Livingstone & anti-Semitism

Issue section: 

Following on from my article on anti-Semitism in September’s SR, a few words on Ken Livingstone. The Independent of 6 September quotes him as saying, “It’s now four months since I’ve been suspended and I’m still waiting for the committee to sit down and decide whether what I said was true or not, and I think…the reason they keep putting me off is because I’ve got so much evidence that what I was saying is true.”

Livingstone was suspended for saying that Hitler had supported Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews”. US academic Francis Nicosia describes how in 1935 Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazis’ security service chief, wrote in the SS newspaper: “the recognition of Jewry as a racial community…leads the German government to guarantee the racial separateness of this community… The government finds itself in complete agreement with…Zionism.”

But by 1937 the Nazis had become opposed to the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine because it would become a universally-recognised power base for international Jewry.

Livingstone’s remark was historically correct, if only partially accurate; his intervention was perhaps ill-judged but he can hardly be branded an anti-Semite or Nazi apologist, as Labour MP John Mann slanderously declared.

Sabby Sagall