Use your vote
The Jewish Chronicle does not presume to tell its readers how to vote. We certainly do not wish to encourage the suggestion that there is indeed such a thing as a “Jewish vote”. But what is important on May 1, not simply for the interests of this community but for wider social harmony, is that every reader registered to vote does so intelligently, as apathy and disengagement will only boost the BNP’s chances of boosting its political power base. Even Cabinet ministers have been privately expressing concerns lately that the BNP could by default be allowed to snatch one, even two, places on the 25-seat London Assembly, something that must not be allowed to happen. As to the vital office of Mayor of London, readers will, we hope, vote on those issues that matter most to them, guided in part by the interviewswiththethreemaincandidatesthathavebeenpublished on these pages this month. Today the incumbent, Ken Livingstone, portrays himself as something of a victim in his relationship with British Jewry — declaiming that “no one picked up the phone from theJewishcommunity”todiscussconcernoverhispoisonousfriend Sheikh Al-Qaradawi; that instead communal leaders conspired in a “campaign” intended to “smash and destroy”; that he faced another orchestrated campaign after he simply gave a Jewish journalist his “standard line” that he was acting like a concentration-camp guard; that the Board of Deputies has repeatedly snubbed his attempts at making peace; that his demand that the Reuben brothers, Jewish property developers, should “go back to Iran and try their luck with the Ayatollahs” was unfairly used against him when of course he did not know they were Jewish (despite unfavourably comparing them with Gerald Ronson and Irvin Stellar); and so on. As political posturing, such a defensive “poor misunderstood me” stance by the Mayor is calculated but unconvincing, and we hope that it will not cloud voters’ recall, when in the voting booths, of his long track record in needlessly alienating Jewish Londoners. To recall just a few examples: his foreign-policy pronouncements that Britain’s willingess to sell arms to Israel was evidence of “appalling double standards” as it was “led by a war criminal”; his response to a critic of his Al-Qaradawi welcome that “if you wish to say that I should not share a platform with anyone who seeks to justify suicide bombings by Palestinians, but that I should be indifferent to Israel blowing the bodies of women and children apart with modern missiles... while illegally occupying their land and destroying their houses — I can tell youthatIregardsuchdoublestandardstobepuremoralhypocrisy”; and his repeated if unsubstantiated assertion that Lord Jakobovits, the former Chief Rabbi, would have preferred that Israel had not been created. We think it only fair to point out such outbursts — even if the Mayor’s instinctive response will doubtless be to see this newspaper conspiring with the Board and their Zionist allies to damage his chances.