Amid a reported rise in hate-fueled incidents following the EU Referendum—a vote of divorce that has torn apart the British political system while ripping up worldwide markets—London’s new mayor has called for “a strict zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism.”
On Monday, Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, penned a thoughtful, burning, and pretty personal op-ed in The Jerusalem Post that directly addresses the city’s unjustifiable anti-Semitism problem (he points out the Labour Party) while promising to protect the Jewish community and “stamp out hate crime.” Khan said he signed the Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism pledge, a campaign begun by the AJC.
Sadly, for many people here in London, anti-Semitism is a very present problem. Over the past five years, anti-Semitic offenses in the capital have increased by 153 percent with 267 more offenses in 2015 compared to 2011. There are schools in London that need security simply because they are Jewish faith schools. There are places of worship that require protection simply because they are synagogues. This simply isn’t good enough.
A concerned Khan spoke about how, as an MP for Tooting, he would visit Auschwitz-Birkenau with students, adding that now more than ever, students need to be aware of this “dark” past because anti-Semitism is on the rise again.
I am proud that London is a city where, the vast majority of the time, Jewish people, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, those who are not members of an organized faith, black, white, rich, young, gay, lesbian – don’t simply tolerate each other, but respect, embrace and celebrate each other.
I want to send a message around the world by being the London mayor of Islamic faith who does more to protect Jewish Londoners from anti-Semitism than any mayor in this city’s history. Any attack on Jewish people or the Jewish community should be considered an attack on all of London’s communities and everything we stand for.
Read the rest of Khan’s op-ed here.
Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.