Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Mayor of London candidates outline plans for capital at Jewish hustings

    Labour's Sadiq Khan and Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith were part of the panel at JW3
    Labour's Sadiq Khan and Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith were part of the panel at JW3

    The leading candidates in the race to be the next mayor of London have outlined their views on issues including rising antisemitism and faith schools during the only Jewish hustings of the campaign.

    Front-runners Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative candidate, and Labour's Sadiq Khan were on the five-strong panel at the JW3 centre in north-west London.

    They were joined by Liberal Democrat candidate Caroline Pidgeon, Ukip's Peter Whittle and Jonathan Bartley who was standing in for Green candidate Sian Berry.

    Audience members asked questions relating to anti-Israel activity, including the annual Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) on university campuses and boycott initiatives, as well as the politicians' plans to increase places for pupils hoping to attend Jewish schools.

    Asked how they would act on boycotts of Israel, Mr Goldsmith said his experience of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement had left him "suspicious. It's a cover for something else".

    Mr Khan added: "BDS doesn't work. I'm not in favour. I won't give a running commentary on the Middle East as mayor."

    The strongest condemnation came from Mr Whittle who said that as a gay man he found it "outrageous" that Israel could face boycott calls given its prominence on LGBT rights.

    There was obvious concern in the audience over IAW action at universities.

    Mr Goldsmith said he would "apply pressure to universities. There is a line that's clear. When students cross the line - such as at King's College in London - the authorities need to take a zero-tolerance approach".

    But he warned that social media was one of the biggest threats when it came to antisemitism. Users faced, he said, a "torrent of abuse and hatred".

    Mr Khan said he condemned IAW, adding that freedom of expression was "not an absolute right".

    On education, Ms Pidgeon won applause for saying: "I absolutely support faith schools, as long as they teach the curriculum."

    In his opening statement, Mr Khan said he wanted to be "the best mayor Jewish Londoners have ever had. I know what it's like to be different. I know the importance of our religions to what we eat, to education, to burial, to male circumcision".

    He said it was "unacceptable" that there was antisemitism in his party and said it may be necessary for Labour national executive committee members to be educated about Jew-hatred.

    Asked whether his party leadership was a "help or hindrance" to his campaign, Mr Khan said he was "embarrassed and sorrowful" about antisemitism in the party and said the leadership could have done more to tackle the problem.

    Mr Whittle was loudly applauded for pointing out that Mr Khan had nominated Jeremy Corbyn to be on the Labour leadership ballot.

    Mr Goldsmith said he would work to help specialist schools, improve bus routes to Stamford Hill, and would back the annual Chanucah in the Square event.

    He described his determination to stop London's Jews developing fears like those of the Jewish community in Paris about their future in the face of rising antisemitism.

    Mr Bartley said the Greens were the "party of shalom". He praised Israel's technological developments and said the capital could benefit from similar investment.

    Ms Pidgeon said it had been a "challenging debate but it's time to stop talking and start doing".

    The session was organised by the London Jewish Forum and chaired by Doug Krikler. The LJF launched its manifesto for London at the event.

UK News

Warning over far-right surge as poll shows Britons open to ‘strong ruler who breaks rules’

JC Reporter

Monday, April 8, 2019

Warning over far-right surge as poll shows Britons open to ‘strong ruler who breaks rules’
UK News

'We'll think twice about taking anyone with Jewish name', professor alleged to have warned

JC Reporter

Sunday, March 24, 2019

'We'll think twice about taking anyone with Jewish name', professor alleged to have warned
UK News

Labour activist Walker in 'white millionaire elite' rant against Jewish MP

Lee Harpin

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Labour activist Walker in 'white millionaire elite' rant against Jewish MP
UK News

Jacob Rees-Mogg faces fury over 'disgraceful' promotion of 'antisemitic' German party

Lee Harpin

Monday, April 1, 2019

Jacob Rees-Mogg faces fury over 'disgraceful' promotion of 'antisemitic' German party
UK News

Uri Geller: I'll use telepathy to stop Brexit

Orlando Radice

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Uri Geller: I'll use telepathy to stop Brexit
UK News

Councillor who downplayed antisemitism against Berger accused of bullying women

Lee Harpin

Friday, March 22, 2019

Councillor who downplayed antisemitism against Berger accused of bullying women
UK News

Galloway breached Ofcom rules with pro-Corbyn rant dismissing Labour antisemitism

JC Reporter

Monday, March 25, 2019

Galloway breached Ofcom rules with pro-Corbyn rant dismissing Labour antisemitism
UK News

Impresario Victor Hochhauser, who introduced Russian musical genius to West, dies aged 95

JC Reporter

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Impresario Victor Hochhauser, who introduced Russian musical genius to West, dies aged 95
UK News

Dayan Abraham's departure has been a 'shameful episode', says Chief Rabbi

Simon Rocker

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Dayan Abraham's departure has been a 'shameful episode', says Chief Rabbi