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Sadiq Khan’s Outreach to London Jews

James Marlow, London

London mayor takes a stand against anti-Jewish harassment

Thursday, October 27, 2016

 Mishpacha image

SPEAK UP Mayor Khan told Mishpacha that it was important for Jewish Londoners, in particular chareidim, to report abusive comments, which may have been brushed aside in the past (Photo: AFP/ImageBank)

I n a specially arranged meeting with London Jewish leaders and the media, Mayor Sadiq Khan said he stands with them against anti-Jewish harassment and urged the Jewish community to promptly report anti-Semitic incidents.

Khan spoke at an event organized by the Jewish Leadership Council in association with the London Jewish Forum. Many leading UK Jewish philanthropists attended, along with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev, and several members of parliament.

Mayor Khan, a Muslim who was elected in May, often speaks about the racism he experiences. Considered a friend to the Jewish community, he has criticized Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for agitating anti-Semitism within party ranks. He told Mishpacha that it was important for Jewish Londoners, in particular chareidim, to report abusive comments, which may have been brushed aside in the past.

The meeting at Shoreditch Town Hall took place following a demonstration organized by Jewish leaders to commemorate a march on Cable Street 80 years ago, in which thousands came out to protest British fascist leader Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists.

Despite a petition signed in 1936 by more than 100,000 people to stop the march, the British Home Office allowed the 3000 fascists to demonstrate. As the anti-fascist groups built barricades and blocked roads, British citizens opposed to the fascists threw rubbish, rotten vegetables, and the contents of chamber pots at demonstrators. Mosley’s men fought back with sticks, rocks, chair legs, and other improvised weapons.

Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth, who has received more than 25,000 anti-Jewish messages this year alone, and who was assigned a body guard at the Labour Party Conference earlier this month, said: “The Home Office did not care about stopping the demonstration in the heart of the Jewish community and I am proud to say my grandmother was one of those who threw tomatoes from her window.”

The mayor, who joked that he often shares a stage with Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, told Mishpacha that he would like to visit Israel while in office. “[Former London mayor] Boris Johnson made a trip there and I too would like to boost trade between our countries.” Sadiq Khan has worked hard to be a mayor for all Londoners and all communities. After his election in May, he visited the Holocaust Memorial, an act for which he was roundly criticized, with some calling him a “Zionist” and others telling him he had forsaken the Palestinians.

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