The umbrella organization of British Jews called on the Labour Party to immediately expel former London Mayor Ken Livingstone after he repeated debunked claims that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism, the latest anti-Semitic incident to have engulfed the party since Jeremy Corbyn took over as party leader last year.
“Hitler’s persecution of the Jews started early in the 1930s,” Marie van der Zyl, Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said in a statement. “He expressed his loathing for Zionism in the 1920s. But yet in 2016 Ken Livingstone seems to want to rewrite history to make it seem like Zionism was responsible for the Holocaust, which is as false as it is grotesquely offensive. Every day that Labour does not expel him is a stain on the party.”
Livingstone was temporarily suspended from the Labour Party in April after he said in an interview with BBC Radio’s Vanessa Feltz that Hitler supported Zionism. He repeated that claim to on Feltz’s program on Monday, “The fact [is] that during the 1930s, Hitler collaborated with the Zionists and supported them because he believed that a solution to his problem – the Jews – was that they should all move to Palestine,” he claimed. “Then in the 1940s that changed and he decided on genocide. And that’s the point I made on your program. I’m just surprised that people didn’t check that it was true before they started screaming ‘Nazi apologist.’”
When Feltz challenged Livingstone’s sources, he claimed that he found the information in pamphlets that were distributed by Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum.
Numerous historians have debunked Livingstone’s claims.
“Since the far-left MP Jeremy Corbyn was elected to the party leadership last year, it seems that some new revelation of Labour anti-Semitism, in all cases packaged as detestation of Israel’s sovereign existence, is perpetually out there lurking,” Tower senior editor Ben Cohen observed in May.
In Britain’s Labour Party Tries to Whitewash Its Anti-Semitism, which was published in the August 2016 issue of The Tower Magazine, Jamie Palmer pointed out that the original Livingstone scandal was “the last straw” that prompted the party to address the problem of anti-Semitism in its ranks. But as he wrote in his article, the party’s internal inquiry may have been specifically designed from the start to exculpate the party’s leaders of any wrongdoing or prejudice.
[Photo: Andy Miah / Flickr ]