The Jewish Chronicle
London Tory attacks Sadiq Khan for anti-Israel friends
CONSERVATIVE LONDON mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has accused his Labour rival Sadiq Khan of failing to speak up against Israel Apartheid Week activities on British university campuses “because he has friendships in that group of people”.
In an interview with the JC, Mr Bailey said the current Mayor of London had failed to challenge those behind the controversial, annual anti-Israel events because he was on the same side as the left-wing activists.
The Conservative Assembly member also pointed to his own record of having visited Israel in the past, adding: “I think it’s important to visit Israel – there’s no community in London whose homeland I would not visit if they wanted me to.”
Mr Bailey launched his attack on Mr Khan after insisting that “right here, right now in London, we need to be saying much more about cancel culture, about Israel Apartheid Week. Anybody who is not prepared to stand up publicly is completely wrong. And more importantly, because he has friendships in that group of people he could challenge then directly.
“He should be going in there and saying, ‘I will not be doing this, and you should not be doing this.’ Unfortunately, it is a bit of action from the left. He is on that side and should be saying something. I have, and will continue to do so. You have to make
Jewish students safe. Why should any other students be more safe than Jewish students? In order to make that happen you have to do something about that.”
Mr Bailey accepted that “in one sense” it was correct that the capital’s mayor had “no statutory power — I could not take their funds away” if he wished to take action against those leading anti-Israel actions at universities, including academics. But he said it was possible to “provide a counter-balance, a safe space for Jewish students.”
Describing himself as a “friend” of the Jewish community in London who was trying to “learn”, Mr Bailey also spoke of how he recognised that attacks made on the Stamford Hill strictly-Orthodox community over failures to adhere to Covid-19 prevention measures mirrored some of the criticism levelled at sections of the black community. “We have what I considered to be an attack on my own community, with lots of disinformation.
“Speak to the Orthodox (Jewish) community and explain to them there’s an organised attack on their health and I think you will get a better response.” Mr Bailey suggested that his visits to Israel have also given him the ability to understand Charedi culture in areas such as Stamford Hill.
“When I went to Israel, I met with a lot of the Orthodox community,” he said. “I’d use that connection as well to talk to them — how it’s been dealt with in Israel, use those connections between the two communities. The message is purely about health. You can talk to the Israeli ambassador as well, who has some purchase in that community, to say this is about health. If the community is approached on the correct level, I think they will respond.”
A spokesperson for London Labour told the JC: “This is an outrageous slur from a Tory candidate who is willing to lie to Londoners and say anything as his campaign gets increasingly desperate. Sadiq has always stood up for London’s Jewish communities — from attending a Yom HaShoah commemoration as his first act as Mayor to calling out antisemitism wherever he sees it – whether in the Labour Party or anywhere else.”
You have to make Jewish students safe’