Jews.”

Sharif’s antisemitic barb followed a speech given by Imran Khan over the weekend in which he mocked bitter rival Nawaz Sharif — who has been convicted in the past on corruption charges by courts in Pakistan — for attending a polo match in the UK in which his grandson was playing.

“The poor should go to jail and the powerful get NROs (National Reconciliation Ordinance) and go park themselves abroad and watch their grandson’s polo match,” Khan declared in his address in Kashmir.

“I’ve met so many Kashmiris in London and Manchester, ask them what kind of person can play polo there,” Khan added disdainfully. “They will tell you it’s a king’s sport! You need a lot of money to keep a horse and play polo. So tell us where this dear grandson got this money from. It’s your money!”

Khan’s remarks about her son and her father infuriated Maryam Sharif. “I didn’t want to bring children into it, but the way you’re talking, you’re going to get a befitting reply,” she wrote on Twitter on Monday.

“[My son Junaid is] Nawaz Sharif’s grandson, not Goldsmith’s,” she continued, referring to Jemima Goldsmith’s late father, the Anglo-French tycoon Sir James Goldsmith. Appealing to the deep-seated antisemitism in Pakistan, she then stated: “He’s Nawaz Sharif’s grandson, he’s not being raised in the lap of Jews.”

After Goldsmith publicly called out her antisemitism, Sharif separately posted a tweet blaming Imran Khan for her outburst.

“I have absolutely no interest in you, your sons or your personal lives because I have better things to do and say but if your ex drags in families of others out of spite, others will have nastier things to say,” she told Goldsmith. “You have only your ex to blame.”

An editorial in the Pakistani newspaper Images earlier this week expressed support for Goldsmith and disgust with Sharif’s comments.

“Jemima Goldsmith (formerly Khan) has been subjected to so much hate from our people,” the paper asserted. “As a mother, and as a woman, Maryam should know better than to go after another — and that too knowing full well how Jemima has been targeted personally for her ties to Judaism.”

The editorial went on: “We can’t even begin to explain how uncalled for your ‘raised in the lap of Jews’ comment was. If Imran Khan is everything you say he is, then be better. Why are you sinking to this level to one up him? Antisemitism or any kind of hate for any religion has no place in politics, and Maryam Nawaz should know that.”

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Author: Ben Cohen

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