London Mayor Sadiq Khan poses with Chief Rabbi and Israeli envoy

Off-topic, except for Londoners, for whom this picture may prove iconic.

The first Moslem Mayor of London chose as his first official engagement a Holocaust commemoration ceremony.

He promised a policy of ‘zero tolerance towards antisemitism’ and posed for photos with Chief Rabbi Mirvis and the new Israeli ambassador, Mark Regev.

More here.

sadiq khan chief rabbi

photo: JC/John Rifkin

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  • Don’t know about UK, but on the other side of the Atlantic the phrase “zero tolerance” has become such a misused and abused cliche during last few decades that it is very hard to take it seriously anymore.

    • Yes. I wonder if he will also be pressing for a “zero tolerance” approach to FGM – a few successful prosecutions would be a good start.

      Posing for photographs is easy. Pressing for changes that are guaranteed to upset certain groups is not.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31883674

      • (Facepalm) starting prosecutions is not within the (limited) powers of the Mayor of London.

        Also, FGM is a monstruosity practiced mainly in African countries, most, but not all, of them beng also Muslim countries. But most non-African Muslim countries do not practice FGM. So I do not understand why Mayor Khan, who is from pakistani origins, should be held liable for the (alleged) lenity of public authorities towards FGM. Even guilt by association won’t work here.

        • Didn’t say he was liable for it, guilty in any way, or that he could initiate prosecutions, I said he could PRESS for it.

          I’m sure he’ll be involved in, and commenting on, many things that he’s not directly involved with.

          Somebody needs to have the balls to speak up about difficult issues.

          • Point taken, but you still have not answered mine. Why Mayor Khan, of ALL people, should be particularly committed to this subject? Why ask him, and not other politicians, to be particularly severe with FGM?

            I already know your answer, of course: it’s because he is muslim, isn’t it? If I follow you, Muslims bear a special responsibility to denounce FGM. This is a fallacy, even more so because FGM is practiced in countries (and by people from such countries) Mayor Khan has nothing to do with.

          • Mathieu:

            I think he’s probably in a better position to speak up against it than a Buddhist, a Seventh-Day Adventist or a trombone player in the Salvation Army.

            You don’t like that? Tough. I’m not going to walk on eggshells because you apparently can’t accept that Islam might be directly or indirectly connected with anything undesirable.

            Whilst he’s at it, he could also speak up about the rape of 1400 girls in Rotherham and elsewhere – something else which I’m sure is not even remotely connected with Islam.

          • OK, forget about guilt by association. Now we have “special responsibility to denounce” by association. Not better.

            So, as a Christian (of sorts), I guess I have a special responsibility to denounce Breivik and pedophilia in the Church, and so on.

            Everybody should denounce FGM, Breivik, pedophilia, etc. even trombone players in the salvation army, regardless of their religion.

            FYI, Christians, animists, and even Jews (in some parts of Ethiopia) practice FGM. There is a well documented UNICEF report about this.

  • From his sharing platforms with and endorsing radical,antisemitic,Israel hating muslims in the past,I don’t buy it…

    • You’ve been reading to much right-wing media. The most amusing element of the mayoral election was the discovery that the so-called extremist that he was said to be friends with had previously shared a platform with Zac Goldsmith and actively supported the Conservative party…

  • Wonderful result for not just London but for the rest of Europe as the first Muslim Mayor. I am so pleased. A great result as a son of a Pakistani bus driver. How lovely is that when London is one of the most integrated of cities.

    • First Muslim Mayor of London, of course – not the first Muslim mayor of a major UK or European city. Nonetheless, welcome news.

      • Out of interest. which other major city has had a Muslim Mayor in England then? Manchester perhaps? I can’t remember. I thought he was the first European Muslim Mayor not just the London one. We have a mayor here of Bradford but it’s hardly a major or significant post in comparison. Doesn’t have much power, and gets changed every year. Don’t even know who he or she may be.

    • Religious or racial background should be entirely irrelevant.

      I spent some time in Londonistan in 2014 and was struck how British it was – combining the good and the bad aspects.

  • Well, I welcome this as a generous and intelligent first gesture. It is about time someone – with a platfom of responsibility such as this – did something positive.

  • It would be much more in place to declare “zero tolerance” on rabid imams preaching hate while living here on social security, no-go areas, violent muslim youths raping and beating people, uncontrollable immigration and all the other blessings brought upon us by his “brothers”. Who gives a f… about his posing with some Israelis? Historically, there has never been much enmity between Pakistan and Israel, so it’s not that hard for him to appear friendly. We have yet to see an arab who’d do the same.

    • But London Jews are not Israelis – many have never been there or have any intention of going there. I was brought up with them in the East End of London, and they were terrific and so family minded as well, but they weren’t Israelis. They were East Enders like myself. I also sang as a Christian in synagogues for many years, and here now living in West Yorkshire, paying my council tax to Bradford – a city that people down south have such a problem with because of it’s image. The Jews were there, the Irish and now the Pakistanis and the Polish.

      I saw the news last night and there he was with the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, who is very astute and wise man, who I listen to, as I did with Jonathan Sacs, on Radio 4. The majority of London Jews themselves said it was a wonderful gesture that he made by being there, rather than just withdraw. There has to be a start. You can’t keep knocking anything that is put in place, and have respect for those who voted Sadiq Khan in. He will be a wonderful Mayor for us all with no axe to grind.

      Wonder if Zac Goldsmith had been elected whether it would have been allowed to home in on his Jewish background in the way – I doubt it as we would probably have been accused of being anti-Semitic.

      • “a city that people down south have such a problem with because of it’s image.”

        A few people “up North” have a problem with it as well, not because of its image but because of its problems. Ray Honeyford identified them years ago but nobody listened.

        BTW, the Polish have been there quite a while as DPs, along with Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians. Long before that, the area known as “Little Germany” was created by wool merchants, many Jewish, from Germany. Delius was born there.

  • The anti-semitism campaign is a quick, easy win with a great photo opportunity.

    I agree with Mike above – let’s see SK work on real issues. Rabid Imans and so on….

  • I should think his gesture was both genuine, based on his reputation, and necessary. The problems in the Labour Party, which he represents, with accusations of anti-Semitism in the past few weeks — notably by man who last held his post for the same party — really necessitated an early and visible declaration from the new Mayor. He has flown his colours. W will see how they unfurl over the course of time.

    If it’s any inspiration, we have a Muslim Mayor in Calgary, in Canada, which is in previously deeply conservative, religious-right-ish, oilpatch province Alberta. He is considered to be a Liberal (at least by the Liberals, who have courted him). He is also young, single and very, very bright, with a great sense of humour. And he is without a doubt the most effective mayor we have seen in Canada in many a year. His leadership during the Calgary floods was reminiscent of Giuliani after 9/11 — he was always where he was needed, and making a contribution wherever he was. If London has someone half as good in Sadiq Khan, then they are very lucky indeed.

    And of course they are lucky to be spared that blob of confusion who ran against him. It’s a win/win.

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