A British politician who has been accused of anti-Semitism for his remarks about the “Jewish lobby” will head to Pennsylvania next month for a private fundraiser for Republican Senate candidate Lou Barletta, The Citizens’ Voice, a local newspaper, reported Thursday.
Nigel Farage, an ally of Donald Trump who was one of the biggest backers of Brexit, will help raise money for Barletta, a congressman from Hazleton, Pennsylvania who is trying to unseat incumbent Democrat Sen. Bob Casey.
Farage said on his radio show last November that while the Jewish population in America is quite small, “in terms of influence it’s quite big.” He cited a caller who “makes the point that there are other, very powerful foreign lobbies in the United States of America, and the Jewish lobby, with its links with the Israeli government, is one of those strong voices.”
His remark was condemned at the time by Jewish advocates in the U.K. and U.S. like Anti-Defamation League president Jonathan Greenblatt, who said the comment was “fuel for white supremacists” and “plays into deep-seated anti-Semitic tropes about supposed Jewish control of government.”
Barletta came under fire earlier this year after it was revealed that had had given an interview in 2006 to a publication that peddles anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial. Barletta’s spokesman said that his small staff at the time prevented him from properly vetting interview requests.
“If Congressman Barletta believes that anti-Semitism has no place in our politics, why does he continue to associate with right-wing extremists who deny the Holocaust or rant about the ‘Jewish lobby’ in America?” Pennsylvania Democratic Party chairwoman Nancy Patton Mills said in a statement. “It’s outrageous and unacceptable. The Barletta campaign must cancel their fundraiser with Nigel Farage and apologize for defending his anti-Semitic comments.”
Barletta campaign spokesman David Jackson wrote in an email to the Voice that Farage is a friend of one of the event’s hosts.
“Congressman Barletta is fortunate to have supporters all over Pennsylvania who are willing to host events for his U.S. Senate campaign,” Jackson said. “Congressman Barletta has not met Mr. Farage, nor has Mr. Farage donated to the campaign because, as a British citizen, he cannot.” He confirmed to Penn Live that Barletta would attend the event next month.