Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ken Triggers New Anti-Semitism Row; Labour Faces Calls to Expel Former Mayor after 'Hitler' Outburst on Radio Corbyn Accused over 'Anti-Semitic Demons'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ken Triggers New Anti-Semitism Row; Labour Faces Calls to Expel Former Mayor after 'Hitler' Outburst on Radio Corbyn Accused over 'Anti-Semitic Demons'

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy, Joseph Watts and Pippa Crerar

KEN LIVINGSTONE today faced moves to expel him from Labour after he plunged the party into a new anti-Semitism row.

The former Mayor of London spoke of a "well-orchestrated campaign" by "the Israel lobby" in comments that immediately provoked a wave of criticism. He said Adolf Hitler was "supporting Zionism" before he "went mad and ended up killing six million Jews". Labour's current mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan led calls for him to be kicked out of the party. Mr Khan tweeted: "Ken Livingstone's comments are appalling and inexcusable. There must be no place for this in our party."

Mr Livingstone deepened the crisis by telling the Evening Standard later that he stood by his comments. He said defiantly: "What's wrong with the remarks I made? Is it insensitive to look at history?" But his remarks caused outrage among MPs and heaped embarrassment on party leader Jeremy Corbyn already on the rack for failing to crack down on perceived anti-Semitism in Labour's ranks.

The row comes less than 24 hours after Labour MP Naz Shah was suspended over offensive social media posts.

Mr Livingstone told BBC Radio London he had never heard anyone in the party say anything anti-Semitic. Then he went on: "Let's remember, when Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.

"There has been a very well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticises Israeli policy as anti-Semitic.

"I had to put up with 35 years of this, being denounced because back in 1981 we were campaigning to say the Labour Continued on Page 4 Continued from Page 1 Party should recognise the Palestine Liberation Organisation."

Labour MP Jess Phillips immediately tweeted that Mr Livingstone "must be suspended from the Labour Party".

Ex-frontbencher John Woodcock said: "Ken Livingstone must be suspended for this. He must actively be seeking suspension and notoriety with these remarks. Well said Sadiq. Livingstone chairs Labour's international policy commission. This cannot go on."

Labour MP John Mann reportedly told Mr Livingstone: "You are a f***ing disgrace." Frontbencher Chris Bryant said in the Commons: "Anti-Semitism is wrong. And yes I am talking to you Ken Livingstone."

MP Wes Streeting, who wants the party to take action to stamp out anti-Semitic behaviour, said: "Ken Livingstone has form on anti-Semitism and has been tolerated for far too long. He should be suspended immediately.

"Decent Labour members need to decide how to respond to anti-Semitism within our ranks. Silence is complicity. …

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