Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis labelled Donald Trump a “racist” in an interview on BBC radio this morning, as well as saying he was “nervous” and “concerned” about Mr Trump’s election as president of the United States.
The Chief Rabbi, who was speaking to Emma Barnett on her BBC Radio Five Live show, said Mr Trump “unfortunately is a racist, somebody who deeply offended many people.
“However, Trump as president hopefully will be a different character, and time will tell what the Trump presidency will be about."
He continued: “I would stress that the Trump presidency is not going to be like what we’ve seen from Trump in the lead up to his election.
“Unfortunately, though, as a candidate he has set a tone which has presented a danger to our society, and if he continues with that tone as president, then it’s going to be all the more dangerous.”
Rabbi Mirvis also spoke about matters closer to home, expressing concern at the lack of progress from the Labour Party on dealing with antisemitism in its ranks.
“The Home Affairs select committee unanimously, within their cross-party group, identified the fact that within Labour there is insufficient action being shown by the leadership,” he said.“We’re still waiting for implementation of some of the aspects of the Chakrabarti report, and we’re still waiting to see genuine evidence that the Labour party leadership is taking antisemitism seriously.
“A serious number of members of the party were suspended, so far nothing’s been happening. All types of world events have been taking place – this is still on the boil, it is still a very serious matter, and we would like to see the issue being dealt with very effectively.”
The Chief Rabbi stressed that the problem of antisemitism is likely to exist in all political parties. However, he said: “It's just that in the Labour Party currently, it is not being tackled sufficiently and we’re waiting to see what the leadership is going to be doing and unfortunately we’re waiting and waiting.
When asked whether he thought Ken Livingstone should be banned permanently from the Labour Party, Rabbi Mirvis replied: “I think he should.”
Mr Livingstone was suspended from in April after saying that Hitler had supported Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”.
He also talked about a “well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticises Israel policy as antisemitic”.