Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London seeking to reclaim his post, used language that was nearly “classic anti-Semitism” in a meeting with the city’s Jewish community leaders, the leaders said.
Livingstone, of the Labour Party, said the Jewish community would not vote for him because “the Jewish community is rich,” according to a letter about the March 1 meeting from the leaders to party leader Ed Miliband. The letter was obtained by the Jewish Chronicle of London.
Livingstone met with the Jewish leaders to discuss his support of radical Muslim cleric Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi and his accepting money from Iranian state broadcaster Press TV.
“Ken, towards the end of the meeting, stated that he did not expect the Jewish community to vote Labour as votes for the left are inversely proportional to wealth levels, and suggested that as the Jewish community is rich, we simply wouldn’t vote for him,” the leaders wrote to Miliband, who is Jewish.
They also said that Livingstone had used the words Zionist, Jewish and Israeli interchangeably and “in a pejorative manner.”
Livingstone, a frequent critic of Israel, told a London radio station on Thursday that his words were misinterpreted.
The letter also said that Jewish Labour supporters were finding it “harder and harder to consider voting for Ken.”
Jewish leaders are scheduled to meet with Miliband later this month.