Sadiq Khan addresses criticism of Gaza stance in JLM appearance

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Sadiq Khan addresses criticism of Gaza stance in JLM appearance

The Mayor of London was applauded as he told the JW3 audience 'I know that our friendship will endure because we are united by far more'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Sadiq Khan at JLM conference
Sadiq Khan at JLM conference

Sadiq Khan has directly addressed criticism of his early call for a ceasefire in Israel’s war with Hamas in a poignant appearance at the annual Jewish Labour Movement conference.

Appearing on-stage at Sunday’s event at JW3, the mayor of London told the audience:”I know that not everyone agrees with every word I said about the conflict over the past few months.

“But I also know that our friendship will endure because we are united by far more. Belief that civilisation and violence are incompatible. Faith that dialogue is the only route to a viable future.”

Khan added the “suffering of the past” must not be allowed “to define the future.”

The mayor, alongside Keir Starmer was the second of two unannounced special guests at the JLM conference. He was joined on stage by Georgia Gould, the leader of Camden Council for an enlightening and well received question and answer session.

Khan criticised the Conservatives use of smear tactics against both himself and Starmer as May’s mayor election approached, ahead of the general election at the end of the year.

Georgia Gould, Marie van der Zyl, Sadiq Khan and Adrian Cohen at JLM conference

He later told Jewish News he was determined and hopeful of winning support in May not just from traditional Labour voters, but also those in the capital who were unimpressed with the Tory candidate Susan Hall.

Khan said he looked forward to the possibility of becoming Labour mayor of London again, and working with what he said was the “ultimate” prize, a Starmer led government.

In a sign of the continued respect Khan has for the Labour leader he told the audience, he had watched Starmer “reform the CPS” through his leadership and that he could “now transform our country.”

The Tories will try anything “to make sure he does not win,” Khan said of Starmer, before adding:”We’ve got to make sure he does win.”

In further conversation Khan defended his record on green issues, with growing evidence showing air pollution in London had improved.

He said the green agenda helped improve the lives of lower income, ethic minority citizens who were worse affected by issues such as pollution in crowded inner-city areas.

Khan had angered some communal leaders, and sparked claims of a rift with Starmer when he broke the Labour line and called for a ceasefire as Israel attacked Hamas in Gaza on October 26th.

But after his appearance on stage at the JLM conference, Khan was warmly greeted as he spent time speaking with Jewish Labour members inside JW3.

Khan was photographed onstage with Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl, London Jewish Forum’s Adrian Cohen and Camden Council leader Gould.

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