Ken Livingstone and anti-semitism

Alex Comiskey, Denton and Reddish CLP, gives his opinion on the continuing controversy around Ken Livingstone.

In January, Ken Livingstone decided to mark Holocaust Memorial Day by appearing on the state propaganda channel of the Iranian dictatorship, Press TV. At a time when thousands of workers have taken to the streets to protest against the Islamist regime, with hundreds killed and many more imprisoned, Ken chose to appear on the channel to discuss the question: ‘Has the Holocaust been exploited to oppress others?’

As the show’s host Roshan Muhammed Salih repeatedly linked the ‘Zionist lobby’ to the Holocaust and questioned the numbers of Jewish people murdered, Ken doubled down on the very lie that has seen him suspended from Labour in the first place, that Hitler “supported Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.

Others have picked apart this historically revisionist slander in great detail, here it will suffice for me to say that the claim is demonstrably false, it emboldens anti Semites and belittles those who suffer from poor mental health. For him to repeat the claim is breathtaking, but to do so on the state media of an institutionally anti-Semitic dictatorship, that is already banned from British airwaves, shows us yet again the kind of ‘socialist’ that Ken Livingstone really is.

You would think that following his year-long suspension from the Labour Party for perpetuating anti-Semitic lies regarding Nazi-Zionist collaboration (and subsequently being barred from holding office for another year), that Ken might show clearer judgement in his media appearances. However, to assume such judgement would be to give the man far more credit than he deserves.

Ken Livingstone has a long history of anti-socialist and regressive behaviour, dating back to the 1970s. Those familiar with the left during this era may have heard of the Workers’ Revolutionary Party, a Stalinist sect masquerading as a Trotskyist group, as well as their leader Gerry Healy. Healy was a quite despicable thug who was ejected from the party for the sexual assault of its members over many years. He led the group as it’s newspaper The Newsline carried overtly anti-Semitic propaganda and took money from both Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime and the Libyan dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi.

As you might imagine, following the emergence of these facts, Gerry Healy was ostracised by the British left and faded into obscurity. However, at his funeral in 1989, there was one ‘big beast’ of the left who not only attended but spoke kind words about the man and the quality of The Newsline’s journalism, Ken Livingstone. Livingstone claimed that Healy had done no wrong and that the claims against him of sexual assault were the work of MI5. It was nothing more than apologism, a slap in the face for all the victims who suffered under Healy, as well as the brutal regimes in Iraq and Libya. This is just one example of the gutter politics that Ken Livingstone has engaged in over the course of five decades.

Given this history and his apparent lack of remorse or apology for his recent statements, Ken Livingstone should be granted no place or respect on the British left. He has no place in Labour and is a stain on the ideology of Socialism; he must be expelled.

Let us know what you think? Write a reply? theclarionmag@gmail.com

6 Comments

  1. Hi Fraizer,

    Yes, we’re willing to do that. We’re not sure how to contact Ken Livingstone, but we’ll try to find out.

    The editors

  2. It’s as ridiculous to call Livingstone an anti-Semite because of his criticism of Zionism as it would be ridiculous to call Hitler a pro-Semite because of his agreement to allow Jews to emigrate to Israel. Perhaps it is misleading for Livingstone to describe this as support – but that hardly makes him anti-Semitic. Stop being so obtuse – if you have something to say about Israel do so honestly without getting involved in these ridiculous witch-hunts.

  3. I don’t see why you need to give Livingstone yet another right to reply here. All anyone has to do is google his name and his side of the story comes up ad nauseam. Plus you’ve summarised it above.
    The Hitler one boils down to:
    rule 1. Livingstone is always right.
    rule 2 if anyone disagrees with him rule 1 applies.

  4. One sided, inaccurate nonsense! There is historical evidence backing K.L’s statements.
    Worse than Daily Fail rubbish!

  5. Actually historically Ken Livingstone was correct, the Haavara Agreement was negotiated by the German Zionist Federation and was seen by the Nazis as a means of breaking the economic boycott that Germany was subjected to at the time. If you want to split hairs, it is not certain that Hitler was personally involved in facilitating arrangements but it’s stretching credulity to suppose the arrangement didn’t have his tacit consent. My question is wither this factually selective attack out of the blue? Many of those within the Jewish community have been moaning about Ken Livingstone for ages – they are exclusively from the Zionist faction of that community and include the likes of Jeremy Newmark (who has threatened legal action) and Ruth Smeeth who has claimed quite ludicrously that there is a backlog of five thousand cases of anti-semitism waiting to be adjudicated by the Disputes Panel. Clearly Ken Livingstone is seen as a totem or scalp worth going after – never mind letting facts and due process get in the way. It is a matter of regret that a fellow Labour Party member finds it necessary to launch such an attack. The answer as to why I believe, may lie in the regrettable fact that there are those within Labour who would seek to undermine those on the left who support Jeremy Corbyn and indeed have formed an unholy alliance with the Zionist faction within the Labour party to do so. Notable examples would be Emma Picken an activist within Heidi Alexander’s Lewisham East constituency and Euan Phillips Chair of Tonbridge and Malling CLP who support the spurious charity Campaign Against Anti-semitism and Labour Against Anti-semitism – the latter has of course no official standing in the party. Having read your extremely biased and selective article I have to conclude that the author is a fellow travellers and I would dismiss it for the vindictive, politically charged, and co-ordinated nonsense that it is.

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