Conflict in the Middle East can never justify antisemitism

Image from a video of the Palestine car convoy driving along Finchley Road, reportedly shouting antisemitic slurs at passersby, at the height of the war between Israel and Hamas in 2021. (Credit: Jewish News)
Image from a video of the Palestine car convoy driving along Finchley Road, reportedly shouting antisemitic slurs at passersby, at the height of the war between Israel and Hamas in 2021. (Credit: Jewish News)

The shocking figures released by the Community Security Trust (CST), which show that anti-Jewish hate incidents are at record levels in London and across Britain, are deeply disturbing and a stain on our society.

They show in stark terms that as a city – and as a country – we simply must be doing far more to root out the poisonous antisemitic attitudes that give rise to this kind of dangerous hatred on our streets.

Ever since I was elected Mayor, I’ve instructed the Metropolitan Police to take a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism.

Perpetrators of sickening hate crimes should always face the full force of the law.

But I recognise these sobering – and frankly shameful – statistics demonstrate that we need to redouble our efforts to stamp out antisemitism whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head.

Jewish Londoners and Jewish Brits must be able to live, work and worship free from fear or intimidation.

No one in our Jewish communities should be abused, harassed or face violence while they walk their kids to school or make the trip to or from their local synagogue.

That’s why I’ll continue to be vocal in calling out antisemitism, standing shoulder to shoulder with our Jewish brothers and sisters, ensuring proper support for victims, as well as holding the Met to account to make sure they’re treating these incidents with the seriousness they demand.

I’ll also continue investing record sums from City Hall in those grassroots organisations and civil society groups that do such amazing work to tackle hate, break down barriers and bring our communities together.

I’m proud of the strong and long-standing relationship my office has with the CST. And I’m committed to continuing to work together to support and protect London’s Jewish communities, and to drive antisemitism out of our city once and for all.

As the CST’s report shows, conflict or heightened tensions in the Middle East often lead to a spike in antisemitic incidents here in Britain.

This is completely unacceptable.

Events that occur overseas should never be used as an excuse to divide London’s communities or to whip up hatred against Jewish people.

Concerted action to address and overcome the evil of antisemitism is the only way forward.

As I said in my speech to mark Holocaust Memorial Day last month, antisemitism has been described as history’s oldest hatred.

But, regrettably, it is not a relic of the past.

Rather, it is a modern day reality for too many Jewish people that must be confronted, dealt with and defeated as a matter of the most pressing urgency.

About the Author
Sadiq Khan is the Mayor of London
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