Wednesday, June 15, 2016

UK: Ken Livingstone denies he's an antisemite, condemns antisemitism

Livingstone thinks the Holocaust is horrible, and that therefore he can't be an antisemite.

He doesn't think saying "Hitler was a Zionist" is problematic, and it doesn't matter how many Jews think differently.  Because he doesn't think he's an antisemite.

I think that about sums up the problem of the antisemitic left today.

Via Evening Standard:
Ken Livingstone today condemned anti-Semitism in the wake of a row sparked by his claim Hitler supported Zionism.

The former London mayor’s comments in April led to party colleague John Mann MP labelling him a "Nazi apologist" amid widespread criticism.

He defended himself against accusations of anti-Semitism over the remarks - in which he said Hitler supported the creation of a Jewish state before he "went mad and ended up killing six million Jews" - but was suspended for "bringing the Labour Party into disrepute".

In a written statement to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee ahead of his appearance later today, Mr Livingstone said: "I detest racism and condemn anti-Semitism. Indeed my political career has totally opposed any such views concerning any religious or ethnic group."

Mr Livingstone voiced concern over what he said was "a rise of physical and verbal attacks in London motivated by racism and faith hate" over recent years, including an "utterly deplorable" doubling in recorded anti-Semitic hate crime between 2010 and 2015.


Defending himself against suggestions of anti-Semitism, Mr Livingstone cited his record as mayor of promoting events to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, hosting an Anne Frank exhibition at City Hall, organising a Jewish festival in Trafalgar Square and staging menorah lighting ceremonies to mark Hanukkah.

He quoted the finding of a High Court judge in a 2006 case, that it "could not sensibly be suggested" that Mr Livingstone was anti-Semitic and adding that his disapproval of some actions of the state of Israel "has nothing to do with anti-Semitism".

"Racism is a uniquely reactionary ideology, used to justify the greatest crimes in history - including the slave trade, the extermination of all original inhabitants of the Caribbean and apartheid," said Mr Livingstone.

The Holocaust was the ultimate, "industrialised" expression of racist barbarity, he added.

"Racism serves as the cutting edge of the most reactionary movements. An ideology that starts by declaring one human being inferior to another is the slope whose end is at Auschwitz. I totally reject such a view of Jews, black people or any other group."

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