London’s Muslim Mayor Cites Islamophobia in Pledging To Fight Anti-Semitism

(JTA) — London’s newly-elected mayor, Sadiq Khan, endorsed a pledge co-signed by dozens of American and European mayors to fight anti-Semitism.

Khan, a Muslim Labour politician who won the May 5 mayoral election by a broad majority, recently informed the Board of Deputies of British Jews of his decision to join the Mayors United Against Antisemitism initiative, the Board said in a statement published Thursday.

The Board and two other Jewish groups approached Khan to sign the pledge, which has been endorsed by more than 90 mayors from more than 20 countries in Europe, the statement said.

“I am proud to sign the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism pledge and I will encourage other mayors across the country and Europe to do the same, to help send the message far and wide that anti-Semitism is totally unacceptable and can never be justified,” Khan said in the statement sent out by the Board. “Sadly, for many Londoners, antisemitism is a very present problem.  As a British Muslim, I am no stranger to discrimination and prejudice.”

Developed by the American Jewish Committee, or AJC, in July 2015 and launched in Europe later that year, the initiative received its first European cosignatory in Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, followed by her counterparts in Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan and Copenhagen. In all, 150 mayors from 30 countries have signed in Europe and more than 300 mayors from 50 American states also supported the project.

Khan has condemned members of his own party who engaged in hateful rhetoric against Jews and Israel. This vitriol within Labour has exposed the party to close scrutiny in local media, and by Labour members who blame party leader Jeremy Corbyn of either failing to stop it or encouraging it with his endorsement in the past of Hamas and Hezbollah and perceived reluctance to admit Labour has an anti-Semitism problem.

“Antisemitism is one of the greatest challenges facing Jews in London and across the country,”Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Jewish board, said in a statement about Khan’s pledge. Arkush added that “this sets a very positive tone that we hope will be replicated throughout Khan’s mayoralty.”

With recent concerns “expressed about currents within Britain’s Labour Party regarding antisemitism, this is a particularly welcome and important development, since he is such a prominent member of the Labour Party,” AJC Chief Executive Officer David Harris said of Khan.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

London’s Muslim Mayor Cites Islamophobia in Pledging To Fight Anti-Semitism

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close