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Tory Jew in Purim outrage

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2007-03-29

Brian Gordon

Brian Gordon

An Orthodox Jewish councillor is at the centre of a race row following his "blacking up" in a costume for Purim to look like former South African leader Nelson Mandela.

Barnet Conservative member Brian Gordon sent in a photo of himself to a local paper last week and within hours of appearing was met with a number of complaints from opposition members in Barnet who are seeking to have him sacked.

Leading the calls for Gordon to go is Lib Dem member Stieve De Lance who has already reported him to the council as well as the Commission for Racial Equality.

"How can he think this is funny or acceptable? It is thinly veiled racism," she said. "You cannot make jokes like this."

But Gordon has defended himself by saying every year he dresses up as a leader

"For several years on Purim I have taken on the guise of a range of famous personalities, including President Reagan, Boris Yeltsin, Ariel Sharon and Sir Ian Blair - people for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration, as I do for Nelson Mandela," he says.

Gordon added: "The last thing I have ever intended is to cause offence, and if I did on this occasion then I sincerely apologise. However, I am sure that anyone with a modicum of humour will view this matter in its proper perspective."