Recent events have sadly allowed people to ask whether the Labour Party has a problem with antisemitism.
No ifs, not buts: antisemitism has no place in the party. As part of the Jewish Labour Movement, I’m striving to make sure that is the case and that Jewish Labour members know they have a place in the party.
Sadly this has been parlayed by some into questioning the attitude of Labour’s Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan to the Jewish community.
Of course, it serves the Tories’ purposes for some of this mud to be thrown.
But the truth is, time and time again, Sadiq has demonstrated why Jewish Londoners should be very comfortable voting for him.
This morning, in a serious speech about security, policing and extremism, he proved he was deadly serious about “taking the fight” to extremists:
The appalling reality is that a growing number of people in London are being indoctrinated and radicalised into a perverse and disgusting ideology. Extremists are exploiting the young, the vulnerable and the weak…
Extremism is a cancer eating away at our society and it is a problem that is getting worse. Neither the Government, nor our wider society are doing enough to tackle extremism and radicalisation.
I know, from spending time with Sadiq as a London Assembly candidate visiting organisations like CST, that he has a deep commitment to supporting our community.
Speaking at UJS conference last year, he praised British Jews as a “shining example of how integration can succeed – an example we must learn from”.
In truth, he’s gone above and beyond in his efforts to reach out to, learn about London’s Jews – not just our concerns, but positive celebrations too, like Chanukkah in the Square and Mitzvah Day.
Sadiq has set out his clear opposition to BDS in the Jewish Chronicle. Having studied the evidence he now understands that boycotts, divestments and sanctions won’t help achieve peace, saying that “we must not turn our face against Israel”.
And when speaking out against extremism, he’s been clear in his intolerance of anti-Semitism, anywhere in society.
As he said today, he has seen the “hatred and venom” of extremists close up. He and his family have been targeted because of his mainstream British views, including death threats.
So what you won’t read in the smear articles is how personally committed Sadiq is to tackling the cancer of extremism – and the impact this has had on him personally.
Nevertheless, he’s spoken out because it’s the right thing to do.
Sadiq has made it clear that he won’t be anyone’s patsy and that he’ll stand up for Londoners against anyone who threatens their interest.
Of course, the real reason Jewish Londoners should vote for Sadiq are the same reasons any Londoner should. The capital is at a crossroads, with ordinary people being priced out of our city. Sadiq has a manifesto packed full of policies to tackle the housing crisis, keep transport costs affordable, and make London more safe and secure.
He’s committed to being the most pro-business Mayor ever – because he knows a prosperous, growing economy is the only way to ensure London remains a place of opportunity, for us and our children.
At the heart of Sadiq’s campaign message, is his desire to be a Mayor for all Londoners. That certainly includes the capital’s Jewish community.
This post was originally published on Mike Katz's blog which can be viewed at http://www.mikekatz.org/a-mayor-for-all-londoners/
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