London’s newly elected Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, suggested that he would be open to visiting Tel Aviv.
“I’ve not even had my first Monday at work to be fair, I’ve had six hours sleep since Wednesday. But I’m keen to make sure I’m the most pro-business mayor we’ve ever had, and that means going on trade missions including to Tel Aviv,” Khan said in an interview with the United Kingdom’s Jewish News on Sunday.
The Labour Party’s Khan, the son of a Pakistani taxi driver, narrowly defeated his Conservative Party rival Zac Goldsmith in the May 5 election. Several of the U.K.’s leading Jewish organizations, including The Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, have congratulated Khan on his victory and believe he will have a positive impact on communal relations in London.
In his first official act as mayor, Khan attended a Yom HaShoah ceremony on Sunday.
“I’m honored that my first public engagement will be such a poignant one, where I will meet and hear from Jewish survivors and refugees who went through the unimaginable horrors of the Holocaust, yet have managed to not only build lives here in London, but give so much back for the benefit of wider society,” Khan said.
Yet Khan’s election victory comes amid an ongoing anti-Semitism scandal that has seen dozens of Labour members, including London’s former mayor Ken Livingstone, suspended for making anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks. Khan has called the scandal a “badge of shame” and has attempted to distance himself from the anti-Semitic rhetoric.