PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s first wife Jemima Goldsmith said on Friday that she was having a terrifying déjà vu as supporters of her former husband’s political rivals started targeting her children with anti-Semitic slurs.
Khan was married to Jemima from 1995 to 2004 and together they have two children, Qasim and Sulaiman. Jemima moved to London after her divorce from Khan where she has been living with her sons ever since.
Jemima, daughter of billionaire James Goldsmith, converted to Islam for her marriage to Khan but “she was constantly attacked as an insincere Muslim, part because of her Jewish grandfather,” according to a 2004 account in The Guardian.
On Friday, she recounted the anti-Semitic attacks she had faced during her stay in Pakistan as she shared the poster of a protest being planned outside her London residence on April 17.
“Protest outside my house, targeting my children, anti-Semitic abuse on social media… It’s almost like I’m back in the 90s Lahore,” Jemima tweeted with #PuranaPakistan, in her first social media reaction after the toppling of Khan’s government.
The protest is being planned by supporters of Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister who has been living in London since 2020 when he flown out of a Pakistani jail for treatment of some undiagnosed ailment. He was serving a jail-term on charges of financial corruption. The April 17 protest appears to be a tit-for-tat to frequent protests outside Sharif’s London residence by PTI supporters.
Replying to Jemima’s tweet, journalist Hamid Mir advised supporters of both politicians to stop these protest. “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones on others,” Mir said while referring to the earlier PTI protest.
Mir’s tweet didn’t go down well with Jemima. “With respect, the difference is that I have got nothing to do with Pakistani politics and neither have my children. They are low- key private individuals who are not even on social media,” she wrote in response to Mir’s tweet.
With respect, The difference is that I have got nothing to do with Pakistani politics and neither have my children. They are low- key private individuals who are not even on social media. https://t.co/REB4u5ncqa
— Jemima Goldsmith (@Jemima_Khan) April 15, 2022
Lord Tariq Ahmad, Minister of State Foreign Commonwealth & Development Affairs, in the cabinet of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, sprang to her defence. “The right to protest is something we protect in the UK – but to target children and resort to anti-Semitic abuse is vile and unacceptable,” tweeted Lord Ahmad, who is also PM’s envoy for preventing sexual violence.
The right to protest is something we protect in the UK – but to target children and resort to antisemitic abuse is vile and unacceptable. https://t.co/A3uOA47LCe
— Lord (Tariq)Ahmad of Wimbledon (@tariqahmadbt) April 15, 2022
“And posting a private home address on social media is surely not legal,” Jemima tweeted while acknowledging Lord Ahmad’s support. “Especially as I have an ongoing problem with stalkers (one arrested at my workplace last week and another who breached his restraining order & is being tried in a few weeks).”
Especially as I have an ongoing problem with stalkers (one arrested at my work place last week and another who breached his restraining order & is being tried in a few weeks)
— Jemima Goldsmith (@Jemima_Khan) April 15, 2022
PTI leader Shireen Mazari also regretted the development. “We are ashamed. PMLN goons if they have the courage they should protest directly against Imran Khan in Pakistan where he lives. Cowards & bigots. Condemnable,” she tweeted.
In a bitter spat with Maryam Nawaz, Sharif’s daughter and political heir, Jemima had said last year, “I left Pakistan in 2004 after a decade of anti-Semitic attacks by the media & politicians (& weekly death threats & protests outside my house). But still it continues.”
My kids are “being raised in the lap of the Jews,” announced @MaryamNSharif today.
I left Pakistan in 2004 after a decade of antisemitic attacks by the media & politicians (& weekly death threats & protests outside my house). But still it continues https://t.co/TGjUxfT1gC
— Jemima Goldsmith (@Jemima_Khan) July 19, 2021
She was reacting to the anti-Semitic tirade of Maryam. “He’s Nawaz Sharif’s grandson, not Goldsmith’s. He’s Nawaz Sharif’s grandson, he’s not being raised in the lap of Jews,” Maryam had said when Khan questioned the lavish lifestyle of her son Junaid Safdar.
In 2010, Khan travelled to the United Kingdom to campaign for Zac Goldsmith, one of Jemima’s brothers. After Khan was ousted from power, Zac lent support to his ex-brother-in-law.
“Imran Khan is a good and decent man, one of the least corruptible politicians on the world stage. I have no doubt he will be returned with a big majority in the upcoming elections,” Zac tweeted.