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(photo credit: Associated Press)
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) strongly condemned the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, for remarks urging two leading Jewish property developers to "go back to Iran and try their luck with the ayatollahs, if they don't like the planning regime or my approach."
The two property developers, brothers Simon and David Reuben, are of Iraqi Jewish origin and were born in India. Both are British citizens.
"Mr. Livingstone's remarks and his refusal to apologize to the British Jewish community fit into his well-established pattern of offensive and bigoted remarks against Jews," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
"It is unfortunate that at time when the specter of rising anti-Semitism in Europe has once again become a great concern, Mr. Livingstone continues to dabble in anti-Jewish rhetoric, and clearly has learned nothing from his past mistakes."
Mr. Livingstone's anti-Jewish and xenophobic remarks on March 21 were roundly criticized by the leadership of the British Jewish community as well as members of the opposition Conservative Party in the London Assembly. However, Mr. Livingstone has refused calls for an apology.
Instead, he stated: "I would offer a complete apology to the people of Iran to the suggestion that they may be linked in any way to the Reuben brothers. I wasn't meaning to be offensive to the people of Iran."
He also accused Brian Coleman, a member of the London Assembly who publicly criticized Mr. Livingstone's remarks, of behaving like the Nazi Propaganda Minister, Josef Goebbels.
In February, Mr. Livingstone was censured by the Standards Board of England for abusive remarks to a Jewish journalist whom he compared to a Nazi concentration camp guard.
The Standards Board delivered its verdict after Mr. Livingstone declined to apologize for his attack on the journalist.