Sadiq Khan enjoys 'positive walkabout' in Golders Green


Labour’s London Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan enjoyed an amicable walkabout around Golders Green today as supporters sought to put recent tensions between the party and the Jewish community in the background.

Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush predicted last month that the problem of antisemitism within Labour would have an impact on Mr Khan’s campaign – although he was careful to say that the MP was a good candidate who had done what he could to distance himself from the far-left.

A group of more than 30 activists, mostly from the Jewish Labour Movement, handed out leaflets as they staged a show of support in the heart of the Jewish community.

While one elderly man took him to task over the party’s attitude towards Israel, one JLM member said he had anticipated that Mr Khan would have received more stick. “It’s been a positive walkabout,” the JLM activist said.

Mr Khan appeared at ease as he posed for a photo with seven-year-old Sunday footballer Joshua Phillips, discussed the merits of kosher chickens in Menachem’s butchers, bought a tuna bagel in Carmelli’s and observed trolleys piled with Pesach goods in Kosher Kingdom.

“I have not been surprised at all by the warmth and generosity that Londoners of Jewish faith have received me by,” Mr Khan said.

“I think we can be a beacon for the rest of the world. We can show the world how people of different backgrounds, different faiths can work together closely.”

The Labour leadership ought to be loud and clear that anyone with antisemitic views “should be kicked out of the party,” he said.

“It breaks my heart that there is antisemitism not just in our city but amongst one or two members of the Labour party. There should be zero tolerance towards antisemitism.”

He said that he did “not feel right that there are Londoners who feel the Labour party is not for them because they are Jewish. That is not acceptable.”

Former Board of Deputies vice-president Laura Marks said that while many in the Jewish community felt fearful of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, she believed that Mr Khan would “do a good job” as Mayor.

He understood the issues faced by religious minorities living in London, she said. “He gets us.”

JLM co-vice chairman Sarah Sackman- who also joined the walkabout despite giving birth to her first daughter three weeks ago – said that Mr Khan had “made a remarkable effort to reach out to different sections of the Jewish community and listen to their concerns.

“Our view is that we need to engage – like Sadiq is doing today – and seek reform from within rather than abandon ship.”

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