London Mayoral Candidate Sadiq Khan: Jeremy Corbyn 'Knows Nothing About Anti-Semitism'

Labour's London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan speaks during the launch of his manifesto at Canary Wharf on March 9, 2016 in London. Carl Court/Getty

London's mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has demanded that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is "trained about what anti-Semitism is" in order to crack down on it within his party.

Khan, the minister for Tooting, in south London, said the Labour Party's failure to tackle anti-Jewish sentiment was "unacceptable," in a speech last night at hustings organised by Jewish News and the London Jewish Forum.

"If it needs senior members, including members of the NEC (National Executive Committee), of my party to be trained about what anti-Semitism is, then so be it," Khan said. "I said from the outset, I'm embarrassed, I'm sorrowful about anti-Semitism in my party.

"I think the Labour leadership could have taken a tougher stance—and should have taken a tougher stance.

"There is no hierarchy when it comes to racism—racism is racism."

The talk was held at the JW3 Jewish community centre in north-west London ahead of the May 5 vote for London mayor.

Khan also said the use of the term "Zio" had become a way to attack Jews in the say way the term "homo" is used as a slight on gay people.

"That sort of education is needed in my party, I'm not proud to say," he said. "That is the state we have reached.

"Anti-Semitism has risen by 60 per cent over the past 12 months. It's not just a problem for the Jewish community, it is a problem for society.

"If there's anti-Semitism in our society, there's a problem with society. That is why it is so important for it to be a mainstream issue.

"Many people don't realise, but it can't be right that places of worship need protection outside just because they are synagogues, that schools need protection because they are Jewish faith schools. It can't be right."

Sitting alongside Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith and representatives from the Green Party , Liberal Democrat Party and UK Independence Party, Khan attempted to distance himself from his party leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

He said: " Jeremy Corbyn is not on the ballot paper on May 5, nor is David Cameron and nor is Boris Johnson."

Sadiq, who is slim favourite to triumph in the May poll, said he wanted to be a unifying mayor for all of London if elected.

The Muslim-born politician said: "I know what it is like to suffer hate crime because of your ethnicity, your religion."

The Labour Party has been beset by a string of issues over anti-Semitism since Jeremy Corbyn became leader.

Vicki Kirby—who suggested in a series of social media posts that Hitler might be a "Zionist god," Jews have "big noses" and asked why Islamic State was not attacking Israel—was vice-chair of Woking Labour.

She was suspended by Labour in 2014 but returned with a warning shortly afterwards. She was re-suspended last month, pending an investigation.

Labour activist Gerry Downing was also suspended earlier this year after tweeting an "anti-Semitic" article entitled, "Why Marxists must address the Jewish Question."