Ken Livingstone: Stubborn and Wrong, But Not Anti-Semitic 327

After careful consideration I have decided to venture into the question of Ken Livingstone and his suspension from the Labour Party.

To my knowledge, nobody has intimated that Ken Livingstone is an anti-Semite in the sense that he is a racist who acts with prejudice towards Jewish people. I do not think it even vaguely probable that he is that. I know him only slightly, and have shared a platform with him on a couple of occasions. But from everything I can find in his history, I believe he has been a genuine campaigning anti-racist his whole life.

There is however a perfectly open movement to define anti-Semitism not as prejudice against Jewish people, but as deviation from accepted political views on the formation of the state of Israel and its current position and policies. I do not accept this attempt to argue that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. I believe that the attempt to conflate the two needs to be resisted for the sake of maintaining our own political freedom of expression.

But that does not mean Ken Livingstone acted wisely or even properly. The disaster that attended European Jews in the second world war was so huge, that it needs to be approached with great sensitivity. Livingstone claims that certain Jewish Zionists had a pre-Holocaust deal with the Nazis. To me, that is very analogous to alleging that an acknowledged rape victim had some previous relationship with her abusive rapist. It has no possible relevance other than to be some kind of “she asked for it” point.

Livingstone’s point may or may not be true but, even if it is, we do not go around throwing out random facts out of context. Just because something is true does not make it helpful to say it at any given moment.

I quite genuinely have no idea whether the point Livingstone makes is historically true, and if so how fringe or not were the elements involved in the relationship. But it is not relevant. It would be surprising if there did not, in the very early stages of Nazi power, appear to a few fringe elements to be some room to explore common interests between those who wanted Jews to leave Germany, and those who wanted to establish a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. Everyone was trying to accommodate to the difficult fact of Nazi power. The British royal family and aristocracy, the Pope, Northcliffe and his Daily Mail, David Lloyd George, pretty well all of corporate Germany and, I even admit, a very few isolated Scottish nationalists, failed at some stages to realise or to respond correctly to the evil of Nazism and sought various ways to use Nazi Germany to forward their own interests. Some of these were very culpable. You can find attempts on that difficult spectrum from accommodation to collaboration in various forms everywhere, in almost every community.

I do not want to see the apartheid state of Israel continue in its current form, though as with apartheid South Africa I wish to see a solution to unifying Palestine that does not involve further forced movement of any population. But I do not in any sense accept a historically important link between Israel and the Nazis, except in the obvious sense that revulsion at the Holocaust created the conditions for international acceptance of the violent establishment of Israel. Picking at the oddities of history on such a sensitive subject is mischievous.

Freedom of speech has limits. There is no doubt that Holocaust denial is very closely linked de facto to Nazi apologism and to anti-Semitism. I say that with a clear acceptance than there were many other victims of the death camps too – Poles, Gypsies, Homosexuals, Communists, Freemasons etc. etc. But the fact there are other victims does not reduce the Jewish disaster and attempts to deny or minimise what happened to the Jewish people under the Nazis are not acceptable.

I therefore think that Livingstone was wrong to blunder into discussing Hitler’s alleged early support for Zionism, and much more wrong not to then realise this was a mistake and to apologise. I do not however believe that in any sense his motivation was personal anti-Semitism, and I do not believe that anybody believes he is genuinely somebody who dislikes Jewish people.

I am not a member of the Labour Party and it is not my fight. But it seems to me in consequence the suspension of Ken Livingstone for a further year is about the correct punishment. He was wrong-headed and distasteful, but not a racist. Nobody truly thinks he is a racist, so the light suspension was Labour’s way of reflecting this while not meeting head-on the question of the ludicrous expansion of the meaning of anti-Semitism.

As regular commenters know, holocaust denial is strictly banned on this blog and anti-Semitism has been by far the most common cause of comments being deleted. It is therefore very probable that your comments will get blocked for moderation by various keyword captures we have set up. Be patient.

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327 thoughts on “Ken Livingstone: Stubborn and Wrong, But Not Anti-Semitic

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  • michael norton

    Lebanese and Syrian offshore gas reserves: an untapped energy ELDORADO
    November 14, 2016

    The violent conflict which is currently ravaging the country hampers Syria to develop and exploit its HUGE energy potential: before the explosion of the “civil” war in 2011, Syria produced 9 bcm of natural gas and also exported oil to EU markets. According to the USGS Syria holds 230 bcm and an additional potential of 170 bcm of offshore natural gas reserves, located in the northern part of the Levant Basin but at present it appears impossible to plan projects to develop them. In December 2013 Russia signed a deal with the Syria government to conduct exploration in an 850-square-mile area of the Syrian EEZ but the current war scenario has frozen Russian interests and initiatives. So the Syrian offshore potential will remain untapped for long years, because there are not the conditions of security attracting financial investors and international energy companies to operate in the area. Moreover, this condition of instability also affect the role of transit country which Syria could play, hosting in its territory pipelines fuelled by other suppliers.
    In 2009 Qatar proposed to build a pipeline to send its gas northwest via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria to Turkey in order to reach EU markets. Two years later, Syrian President Assad – under Russian pressure – refused to sign the plan opting to support the so called Islamic pipeline or Friendship pipeline project, aimed to carry up 25 bcm of Iranian gas to Iraq and Syria eastward to the European market. In this way Syria entered in the geopolitical competition between EU (and US) and Russia concerning energy supply to Europe and the strategy of diversification.

    • michael norton

      And there you have it, Syria( according to the U.S.A.) signed its own death warrant.

      • James Dickenson

        “You can’t understand the conflict without talking about natural gas
        By Maj. Rob Taylor
        Much of the media coverage suggests that the conflict in Syria is a civil war, in which the Alawite (Shia) Bashar al Assad regime is defending itself (and committing atrocities) against Sunni rebel factions (who are also committing atrocities). The real explanation is simpler: it is about money.
        In 2009, Qatar proposed to run a natural gas pipeline through Syria and Turkey to Europe. Instead, Assad forged a pact with Iraq and Iran to run a pipeline eastward, allowing those Shia-dominated countries access to the European natural gas market while denying access to Sunni Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The latter states, it appears, are now attempting to remove Assad so they can control Syria and run their own pipeline through Turkey.”

  • mike

    Bit by bit, Trump is being turned by the neocons. MAGA has been militarised, like it was probably always going to be. POTUS Trump in thrall to the neocons is a VERY dangerous proposition.

    • giyane

      The US electorate voted for Trump=business and against neo-con=US global hegemony + continual war.
      It’s time for the people to assert their wishes. If within 3 months of becoming POTUS, the neo-cons have persuaded him to ally with Saudi Arabia’s violent extremism and to dispose of Assad with false accusations of chemical warfare, the people will have to rise up against the flouting of their wishes.

      Boris Johnson pattering out blatant falsehoods against Assad in parliament, again, may be within his parliamentary priveledge. So far the lies of the neo-cons like Johnson have been contained by the memories of the Iraq war. The Syrian people have held out against USUKIS’s proxy terrorists Al Qaida and Daesh for 7 years partly because of the likes of Craig Murray exposing their lies on blogs.

      If Craig’s turned chicken and is now back-stabbing the freedom and truth speakers after debauching himself in the brothels of Ghana, another blog will have to be found or made to continue the fight against the extremist far right policies of the neo-cons. I’m more worried about Craig going soft in the head than Trump, because up till now this place has been a bastion of truth against evil, neo-con, zionist power.

      Do not go gentle into that good night,
      Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    • Professor Z.I.J. Orion

      “if anyone’s remotely interested in what I sound like”

      Surely you have already noticed that the only thing anybody here is interested in is what they sound like?

  • nevermind

    This is nothing but the continuation of the ‘get Corbyn’ campaign, a collaborative attempt by the BBc and the media at large to derail the local elections in favourite of their right wing paymasters.

    Thanks for writing what you did, as an anti Zionist one can only feel for Israel’s future, never to have peace means exactly that to the Semites, Arabs and Israeli’s alike. Zionists are robbing land and resources in the West bank and east Jerusalem, how can that possibly make for a safe future? And we have not even mentioned the displaced Palestinians who co-own mush of Palestine.

    The hounding of Livingston is organised and deliberate, how else could such a FoI spat divert attention from far more important world events? For two days, non stop.
    #Well done BBC you have earned another tranche of your franchise, just wipe that brown thingy off your noses.

  • John Whiting

    “The historical truth of the Transfer Agreement is confirmed by Edwin Black’s The Transfer Agreement: The Dramatic Story of the Secret Pact Between the Third Reich and Jewish Palestine”

    It’s also confirmed in the Wikipedia entry on the Haavara Agreement. No one has edited this entry in such a way as to question the facts as stated. In other words, the existence of such an agreement, for which, in the early stages of Nazi rule, there was ample motivation on both sides, has not been refuted, only condemned as something one mustn’t talk about. No matter how you cut it, with Israeli now in the hands of the most reactionary government in its brief history, that way lies fascism.

    • Habbabkuk


      “the existence of such an agreement, for which, in the early stages of Nazi rule, there was ample motivation on both sides, has not been refuted,”

      Straw man tactics. No one -nor Craig – is attempting to refute the existence of the agreement. So what is your point?

      • Flaminius

        The point, patently, is that Livingstone has warrant to assert his view about Nazi-Zionist collaboration; that, furthermore, the attempt to silence him is profoundly anti-democratic; and that, finally, Craig Murray should defend Livingstone’s right to free speech against the reactionary attacks that intend to silence any criticism of Zionism as ‘anti-semitic’ rather than connive at them.

      • Chris Rogers


        Could you please indicate clearly what the ‘crimes’ are that KL is accused, rather than ‘off-the-cuff’ remarks he made in defence of an embattled Labour MP peer having been cornered by the Radio Host. Indeed, the charade is worse because after he made his perhaps naive remarks, I use the word ‘naive’ with caution, he was corned by Mann exiting the Studio, who so happened to have a film crew with him, which has all the markings of a ‘setup’ or ‘sting’ operation, i.e., it was planned in advance and KL fell into a trap, one orchestrated to further weaken Corbyn, whom the Labour Rightists and Zionist supporters detest – he is after all considered a threat and has known Palestinian sympathies, which of course are unacceptable in the UK by orders of the Israeli Embassy.

      • glenn_uk

        Here’s an interesting point. Lysias was all over me like a cheap suit for quoting the NYT a week or so back. Sure, it’s dropped a major clanger or two over the years (most notably with the “evidence” for WMD in Iraq, supplied by the same D. Cheney who then referenced his own information as proof of the same claim), but it is still a damned good paper IMHO. But by simply referencing the NYT to back it up, my point could be dismissed as obviously false.

        I notice you – RobG – are happy to use it here. Would you be happy in using it as a reference, even if it didn’t support your notions – such as that the attacks in Westminster, Paris, Nice etc. are hoaxes? Because the NYT reported them as the genuine terrorist attacks they surely were.

        What say you, RobG? A bit of consistency is character building, you know.

        • Professor Z.I.J. Orion

          “Lysias was all over me like a cheap suit”

          So Lysias reveals himself to be a cheap suit? Who cares what a cheap suit thinks?

        • RobG

          I’ve given links to the Guardian, Zero Hedge and the NYT on a story that’s just breaking as I type.

          Perhaps you could give me a break.

          • glenn_uk

            Yeah but Rob, you can’t just say these are authoritative sources when it suits you, and then dismiss it as all “fake news” and Establishment lies when it doesn’t. That’s the point.

        • lysias

          A week or so back? Funny, I have absolutely no recollection of doing any such thing. My memory is not perfect, but what makes the accusation seem particularly improbable to me is that, since Glenn repeatedly made some snarky criticisms of several of my postings several weeks past, I told him I would no longer respond to him, and since then I have taken care not to do so. To the best of my recollection, this is the first response I have made to him since then.

          • glenn_uk

            I owe you apology. We were discussing something and “Loony” jumped in and replied on your behalf, with mocking references to the paper edition of the NYT that I’d quoted. It stuck in my memory that this was you.


            It’s odd though – you had said that the Germans had been panicked into moving gold out of the US. I responded by quoting an article from the NYT, which made it clear that this “panic” was nothing of the kind – it was simply part of a long planned move.

            In fairness, you did reply a bit later, dissing the NYT yourself by saying this was just pandering to advertisers and slanting their reporting correspondingly.

            But all the same, I did mistake “Loony” for yourself, so my comment should have been about Loony and not you. Again, I apologise for the mistake.

          • lysias

            A week or so back? That link goes back to comments made nearly two months ago. No wonder I had no idea what you were talking about.

          • glenn_uk

            Christ almighty… is that all the grace you can muster, upon receiving a written apology?

      • Professor Z.I.J. Orion

        Oh do come on RobG, with Trump in charge, how can anything important be happening in the White House? It’s BS, BS, and more BS until the next election, and to be quite honest, nothing much even after that. Hey, it’s turtles all the way down.

        • RobG

          Professor Z.I.J. Orion, there won’t be another election.

          Trump is/was the last gasp.

          There’s now either world war or revolution.

          What planet do you reside on?

          • Professor Z.I.J. Orion

            “Professor Z.I.J. Orion, there won’t be another election”

            Exactly! This recent election proves that democracy doesn’t work.

            Did you know that H. L. Mencken wrote

            “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”?

            That great day finally arrived with the election of President Trump. Rejoice! Rejoice! Democracy has finally revealed its true and ultimate purpose.

  • RobG

    Bloody hell, what a bunch of wimps you lot in the UK are, where it’s now knocking one o’clock in the morning.

    It’s knocking 2am where I am and I’ve been up for more than 16 hours.

    But I don’t serve the corporate masters like many of you slaves do.

    Being fair, though, slavery does have its good points…

    • glenn_uk

      Maybe we just don’t have the cheap wine available in such abundance, that you have so clearly put to use.

      • Professor Z.I.J. Orion

        Oh good reply but have you tried “Sainsbury’s House” wines? God value for money IMHO, but of course, the EU doesn’t use real money, does it, otherwise RoS wouldn’t be insisting that Scotland has some entitlement to the Pound Sterling.

      • RobG

        No, you don’t have the cheap wine available, but there’s never any shortage of cheap vibes, from cheap people who can no longer even provide the basic necessities for their own population.

        You are morally and politically bankrupt.

        (you are also financially bankrupt, because you are so corrupt and incompetent)

        Here we go, 3am French time, 2am UK time.

        I’ve now been on the go for more than 18 hours. I’m still waiting for any of these little tossers to come back at me in any meaningful way.

        Your days are numbered; mark my words.

        • glenn_uk

          Any time you want to bring it on, RobG – I’ll be touring France again later this year. Fancy having a bit of a bash, and you can call me a tosser while we’re about it?

    • D_Majestic

      RobG-We all have a big problem over here. The clocks have been striking thirteen here for five or six years. And apparently only seven of us have noticed.

  • Professor Z.I.J. Orion

    Hey Craig, what’s all this I am reading, from various sources, about Catalonia wanting independence from Spain? Surely this kind of blows your argument regarding Gibraltar apart, when even Spain is no longer any kind of united kingdom?

  • bevin

    It might be helpful if the moderators explained to us why certain comments on topics related to this one automatically disappear only to re-appear, if ever, long after the page has been turned and the discussion moved on.
    I found it particularly galling today that one of the trolls infesting this blog jeered at the absence of arguments differing with Craig, whilst I, who have never published an anti-semitic sentence in my life, was in moderation. I remained there for about three hours.
    Moderators can take it from me- you will never discover a racial slur or any indication of religious intolerance in any post I make.

    • RobG

      bevin, this post is really just a placeholder, to try and prevent deletion.

      I support bevin’s views, and he/she makes some of the best posts on this board.

      • glenn_uk

        Yeah, maybe. But he is a bit soft on the new, improved Trumpist form of fascism. Just sayin…

        • RobG

          It’s now 4am in the morning where I am.

          One must get at least 6 hours sleep, so I’ll get back to you sometime at 10am.

  • The Big Chill

    Craig, I’m curious which organization provided you with the list of censored “keyword captures”?

    • glenn_uk

      You don’t imagine the host could come up with a list of keywords by himself?

  • Hieroglyph

    Somewhat surprised at this conclusion. Can’t say I agree, at all. I regard Ken’s initial comment as a bit of a nothing really, and people in politics should try much harder to avoid being constantly offended. It must be exhausting. Language policing is the bane of our times, and just allows pro-forma cretins to read from scripts, in order to convey a sincerity and humanity they evidently lack. Ken made a mistake, possibly, but such is life. Apparently Corbyn has thrown him under the bus. Disappointing.

  • witters

    “But the fact there are other victims does not reduce the Jewish disaster and attempts to deny or minimise what happened to the Jewish people under the Nazis are not acceptable. ” Truue, but it does seem often to work the other way round – to those groups.

  • Salford Lad

    Hat tip to Tom Feeley and ICH
    Last year, socialist stalwart Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership of the UK’s Labour Party by a landslide.
    Since then, there has been a steady flow of claims by Israel’s supporters that Corbyn has not done enough to combat anti-Semitism.
    This has only accelerated in the lead-up to a major test for Corbyn, the UK local elections on 5 May.
    Even as this story was in preparation, two more victims were claimed in the war against his leadership.
    Lawmaker Naz Shah and the former mayor of London, long-time Palestine campaigner Ken Livingstone, were also suspended from the party – within hours of being accused of anti-Semitism.
    But an investigation by The Electronic Intifada has found that some of the most prominent stories about anti-Semitism in the party are falsified.
    The Electronic Intifada can reveal that a key player in Labour’s “anti-Semitism crisis” covered up his involvement in the Israel lobby.
    Most Labour members so accused are in reality being attacked for expressing opinions in favor of Palestinian human rights and particularly for supporting the boycott of Israel.
    Labour activists, many of them Jews, have told The Electronic Intifada that false accusations of anti-Semitism are being used as a weapon against Corbyn by the party’s right-wing.
    Corbyn has been active in the Palestine solidarity movement for more than three decades. In an interview with The Electronic Intifada last year, he endorsed key elements of the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israel. For example, he urged an end to weapons trading with Israel.
    His election represented a radical shift in Labour, a popular revolt at the grassroots membership level.
    Although Labour’s membership has grown since Corbyn’s victory, he has been under constant attack from right-leaning politicians within the party. In an attempt to weaken his position, some of his critics have manufactured a “crisis” about alleged anti-Semitism.
    Attacks on Corbyn have escalated in the lead-up to next week’s local elections. Poor results would be seized upon by his enemies within the party.

    • nevermind

      Thanks for that Salford lad, the ‘get Corbyn ‘campaign was only parked in the layby whilst the media fed on Trump, but now our full propaganda channel attention will resume.

  • Habbabkuk

    “Bit by bit, Trump is being turned by the neocons. MAGA has been militarised, like it was probably always going to be. POTUS Trump in thrall to the neocons is a VERY dangerous proposition.”

    It is funny to see disillusionment growing among the ranks of the Trumpies.

    They would have been spared this had they only kept in mind one of Habbabkuk’s favorite sayings, viz:

    “Do not go a-whorin’ after false gods”

    • Sharp Ears

      Why can’t you be direct and write:

      ‘They would have been spared this had they only kept in mind one of my favorite sayings’

      Is it because you like to see your user name in print?

      The UK spelling is ‘favourite’ btw.

  • Sharp Ears

    BLiar is hitting rock bottom. Giving interviews to obscure TV channels now.

    Tony Blair: Social media would have killed my hopes of being Prime Minister
    The former Labour leader says there would have been “bad stuff” from his days in a band, long before his political career.

    ‘Bad stuff’ from his days as PM too.

    ‘Dave’ is operated by UKTV. ‘UKTV is a multi-channel broadcaster, jointly owned by BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive’, Same old.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      He’s certainly on the slide. But you can see (Google ‘Tony Blair’ for ‘last 24 hours’) that even a crap interview designed exclusively to make him look cuddly, at his own request – honestly, who believes that Dave actually asked him? – can form the basis of a press release crafted by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change*. Which is then circulated to every editor in the country, ready to paste into a gap in the rag/schedule. He knows what he’s doing, damn his eyes. (Cue Tony: self-deprecating giggle to camera.)

      *AKA Business As Usual But Even Less Accountable.

  • Habbabkuk


    “Perhaps instead of banging on about social security numbers you could instead comment on the demotion of Steve Bannon.”

    Since you’ve asked nicely, I shall.

    I am moderately pleased about Mr Bannon’s demotion (to use your expresssion).

    May I now make a suggestion?

    Take some time off from posting on this blog and get the business of your French social security number sorted out. You know that you have to have one if you live and work in France. Having one of course means that both you and your employer will have to pay quite heavy social security contributions but , hey, the benefits have to be paid for, don’t they.

    Working in France without a social security number is a serious offence and the sanctions can be unpleasant.

  • Je

    “Jewish Labour Party members slam decision to suspend Ken Livingstone”


    Livingston was just standing up against the witchhunt against anyone who speaks out against Israel. The one that plays the anit-semitic card – and looks to twist every word or phrase it can find to attack someone with. Its a shame Corbyn doesn’t join him. Corbyn will find failing to support his friends when their being witchhunted like this – will leave him without any.

  • Dave

    I understand the big money from private donors to the Labour party has dried up, but for now they are comfortable with union and membership donations. But although the “anti-Semitism” canard illustrates the influence of the Zionist coalition it matters little really if Labour commit to some basics reforms that favour everyone and not just themselves. That is genuine voting reform (seats according to share of vote) and fair state funding (based on votes won) of political parties. And with poor poll ratings but a big membership now is an opportune time to be bold.

    • reel guid

      The history of Zionism is as complex as the history of socialism. There are many strands of Zionism. Is it responsible to talk of “the Zionist coalition” or about Zionist conspiracies at a time of the rise of far right parties in Europe – especially Eastern Europe – which openly espouse anti-Semitism?

      The Israeli state should be held to account for it’s atrocious human rights violations. To obsessively go on about Zionism and Zionists conspiring everywhere sounds well dodgy.

      • Chris Rogers

        reel guid,

        We’ll, except we are not talking conspiracy, we are talking documented facts as presented recently by the under cover investigation of certain employees and former employees of the Israeli Embassy in London conspiring to remove ministers of state, and by extension and leading figure who is favourable to Palestine.

        Indeed, perhaps if you yourself did a little research on the Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement, paying particular attention to ‘paid officers’, you’d be rather surprised at the web of intrigue you’d find.

        Further, and here’s the rub, when certain pro-Israeli and pro-Zionist groups keep screaming ‘anti-semitism’ when there is little in the UK, engaging in frivolous anti-semitic smear campaigns against the forces of the Left most likely to defend any minority group, it seems crass to engage in such divisive and counter-productive activities at a time of rising ‘racism’ and Rightwing political gains across much of Europe. Still, if by ‘red baiting’ the Left and making life uncomfortable for Europe’s Jewish population by making hysterical and exaggerated claims leads to increased immigration into Israel by those of Jewish descent, then the Zionists are happy – obviously the Palestinians kicked out of their homes and dispossessed of what little land remains are not too pleased, but then who cares?

        • reel guid


          I’m aware through this blog and others of the dubious activities of LFI. It’s just that given the history of anti-Semitism in Europe, any talk of international Zionist conspiracy sounds uncomfortably similar to Nazi slogans.

  • Mathiasalexander

    Ken Livingstone probably had the Haavara agreement in mind, which you can read about here
    It depends what you mean by support.
    To be fair, KL was speaking of the cuff in a stress full situation. If he is being punished for inadvertently encouraging actual anti-semites then he is being punished for the crimes of others.

  • reel guid

    Obviously Nicola didn’t negotiate the deal herself. Scottish Enterprise is funded by the Scottish Government.

  • Stephen Westmoreland

    Stating a fact that is historically correct cannot be wrong. It is an historical fact that on the 25th of August 1933 the zionist jews of Germany signed an agreement with the nazi government, known as the haavara agreement which facilitated the movement of jews from Germany to Palestine. Approximately 60,000 jews left Germany for Palestine because of this. Stating that this happened is not anti semitic, or racist, it is simply an unequivocal historical fact.

      • Flaminius

        Only denial of equivocal non-historical non-facts. Lets say, e.g., that any criticism of Zionism is ‘anti-semitic’.

  • Matt


    Like many, I find myself a bit puzzled about this fudge-filled post.

    To imply Livingstone had no context for his remarks, when you have covered in detail the campaign to conflate anti-zionism with anti-semitism, is perverse. One obvious counter to this conflation is to show, as Livingstone attempted in his own clumsy way, that many staunch supporters and enablers of Zionism are in fact anti-semites – both now and historically. And mainstream, leading Zionists (not just some “fringe elements”) are happy to ignore some of the most egregious anti-semitism if it progresses their zionist agenda.

    I’m also surprised to see you giving cover to Labour’s appalling position that the historical facts are irrelevant. Please reconsider.

    Incidentally, did anyone else hear Lord Levy on Radio 4 the other morning. Pushed (after much blustering and evasion) to comment on the Jews in the LP who defend Livingstone, he came out with the remarkable line (from memory): “they aren’t our leaders – our leader is the Chief Rabbi”. Apart from anything else, wouldn’t it be anti-semitic to suggest that all Jews in Britain are led by the Chief Rabbi?


    • Sharp Ears

      That reminded me of Sadiq Khan’s comment on LBC Radio this morning. He said that he meets the Chief Rabbi very regularly.

      Mirvis is more active politically than Sacks, his predecessor who loved the sound of his own voice, He was always making media appearances and presented Thought For The Day on Radio 4. Mirvis comes on less frequently. Here he is from this morning,

      ‘What is freedom?’ Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis – 06/04/17
      It is one of the oldest and most profound questions ever to confront human civilisation: What is freedom? As the J….h world prepares for Passover which starts next week, marking the Exodus of the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, we are encouraged to grapple with this very question.

      Sadiq Khan attends Holocaust memorial as first act as Mayor of London
      8 May 2016 – Sadiq Khan (pictured right arriving at the Holocaust Memorial Ceremony in Barnet today alongside Lord Levy) met Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis …

      • Matt

        I’m not sure of your point. The mayor of London is free to meet with whomever he likes, and that will surely include religious leaders.

        I hope though that he doesn’t assume the Chief Rabbi speaks for all Jews.

    • Dave

      Also how do you know Lord Levy, Chief Rabbi or for that matter the Israeli PM is Jewish? This matters because if being Jewish is a legally “protected characteristic” then there should be a legal definition and way of establishing whether those claiming this protection are in fact Jewish!

      It appears this legal requirement is avoided by the catch-all definition within “hate crime” legislation. It says if anyone, anywhere including a third party “perceives” a word or action to be “anti-Semitic”, then its “anti-Semitic”. This “perception” is sufficient to make a complaint of “anti-Semitism” which the police are required to investigate and/or record as a “non-actionable hate incident”. Indeed people are encouraged to report “hate crime”, which means if people perceive Corbyn as “anti-Semitic” its their public duty to show “zero-tolerance” and report it. Complicated by the misuse of Semitic to mean all Jews rather than Arabs.

      In practice it becomes a ‘shouting game’ of “perceived” insults, but some have the inclination and ability to insult louder through a MSM megaphone!

    • Andy

      ”Apart from anything else, wouldn’t it be anti-semitic to suggest that all Jews in Britain are led by the Chief Rabbi?”

      Liberals in the Guardian are falling over themselves to claim they speak for Jews. An editorial in the paper yesterday more or less said that the Chief Rabbi spoke for the Jews community. I think you have a point.

  • Andy

    I hope you read this Craig.
    ”Jewish Labour Party members slam decision to suspend Ken Livingstone
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 04/04/2017
    Jewish Labour Party members slam decision to suspend Ken Livingstone

    Statement from Jewish Labour Party members who gave evidence in support of Ken Livingstone at his hearing for alleged conduct prejudicial and/or grossly detrimental to the Labour Party. ”

    ” No justification for claiming all Jews are offended by Nazi/Zionism remarks
    Views critical of Zionism are not antisemitic
    It is contrary to freedom of expression to ban such opinions

    We are alarmed that the Labour Party’s National Constitutional Committee has bowed to demands for the suspension of Ken Livingstone, excluding him from the life of the party until April 2018.

    Having failed to make a case that he was guilty of antisemitic conduct, his accusers alleged that he was nonetheless guilty of conduct grossly detrimental to the party because, according to them, he had upset the UK’s Jewish population. The grounds put forward for this were Ken Livingstone’s references to a temporary agreement prior to World War II, between some Zionist leaders and Hitler’s Nazi Party, to facilitate the emigration of a number of Jews from Germany. The Zionist motivation was to increase the numbers of Jews going to Palestine.
    In our evidence to the NCC we explained that those claiming offence on behalf of all Jews have no justification for doing so. Such a claim deliberately ignores the views of large numbers of Jewish people, both in the Labour Party and in society at large. These are people who, like us, find their identity in a different tradition to the Zionist one; or who, while continuing to believe in the Zionist ideal, are deeply uncomfortable about ongoing inroads into free speech and believe that the history of the Zionist movement must be open to scrutiny.”

    • harrylaw

      More on Jewish reaction to Antisemitsm in the Labour Party.
      During the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool Professor Jonathan Rosenhead had this to say on Antisemitism .
      “In response to a moral panic about Left anti-Semitism seemingly expanding without limit, the group Free Speech on Israel coalesced in April out of a loosely-knit band of Jewish Labour Party supporters. Some 15 of us got together at a couple of days’ notice for the inaugural gathering. We found that over our lifetimes we could muster only a handful of antisemitic experiences between us. And, crucially, although in aggregate we had hundreds of years of Labour Party membership, no single one of us had ever experienced an incident of antisemitism in the Party.
      Some time in May the ex-Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks was interviewed on Radio 4 about the antisemitism ‘crisis’ by now gripping the nation. Helpfully his interviewer invited him to share some of his own personal experiences of antisemitism. His response, from memory ran rather like this: “Well….actually I have never experienced antisemitism myself. Which is odd, because most people know that the Chief Rabbi is Jewish”.

  • Becky Cohen

    Hitler working with the Zionists in 1936 because they both wanted Jews to leave Germany makes him no more a Zionist than Hitler working with the USSR in 1939 because they both wanted to take over Poland makes him a communist.

    • John Spencer-Davis

      Ken Livingstone did not say that Hitler was a Zionist. Common misconception.

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