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Ken's Passover greetings

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-04-12

Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone

London Mayor Ken Livingstone has emphasised his commitment to building "positive community relations" in his annual Passover message to the Jewish community and some members of the community feel that his greeting is not welcomed this year.

The London Mayor who recently said two Jewish property developers should go back to Iran, despite being born in India and also caused an uproar when he likened a newspaper reporter to a concentration camp guard says he wishes to see all Londoners "like side-by-side with one another in co-operation and friendship."

SomethingJewish spoke to members of the community in Bushey High Road asking for their comments on his message and feelings were mixed.

“He can keep his greeting to himself. He says one thing to some Jewish people and then something different to the wider community. How can he talk about developing friendship when he insulted others,” said Debbie from Stanmore.

“Why is he talking about ensuring positive relations when he has caused so much damage over recent months. He needs to look at himself and what damage he has caused,” added her friend Lisa from Bushey.

“I wasn’t offended by what he said to the Evening Standard reporter, but when he told the Reuben brothers to go back to Iran, that was insulting and based on untruths,” said Robert from Bushey.  “The mayor needs to look very careful at the example he is setting. You can’t insult people and expect them to then welcome you when you then wish them well.”

Ken Livingstone's greeting in full:

"I am pleased to send my best wishes to the Jewish community celebrating Passover, the Festival of Freedom. In London we have built community relations on the simple formula that in this city everyone can express their heritage, faith and culture as long as they respect the rights of others, and it will continue to be one of my major priorities to ensure that such positive community relations are maintained. I hope all Londoners join with the Jewish community at this time in celebrating our strength as a free city, where people of all faiths or none live side-by-side with one another in co-operation and friendship."