Mayor of London signs pledge to take action against anti-Semitism

26 May 2016

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has joined Mayors from across Europe and the United States in signing a pledge to take action against anti-Semitism in their communities.

The pledge, which has been signed by more than 150 Mayors from 30 countries in Europe, is part of the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism initiative, originally developed by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in July 2015 and launched in Europe later that year. The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, was the first European Mayor to sign the pledge, followed by those from Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan and Copenhagen. 300 Mayors from all 50 American states also supported the project.

The Mayor, whose first official engagement was to join Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and thousands of Londoners from the Jewish community for Yom HaShoah at the Copthall Stadium, has consistently stated his zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism and all hate crime. As an MP he joined local students on a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with the Holocaust Educational Trust. As Mayor, he has promised to support police officers with the resources and training they need to investigate hate crime fully, and to promote neighbourhood police teams that understand and reflect the communities they serve. He will also work with Transport for London and the British Transport Police to protect people on public transport from hate crime.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Sadly, for many Londoners, anti-Semitism is a very present problem.  As a British Muslim, I am no stranger to discrimination and prejudice. That’s why, as Mayor for all Londoners, I am determined to fight racism in all its forms and will make challenging hate crime a priority. I am proud to sign the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism pledge and I will encourage other Mayors across the country and Europe to do the same, to help send the message far and wide that anti-Semitism is totally unacceptable and can never be justified.”

Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “Anti-Semitism is one of the greatest challenges facing Jews in London and across the country. Just two weeks into the job, Sadiq Khan has signed up to AJC’s campaign against anti-Semitism. Taken together with his attendance at the Yom HaShoah Holocaust commemoration event, this sets a very positive tone that we hope will be replicated throughout his mayoralty. We also thank Barnet and Camden Assembly Member Andrew Dismore for his particular role in championing this initiative in City Hall.”

Joe Vinson, Director of the London Jewish Forum said: “It is vital that City Hall plays a leading role in challenging and defeating anti-Semitism across London, and we’re delighted that Sadiq Khan as the new Mayor of London will continue to ensure that it remains a priority in the capital.”

David Delew, Chief Executive of Community Security Trust (CST), a British charity working with the Jewish community in the UK said: “CST warmly welcomes Sadiq Khan signing this AJC initiative against anti-Semitism, in partnership with other European and US Mayors. It shows that the fight against anti-Semitism goes across political parties and boundaries, and CST looks forward to working further with Mayor Khan and his team, on tackling anti-Semitism and strengthening Jewish morale.”

David Harris, Chief Executive Officer of the American Jewish Committee, said: "The Mayor's support for this initiative is special for three reasons. First, as Mayor, he has demonstrated continuity in opposition to all forms of anti-Semitism, as his predecessor Boris Johnson was also a signatory. Second, with all the recent concerns expressed about currents within Britain's Labour Party regarding anti-Semitism, this is a particularly welcome and important development, since he is such a prominent member of the Labour Party. And third, Sadiq Khan is the first mayor of the Muslim faith of a major Western capital. Thus, his signature sends a very powerful message not only to the London Jewish community, but well beyond, about potential friendship, support and cooperation."