Chief Rabbi tells Sadiq Khan Gaza ceasefire would allow more ‘Hamas brutality’

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Chief Rabbi tells Sadiq Khan Gaza ceasefire would allow more ‘Hamas brutality’

Chief Rabbi Mirvis and the Sadiq Khan have met for talks at City Hall, days after the mayor said he backed Gaza ceasefire

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Rabbi Mirvis and Mayor Khan meet at City Hall
Rabbi Mirvis and Mayor Khan meet at City Hall

Chief Ephraim Mirvis has met with mayor of London Sadiq Khan at City Hall for talks, which included a frank discussion on the mayor’s decision to back calls for a ceasefire over Israel’s response to Hamas in Gaza.

During meeting, which had been arranged in advance of the decision by Khan last week to publicly defy Labour leader Keir Starmer and back calls for the ceasefire, Mirvis said he explained “why I believe that a ceasefire now would be an irresponsible stepping stone to yet more Hamas terrorist brutality.”

Tuesday afternoon’s conversation also saw Mirvis express gratitude to the London mayor for his “unequivocal commitment to fighting antisemitism across London.”

Khan also expressed his pleasure at welcoming Rabbi Mirvis to City Hall. He also confirmed in a post on social media his regret that “since the appalling terrorist attacks by Hamas on Oct 7 there’s been an unprecedented rise in antisemitism in London. ”

He added:”I assured Rabbi Mirvis I’ll always stand with Jewish Londoners & work to ensure all communities are united and feel safe.”

Both the spokesperson for the Chief Rabbi and for Mayor Khan offered no further comment about the meeting.

Sources later told Jewish News there was a determination to ensure that differences of opinion over the Israel ceasefire call by Khan did not mean that communication between the leaders broke down.

Appearing on ITV News on Wednesday, the mayor expressed concerns over the sit-down protest by pro-Palestine campaigners in Liverpool Street station on Tuesday night.
Khan urged activists to recognise how their actions, at a time of considerable tensions, where being perceived by the Jewish community.

He added:”Many Jewish Londoners feel that some of the protest is against them, simply for being Jewish.

“I think people should recognise that Jewish Londoners are feeling incredibly scared.”

On the protests he added:”You may not be breaking the law but think about how it’s being received by Jewish Londoners. Some of them are frightened, some of them are scared.”

Khan’s decision to announce his backing for a ceasefire last week, has angered many communal leaders who say they were not warned in advance that the mayor would be making an intervention on the issue.

He contacted the Labour leader’s office the night before he released a statement on the issue, and was urged to reconsider.

On Tuesday, in a speech at the Chatham House think tank, Starmer outlined why he was continuing to resist calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, while admitted he was hurt by the loss of all civilian lives, whether Israeli or Palestinian.

Starmer said:”While I understand calls for a ceasefire at this stage, I do not believe that it is the correct position now.”

The Labour leader added”Hamas would be emboldened” and would “start preparing for future violence immediately” if Israel stopped its pursuit of the terrorist group now.

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