Livingstone apologizes to London’s Jewish community


(JTA) — Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London seeking to reclaim his post, apologized for statements he made in a meeting with the city’s Jewish community leaders.

The apology, in the form of a long letter from the Labour Party member to the Jewish community, appeared in the Jewish Chronicle on Thursday.

Headlined "Please, let’s move on from the ‘Ken and the Jews dramas,’ " it said, in part, "If I believed that Jewish people won’t vote Labour in this election, and I did not value the opinions and concerns of Jewish Londoners, I would not have spent my evening at that meeting."

Livingston the previous evening had a lengthy meeting with Labour Party leader Ed Milliband and the Jewish Leadership Council in which the apology, with its exact wording, was hammered out.

At a March 1 meeting with Jewish leaders, Livingstone said the Jewish community would not vote for him because "the Jewish community is rich," and also used the words Zionist, Jewish and Israeli interchangeably and "in a pejorative manner," said a letter from the leaders to Ed Miliband.

The meeting was held to discuss Livingstone’s support of radical Muslim cleric Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi and his accepting money from Iranian state broadcaster Press TV. Livingstone has been a frequent critic of Israel.

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