London mayoral candidate blasts anti-Semitism

Sadiq Khan calls on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to be trained about anti-Semitism in order to crack down on it within the party.

Ben Ariel ,

Labour Party candidate for Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan
Labour Party candidate for Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has criticized Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and said he should be “trained about what anti-Semitism is” in order to crack down on it within his party, Newsweek reported Wednesday.

Khan, the minister for Tooting in south London, said the Labour party’s failure to tackle anti-Jewish sentiment was “unacceptable”. The comments came in a speech Tuesday night organized by Jewish News and the London Jewish Forum.

"If it needs senior members, including members of the NEC (National Executive Committee), of my party to be trained about what anti-Semitism is, then so be it,” Khan said, according to Newsweek.

"I said from the outset, I'm embarrassed, I'm sorrowful about anti-Semitism in my party,” he added. I think the Labour leadership could have taken a tougher stance—and should have taken a tougher stance.”

"There is no hierarchy when it comes to racism—racism is racism," added Khan.

The Labour party in Britain has come under continuous criticism due to the anti-Semitic comments by its members.

In March, Vicki Kirby, a party organizer banned for calling Hitler “a Zionist god” and ridiculing Jews for having “big noses," was readmitted into the party.

Last week Bob Campbell, a party activist, was criticized for suggesting that Israel was behind the ISIS terror organization.

Even Labour Party chief Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire for comments in which he called the Hezbollah and Hamas organizations his “friends."

Most recently a former mayor of Bradford and Labour member, Khadim Hussain, posted comments on Facebook decrying Holocaust education and alleging that Israel had armed ISIS.

Even Khan has come under fire after it was revealed that he pushed for sanctions against the State of Israel in the past despite his claims that he opposes the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Khan said in his speech Tuesday that the use of the term “Zio” had become a way to attack Jews in the say way the term “homo” is used as a slight on gay people.

“That sort of education is needed in my party, I'm not proud to say,” he said, according to Newsweek. “That is the state we have reached.

“Anti-Semitism has risen by 60 per cent over the past 12 months. It's not just a problem for the Jewish community, it is a problem for society,” he continued. "If there's anti-Semitism in our society, there's a problem with society. That is why it is so important for it to be a mainstream issue.”

Khan, who is a slim favorite to triumph in the May poll, said he wanted to be a unifying mayor for all of London if elected.

"I know what it is like to suffer hate crime because of your ethnicity, your religion," he added.

On Sunday, Labour leader and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell told his fellow party members that the time had come to take the problem of anti-Semitism within Labour seriously.

“As soon as Jewish people start telling us there is anti-Semitism in our party, we’ve got to sit up and listen,” McDonnell told BBC, calling for members expressing anti-Semitic views to be ousted from the party.