Sir Ephraim Mirvis says Khan's call for a ceasefire is 'irresponsible'
Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis says Sadiq Khan’s call for a ceasefire is ‘irresponsible’ as Labour’s row over Israel deepens
- Chief Rabbi said a suspension of fighting could lead to ‘more Hamas brutality’
- Khan said ceasefire ‘would allow supplies to reach those who need it in Gaza’
Labour’s row over Israel deepened today as the Chief Rabbi branded Sadiq Khan’s call for a ceasefire ‘irresponsible’.
Sir Ephraim Mirvis warned that a suspension of fighting could lead to ‘yet more Hamas terrorist brutality’ – despite the London mayor believing it would ‘stop the killing’.
The Chief Rabbi met with Mr Khan on Tuesday afternoon where he said he thanked him for his ‘ongoing, unequivocal commitment to fighting anti-Semitism across London’.
But he added: ‘I also explained to him why I believe that a ceasefire now would be an irresponsible stepping stone to yet more Hamas terrorist brutality.’
Last week Mr Khan called for a ceasefire, saying it would ‘stop the killing and would allow vital aid supplies to reach those who need it in Gaza’.
He joined a growing clamour of calls within the Labour Party urging Sir Keir Starmer to shift his position from supporting a ‘humanitarian pause’ to backing a ceasefire.
Sir Ephraim Mirvis (pictured) warned that a suspension of fighting could lead to ‘yet more Hamas terrorist brutality’ – despite the London mayor believing it would ‘stop the killing’
Last week Mr Khan called for a ceasefire, saying it would ‘stop the killing and would allow vital aid supplies to reach those who need it in Gaza ‘
Mr Khan joined a growing clamour of calls within the Labour Party urging Sir Keir Starmer to shift his position from supporting a ‘humanitarian pause’ to backing a ceasefire
Mr Khan said after his meeting with Sir Ephraim: ‘Since the appalling terrorist attacks by Hamas on October 7 there’s been an unprecedented rise in anti-Semitism in London.
‘I assured Rabbi Mirvis I’ll always stand with Jewish Londoners and work to ensure all communities are united and feel safe.’
But he was urged to stay out of discussing the conflict by Labour peer Lord Parry Mitchell.
He wrote on Twitter: ‘Perhaps Sadiq Khan should stick to the job he was elected to do and at the very least reduce knife crime, rather than bore us with his views on Israel Gaza.
‘London does not have a foreign policy mandate and neither does Manchester.’
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Mr Khan’s call for a ceasefire was echoed by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar last week.
Almost a quarter of Labour MPs have now publicly called for a ceasefire – including at least four frontbenchers.
Other shadow ministers have privately criticised Sir Keir’s stance on the conflict.
The Labour leader sought to address the row engulfing his party on Tuesday with a speech explaining his stance on the conflict.
Sir Keir rejected pressure to demand a permanent ceasefire in Gaza but refused to say whether he would sack rebel frontbenchers.
He said that while he understood the calls for a ceasefire, he did not believe that it is ‘the correct position now’.
And he insisted he took his duty to ensure collective responsibility – the principle that members of his frontbench team adopt a unified position – ‘extremely seriously’, but he sidestepped questions over whether he would sack rebels.
Yesterday, Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy suggested there was a ‘gradient’ in collective responsibility.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘All of us subscribed to collective responsibility… I don’t think it is binary, it is a gradient in the sense that all of us want the fighting to cease. There is no dispute about that, there is no dispute about the horrors we are witnessing.’
Pressed further he pointedly added: ‘I am not aware of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet dissenting from our position.’
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