Learning From the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, How to Confront Racism and Bigotry

London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, has rightly said that "there is no hierarchy when it comes to racism."

He has also criticized the leadership of the Labour party for failing to act decisively, forcefully, and in a timely manner to anti-Jewish racism within the party.

It is time that those on the left who insistently and implausibly deny that there is no such problem with anti-Jewish racism in the party start listening to Khan and others like him with greater respect and sufficient humility so that they can actually correct the problem rather than pretend it does not exist and leave it to fester and grow.

Nick Cohen writes in the Guardian that addressing anti-Jewish racism will be exceedingly difficult because it has become part of a broader normalized culture within parts of the illiberal left which minimizes anti-Jewish racism within Labour and refuses to recognize and confront it.

Indeed the Guardian letters page demonstrates this all too clearly. Recent letters downplay and deny real experiences of anti-Jewish prejudice and discrimination within the Labour party. Some insinuate rather solipsistically that because the signers have not experienced it and/or witnessed it themselves the experiences of others who have are irrelevant and exaggerated, adding insult to injury and demonstrating their own unacknowledged prejudices.

They doth protest too much.

Prejudices of every type -- religious, gender and sex based, ethnic, racial, national, and those based on sexual orientation are often unconscious, subtle, and routinely denied not because they do not exist but because acknowledging them requires a capacity for honesty, self-criticism, and ethical decency that prejudice attacks and undermines by its very nature.

Such prejudices can often be held by individuals of a particular group against other members of the same group for a variety of reasons including ideological differences -- a fact which is often overlooked.

There is an empathy gulf that has opened in the Labour party with some individuals denying the human rights of Jews and their rights to equality, freedom, human dignity and a secure existence both as individuals and collectively as a people who share the universal human right to self-determination.

It is time to close the gulf and reaffirm principles of equality, justice, and respect for difference.

Honesty rather than denial, dissembling, and attacking those who have experienced and/or witnessed anti-Jewish abuse is a fundamental prerequisite for doing so.