Livingstone loses London mayorship


Ken Livingstone, a frequent critic of Israel, was beaten in London’s mayoral election.

The Conservative Party’s Boris Johnson received 53.2 percent of the vote Saturday to 46.8 for Livingstone, the Labor incumbent. Johnson was sworn in the same day.


Livingstone has accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and refused to apologize after comparing a Jewish journalist from London to a Nazi concentration camp guard.


The first person to serve as the mayor of London, a post created in 2000, Livingstone served two terms.


Johnson visited Israel in 2004 and his Web site displays pictures of him with a group of female soldiers and shaking hands with Likud party leader Bejamin Netanyahu. During a pre-election tour in predominantly Jewish districts in northern London last month Johnson told JTA he would never invite anti-Semitic figures to London, if elected. Johnson was referring to his predecessor’s controversial decision to invite Islamist scholar and spiritual leader Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, who supports killing of Israeli civilians, to a conference in 2004.

Johnson, 44, former editor of the Spectator weekly magazine has pronounced support for Israeli policies in combating suicide bombers and objected to the British Lecturers union’s initiative to boycott Israeli academic institutions.


While many London Jews supported Johnson others, like prominent Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, endorsed Livingstone, claiming he was a better qualified to run the city than the inexperienced Johnson. Jewish organizations traditionally refrain from endorsing political candidates.




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