The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan last night told a packed Board of Deputies of British Jews annual dinner that “the Labour leadership needs to make a concerted effort to rebuild the relationship with the Jewish community”.
Mr Khan was speaking at a central London location to an audience of 450, including Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, actor Tracy-Ann Oberman, parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, ambassadors, representatives of different faiths and the Jewish community’s senior rabbinic and lay leadership, including Orthodox, Reform, Liberal, Masorti, Sephardi and Charedi.
The Mayor of London said, “It pains me to my core when I hear that many Jewish people now feel that a party that would normally be their natural home in our democratic process have been made to feel that it doesn’t have their best interests at heart. And even worse, Labour looks reluctant to tackle antisemitism from within the party itself. This simply is not good enough”.
He added: “I have said it before and I will say it again tonight. The Labour Party has been far too slow to act. Labour should have adopted the full International definition of antisemitism, right from the beginning, no ifs, no buts.”
In her speech, Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl paid tribute to the Labour MPs who have been subjected to what Mr Khan described as “shocking abuse”. In a message to Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, she said: “You know exactly what you need to do. You know because we have told you time and time again: Enough of your tolerance for hatred against our community; Kick out the racists from your party; Disown your ‘friendships’ with terrorists and Holocaust deniers. Mr Corbyn: Enough is Enough”.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick told the audience that she was “proud to protect the UK’s Jewish community”.
The dinner was also addressed by European Jewish Congress President Dr Moshe Kantor, Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev, Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron and Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb. Among the ambassadors present was the Iraqi Ambassador, Dr Salih Husain Ali, attending what is believed to be his first Jewish communal event.
Photo: John Rifkin
Watch Sadiq Khan’s speech
Watch Marie van der Zyl’s speech
Watch Cressida Dick’s speech