Shorts: World

London’s anti-Israel mayor defeated

Ken Livingstone, a frequent critic of Israel, was beaten in London’s mayoral election. The Conservative party’s Boris Johnson received 53.2 percent of the May 3 vote to 46.8 for Livingstone, the Labor incumbent.

Livingstone has accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and refused to apologize after comparing a Jewish journalist from London to a Nazi concentration camp guard. The first person to serve as the mayor of London, a post created in 2000, Livingstone served two terms.

Johnson has worked to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and has been a supporter of Israel. — jta

Brits tried to spin handling of Exodus

More than 400 pages of secret government documents from post-World War II stored in Britain’s National Archives were opened to the public this week, including several that show how the British government tried to portray turning back the Exodus refugee ship in a sympathetic light.

The documents show that British diplomatic and military officials were concerned that sending Jews to German military camps so soon after the Holocaust would spark anger and protests around the world. One British diplomat suggested spinning the Jews’ confinement in camps as being “for the preliminary necessities of screening and maintenance.”

The more than 4,500 Jews aboard the Exodus refugee ship tried to illegally enter Palestine just months before the United Nations voted to create a Jewish state on part of the land. The Jews were removed from the ship and sent in three British steamers back to the British-controlled zone of Germany where they were placed in military camps. — jta

British Jews sign anti-Israel letter

A group of 100 Jewish Britons published a letter decrying Israel’s policies.

The statement appeared in the Guardian newspaper under the headline “We’re not celebrating Israel’s anniversary.”

“We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East,” the signatories wrote in their statement, which accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing, violating international law and “deny[ing] Palestinians their human rights and national aspirations.”

Among the signatories were academics, artists, celebrities and attorneys. — jta