While struggling with widespread anti-Semitism, Britain’s Labour Party may succeed in producing the first Muslim mayor of a Western country. Polling stations closed Thursday night and the results are expected to be announced at any moment. In a British version of the Mideastern conflict, Sadiq Khan, a practicing Muslim and son of a Pakistani immigrant, favored by 14 points, is expected to beat Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith, son of a Jewish billionaire.
The contest to replace American born Boris Johnson of the Conservative Party has turned into an ugly duel between Khan and Goldsmith. On Sunday, an editorial written by Goldsmith labeled Labour as a “party that thinks terrorists are its friends”. This obviously rankled London’s one million Muslim residents. The article accused Khan and the leaders of the Labour Party of having, “whether intentionally or not, repeatedly legitimized those with extremist views.”
— Sayeeda Warsi (@SayeedaWarsi) May 1, 2016
Ironically, while calling the Conservative candidate a racist, Labour has been rocked by multiple scandals in which prominent members have been implicated by anti-Semitic statements. Two party members, Nottingham City Councilor Ilyas Aziz and Blackburn with Darwen City Councilor Salim Mulla, were suspended for anti-Semitic posts on social media. MP Naz Shah quit one of her government postings for the same reason, but retained her positionis still a member of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the rise of anti-Semitism.
Former London mayor Ken Livingstone was also suspended last week for stating on a radio interview that Hitler was a Zionist. He later claimed that there is no problem of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
Perhaps most disturbing is that the recent spate of blatant anti-Semitism appeared to have bolstered the Labour party candidate in the outlying London boroughs. A previous poll put Goldsmith ahead in those regions but a more recent poll taken after the Labour scandals showed the two candidates to be tied.