The Ken Livingstone affair has turned into a soap opera.
100 Labour MPs have now expressed their disgust at the leniency of Livingstone’s punishment - temporary suspension rather than expulsion from the party. This is widely seen as a tokenistic punishment for bringing the party into disrepute, the offence with which he was charged and found guilty by a hitherto anonymous committee of three. (It now appears that at least one of the three was far from impartial)
Jeremy Corbyn has come up with a “sorry if anyone has been offended” apology. (If Corbyn’s statement sounded slightly more generous than that, its belated timing suggests the sheer weight of numbers of the Labour MPs who have spoken out forced him to make it.)
I have had a good look at LabourList.org - not a site I would normally visit; I ought to say they are making a genuinely sincere effort to examine this issue. Here’s a snippet:
“LabourList reported these comments at the time – as did dozens of other media outlets. Ken has since adopted various defences, all of which are hopeless.
- accusing the Jewish Chronicle of “printing a lie”;
- attacking Labour’s disciplinary panel, saying only a “biased or rigged jury” could find him guilty of breaking party rules;
- refusing to apologise and claiming there was “real collaboration” between Nazis and Zionists before the Second World War;
- apologising “if anyone is upset” by his views when he appeared on BBC Newsnight this week.
I am not aware of any television programmes, newspapers or blogs which have published significant corrections to their reports of Livingstone’s comments. The editor of the JC derided the ex-MP’s attack on the paper as “bonkers”.
One of the most disturbing aspects of this whole pantomime is the amount of unadulterated Jew-hate that it has unearthed, both in below-the-line comments sections and in general.
The BBC hasn’t helped by narrowing the argument to a diversionary one, of semantics. ‘Did the former Mayor of London say that Hitler was a Zionist, or did he actually say that Hitler “supported” Zionism?’
Who cares? Lost amongst all this irrelevant dancing-on-heads-of-pins obfuscation is ‘context’.
Livingstone insists that his bizarre interpretations of the Ha’avara Agreement are “true” because they come from published material. The public might not know that the work he cites was penned by a tiny number of Marxist, anti-Zionist activists whose revisionist history is generally considered to be deeply flawed.
As far as I know, no-one from the BBC’s vast reservoir of experts has delved into that argument at all; certainly not in a sufficiently erudite fashion to persuade the public that it’s nonsense. It’s up to the Jews, apparently, to refute these unfounded theories for themselves, and ‘they would do that wouldn’t they’.
So the stench of an injustice - that Ken has been vilified for ‘telling the truth’ - ever-lingers.
To put paid to Livingstone’s loopy distortions once and for all, the BBC (as per its charter obligations to educate and inform) should immediately air legitimate, authoritative rebuttals such as those by Paul Bogdanor, which are perfectly accessible for those that care to look.
I suppose the BBC considers them too dry, too difficult and too demanding and not at all what the loony left and the anti-Zionists want to hear. They are “In our Time” territory at the very least.
“First, Hitler despised Zionism. In fact he ridiculed the idea as he was convinced that the Jews would be incapable of establishing and then defending a state. More importantly, he and his government viewed the prospect of a Jewish state in Palestine as part of the broader international Jewish conspiracy which his fevered imagination presented as a dire threat to Germany. While (after robbing them of most of their possessions) the Nazis did allow some German Jews to leave the country in the 1930s in order to travel to Palestine, that policy was primarily driven by a desire to get the Jews out of Germany rather than to build a Jewish state in Palestine.
By the late 1930s the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who later collaborated with the Nazis in wartime Berlin, had informed German diplomats stationed in Jerusalem that the entry of Jews into Palestine from Germany was angering local Arabs. For reasons of their own, the Nazis cut off Jewish emigration in 1941 to pursue their goal of murdering Europe’s Jews. This ignorance about the implications of the Holocaust is stunning.”
Defending himself during the Labour Party inquiry into his past statements about antisemitism, Ken Livingstone has unleashed a series of unfounded charges of “collaboration” between Jews and Nazis.
According to him, not only was there a deal with the Third Reich (the Transfer Agreement or Ha’avara), but the SS also established training camps for German Jews, Hitler passed a law permitting the flying of the Zionist flag, and the Nazis supplied weapons (Mauser pistols) to the Jewish underground.
All these claims are distortions or inventions. The Transfer Agreement, for example, allowed the salvaging of some German-Jewish assets from confiscation by Hitler’s regime while facilitating the rescue of many thousands of individuals. In his written submission to the Labour inquiry, Livingstone cites two sources on the agreement: one paper by Yf’aat Weiss and another by Francis Nicosia, who is also the author of two books examining the issue. Neither the papers nor Nicosia’s books endorse the “collaboration” fantasy.
“Brenner was born to an Orthodox Jewish family in 1937. By his teenage years, he was an atheist and a Marxist. In the 1960s he was arrested repeatedly for his activities in the civil rights movement and for marijuana possession, ultimately spending several years in prison. An acquaintance from those years remembered him as ‘a non-student “Marxist agitator” who would stand near the Bancroft strip and rail about the Pope, the Bay of Pigs, and marijuana, indifferent to the fact that most passersby thought he was “certifiably crazy”’ (Berkleyan, 2004).”
|Revisionist historian Lenni Brenner|
It shouldn’t really be necessary to have to rebut "Ken’s" theories at all. Why not? Because the all important context has been forgotten.
Don’t forget, the reason his opinion was sought in the first place was because of Naz Shah’s unfortunate reTweet, and also because of the spate of antisemitic comments made by several Labour MPs, which eventually forced Jeremy Corbyn into the disgraceful Shami Chakrabarti debacle.
It shouldn’t be necessary to remind anybody that Livingstone’s ridiculous TV and radio performances were specifically concocted to defend Naz Shah even after she had confessed to her own, allegedly inadvertent, antisemitism; she’d apologised profusely for it and made considerable effort to understand it.
I don’t care whether the Labour Party expels Ken Livingstone because Jeremy Corbyn’s hopeless leadership has rendered the Labour Party an irrelevance.
This particular episode together with numerous others, which Daphne Anson has neatly collated all but guarantees that “Ken” has made enough of a fool of himself to demolish what credibility he once had, and it looks as if he’s taking his racist followers with him. So, good.
I care more about the BBC’s duty to put things right. It must cease caving in to revisionists and distorters of history and it must replace nonsense with authentic historical data, tout suite. Pandering to Jew-hating Islam, for whatever reason, is wrong. By giving undue credibility to fools the BBC flaunts its own ineptitude.
Naz Shah has tweeted again. (Some of the replies are illuminating)
Naz Shah has tweeted again. (Some of the replies are illuminating)