Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Ken Livingstone “really sorry” for “upsetting people” – but defends remarks about Hitler and Zionism. as a “statement of fact”.

with 16 comments

Always Pleased with Himself.


Asked if he was sorry, Mr Livingstone said: “I’m sorry to Jeremy and to the Labour Party,” but followed it up with saying, “It wasn’t me that started this.”

Asked if he regretted his comments, he said: “How can I regret stating the truth.”

Offering a rather qualified apology for his remarks, he said: “I’m sorry that I’ve said that because I’ve wasted all this time.” He says he wants the focus to be on the upcoming elections.


Ken Livingstone uses a RAPE comparison when asked about Labour suspension

Ken Livingstone remained defiant over the Labour anti-Semitism row he fuelled – and used a rape comparison when asked about his suspension from the party.

He said: “If a woman turns up at a police station and says, ‘I’ve been raped’, the police have to investigate that.

“And as I’m on the national executive that oversees those investigations, you understand that person should be suspended.

“Given a lot of Labour MPs are accusing me of being anti-Semitic, that’s really something the party has to investigate.”

Livingstone’s narcissistic ‘politics’ have now reached their terminus.

Anybody wishing to go further into this topic – there is also a rebuttal of Livingstone’s source Brenner on Facebook by Jewish Socialist leaders – should read begin with these contributions:

Timothy Snyder, Yale University history professor and author of Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (2015)  BBC.

It is inconceivable that Hitler could have wanted to move Jews to Israel, because there was no such place in 1932.

Using the word “Israel” when what is meant was “the British mandate of Palestine” has the unfortunate consequence of stripping away the actual historical context and putting the words “Hitler” and “Israel” in the same sentence.

Hitler was not a supporter of Zionism.

He believed, on the contrary, that Zionism was one of many deliberately deceptive labels that Jews placed upon what he believed to be their endless striving for global power and the extermination of the human species.

‘Categorically false’

From Hitler’s point of view, Jews were precisely not normal human beings because they did not care about territory, but cared only about global domination.

“He was supporting Zionism” is categorically false and reveals a total and fundamental misunderstanding of what Hitler’s anti-Semitism was all about.

Tens of thousands of German Jews did emigrate to Palestine before British policy made this all but impossible. And some German officials did take an interest in Zionism. But there was never a German policy to support Zionism or a future Israel.

On the contrary, the German orientation in the Middle East was to support Arab nationalism. The official German policy, enunciated clearly in 1937, was to oppose the creation of a State of Israel.

‘Logically inconceivable’

Before, during and after 1932, Hitler referred to the Jews as a problem for the entire world, not simply for Germany.

When the Holocaust took place, the vast majority of Jews killed were people who lived beyond Germany.

Both in theory and in practice, Hitler’s extermination of Jews was international, applied to millions of people. For this reason as well, it is logically inconceivable that his ideas could ever have been limited to sending German Jews to Palestine.

Well before 1932, in his book Mein Kampf, Hitler had made clear that the Jews were, in his view, a “spiritual pestilence” that had to be removed from the face of the earth in order to rescue the human species, the natural order of the planet, and God’s creation.

It was not clear just how this could be carried out; but there is no sense in which the idea of deporting Jews to Palestine is sufficient to this vision.


Ken Livingstone, Lenni Brenner, and Historical Distortions: A Case Study Paul Bogdanor.

Just to cite one passage:

The picture painted by Brenner is one of reactionary Ukrainian pogromists gaining the full collaboration of the Zionists. But the facts are as follows: the Ukrainian nationalists came to power on a socialist and inclusive platform; but the Zionists anticipated pogroms and tried to prevent them, while boycotting the government blamed for the subsequent atrocities. Brenner’s brief treatment of these events is a tissue of distortions and falsehoods.

Brenner is a propagandist, not a historian, and only a fool or a knave would rely on his books.

Labour antisemitism row: there was nothing Zionist about Hitler’s plans for the Jews  Professor of Modern European History; General Editor “The Holocaust in History and Memory”, University of Essex.

Again to quote some passages,

The Nazis’ plans for “concentrating” Jews in specific territories, be they Palestine or Madagascar, had nothing whatsoever to do with self-determination. These were expressions of the complete opposite: the use of force to strip Jews of all their rights, property and dignity.

As was proved by the establishment of the General Government in central Poland in October 1939, the Nazis were not in the least concerned that the territories where they intended to “concentrate” Jews were in a position to help their populations sustain themselves. They were looking for dumping grounds for Jews and other “undesirables”. These people were at best treated as ‘assets’ to exploit or, later, a stock of slave labour, and at worst simply expected to die of disease and starvation.

Any claim that Nazis and Zionists ever shared a common goal is not only cynical and disingenuous, but a distortion of clearly established historical fact.

We wonder how Livingstone – not to mention others, such as George Galloway,  square up to this (Wikipedia):

From late 1944, Joseph Stalin adopted a pro-Zionist foreign policy, apparently believing that the new country would be socialist and would speed the decline of British influence in the Middle East. Accordingly, in November 1947, the Soviet Union, together with the other Soviet bloc countries voted in favour of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine,[which paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel. On May 17, 1948, three days after Israel declared its independence, the Soviet Union officially granted de jure recognition of Israel, becoming only the second country to recognise the Jewish state (preceded only by the United States’ de facto recognition) and the first country to grant Israel de jure recognition.

Golda Meir was appointed Israel’s minister plenipotentiary to the Soviet Union, with her term beginning on 2 September 1948 and ending in March, 1949. During her brief stint in the USSR, Meir attended Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services at the Moscow Choral Synagogue.

In addition to the diplomatic support, arms from Czechoslovakia, part of the Soviet bloc, were crucial to Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. During the war, the Soviet Union supported Israel when it was attacked by Arab countries that opposed the 1947 United Nations General Assembly resolution for the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.

Detailed articlesThe forgotten alliance. The establishment of Israel owes much to the Soviet Union and the wide range of support — diplomatic, demographic and military — it offered the young state. Michel Réal.  (Quand l’Union soviétique parrainait Israël. Michel Réal . Le Monde Diplomatique September 2014.)  Aux origines du soutien soviétique à Israël. Gabriel Gorodetsky. le Monde Diplomatique February 2016.


Written by Andrew Coates

April 30, 2016 at 11:39 am

16 Responses

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  1. Dean

    April 30, 2016 at 2:20 pm

  2. More: Letter on anti-Zionism.

    Introduction by Ross Wolfe: “I feel this text raises legitimate points against the facile Manichaean narrative on the left which holds Zionism to be the latest embodiment of pure Evil in the world, while all who oppose it valiantly serve the cause of the Good..”

    Letter on anti-Zionism R.F. (pseudonym) Il Lato Cattivo
    July 19, 2014



    Andrew Coates

    April 30, 2016 at 4:25 pm

  3. So now it’s overt anti-Semitism from Galloway supporters.

    Andrew Coates

    April 30, 2016 at 4:51 pm

  4. […] disruption it caused. But he would not apologize for what he actually said, since it was supposedly a statement of fact. Livingstone even invoked the work of the American Trotskyist Lenni Brenner as proof of his […]

    Reflections on Left antisemitism | The Charnel-House

    April 30, 2016 at 8:33 pm

  5. Dean

    May 1, 2016 at 3:52 pm

  6. Galloway is completely correct.


    May 1, 2016 at 10:13 pm

  7. […] disruption it caused. But he would not apologize for what he actually said, since it was supposedly a statement of fact. Livingstone even invoked the work of the American Trotskyist Lenni Brenner as proof of his […]

    Opportunistic accusations of antisemitism | The Charnel-House

    May 2, 2016 at 7:56 am

  8. Another day, another Labour antisemite:


    As well as supporting the relocation of Jews to the USA, and propagating the Blood Libel, he cites and endorses this:

    “Was there any form of filth or crime… without at least one Jew involved.”

    Fancy that.

    And yesterday, Dear Leader Corbyn addressed comrades from Harpal Brar’s Holocaust-‘revisionist’ and North Korea fans the CPGB-ML.

    Labour: the party that just keeps shooting itself in the foot. And blaming the Jews for it.


    May 2, 2016 at 2:33 pm

  9. Sorry, correction:

    It’s TWO Labour councillors today, not one. Of course, that number may need revising before midnight.

    The second one is Salim Mulla, who said last year that it was ‘bloody obvious’ that Israel is behind ISIS, and this January sent an antisemitic email to 63 of his colleagues, none of whom protested.


    May 2, 2016 at 2:41 pm

  10. Shocking, isn’t it? There’s racism everywhere. Why, I heard that a couple of weeks ago the Deputy Chair of Bradford Conservatives was suspended for anti-semitism (although strangely only the Jewish Chronicle has reported on this) and just the other day there was some arsepiece on here ranting about banning Bangladeshis from entering the UK.


    May 2, 2016 at 7:54 pm

  11. “Why, I heard that a couple of weeks ago the Deputy Chair of Bradford Conservatives was suspended for anti-semitism”

    Quite rightly. And it wasn’t followed up by a stream of apologists insisting that he was merely criticising Israel and that it was all part of a plot against Cameron by ‘Zionists’.

    Was it?

    That is the difference – apart from the massive disparity in numbers of cases of antisemitism, the Tory wankers don’t immediately fly into defensive, self-pitying, ‘it’s all a conspiracy against us, oh look over there!’ mode.

    Re the Bangladeshis, not all of them, just heterosexual Sunni males, who are the demographic responsible for all the misery in Bangladesh.

    And now there have been three Labour councillors suspended in one day.

    I don’t give a damn about any party getting slated for its faults – be it Labour, Tories, Lib Dems, UKIP, Nats of any kind etcetera. If they deserve it, they get it. You appear to be so tribally defensive of Labour that you can’t accept that it’s got a big problem and that unless it faces that, rather than engaging in whataboutery, it is dong itself and society no favours, and possibly harm.

    You don’t seem to be able to accept that criticism of Labour can exist without having some deep-seated party political motivation. Well it can. I used to vote Labour, and I have never brought myself to vote Tory. But I am not going to vote Labour while it is in this state. And it is a state that it has brought upon itself. It’s not all a horrid conspiracy by the Blairites or the Tories or whoever.

    There are more important things at stake here than the Labour Party or Corbyn’s leadership, or how Labour’s political opponents exploit this, or how nasty some of the right wing press are, or how the Mail supported Hitler in the 1930s so that it somehow all evens out. It is 2016. This is all against a backdrop of rising antisemitic attacks in the UK (a 26% rise from 2014-15). That’s more important than your hurt feelings about seeing Labour criticised.


    May 2, 2016 at 8:31 pm

  12. “And it wasn’t followed up by a stream of apologists insisting that he was merely criticising Israel and that it was all part of a plot against Cameron by ‘Zionists’.”

    Yes, as it was only mentioned in the JC, and ignored by all the other media. Do keep up.

    “apart from the massive disparity in numbers of cases of antisemitism”

    Perhaps, just perhaps, because there isn’t a concerted campaign to identify them by the Labour Party and the media. Although I’m certain for the sake of impartiality the people at Order Order have been feverishly scanning the Twitter feeds of Tory activists, haven’t they?

    “Re the Bangladeshis, not all of them, just heterosexual Sunni males, who are the demographic responsible for all the misery in Bangladesh.”

    You do realise that identifying a “demographic” as “responsible for misery” is pretty much dictionary definition racism, don’t you? As such, your comments are worse than Livingstone’s, foul as they were. Even he didn’t go that far.

    “You don’t seem to be able to accept that criticism of Labour can exist without having some deep-seated party political motivation.”

    I have criticised Livingstone, I have criticised Shah. I believe they were rightly suspended and I support an enquiry. Your dishonest and hypocritical shrieking is not measured or proportionate, however, and clearly stems from political bias rather than any earnestly held principles.

    “I am not going to vote Labour while it is in this state.”

    A statement that relies on the absurd idea that all this has happened under Corbyn, whereas the majority of instances were before then. At the same time the Conservatives were engaging in dogwhistle anti-semitism regarding Miliband. I’m sure that got you angry enough to spout invective on the internet. I’d love to see your evidence.

    By the way, Naz Shah supported Yvette Cooper in the leadership election, so there’s that.


    May 2, 2016 at 10:32 pm

  13. I could not agree with you more Makhno.

    By contrast these are some serious reflections on the controversy:

    Why the Left must stop talking about ‘Zionism’. Jon Lansman.


    Reflections on Left antisemitism. Ross Wolfe.


    Andrew Coates

    May 3, 2016 at 10:13 am

  14. It’s time to see this nonsense for what it is. It’s not about a groundswell of anti-Semitism within Labour. There isn’t one. Jewish people are not cowering in fear of baying mobs of schoolteachers and social workers roaming the streets wearing red rosettes at election time. No, it’s about scuppering Corbyn (for the Labour right), or scuppering Labour as a whole (for the wider right). Alleged “anti-Semitism” has been hit upon as a perfect vehicle for this campaign. The enthusiasm of many on the left for the Palestinian cause has necessarily meant that many Labour figures have shared platforms with people whose views on other questions may be reactionary. Likewise, opposition to the Blairites’ passion for aggressive wars in the Middle East has meant that platforms have been shared with some of the people being bombed, not all of whom would pass a diversity awareness test first time.
    The scupper Corbyn campaign is going very well. Labour figures are blundering into the traps set for them right, centre and, particularly left. Ken Livingstone gives a garbled précis of a Trotskyist tract on the links between the Nazis and certain Zionists, and presto! – the man is a “Nazi apologist”. Corbyn’s in a double-bind here. KL plainly does not have any problem with Jews as such, for all his hostility to the Israeli state and his politician’s failure to grasp historical nuance. But if KL is expelled, this will be taken as confirmation that there is this huge problem with “anti-Semitism” within Labour, there will be ructions within the party from KL’s sympathisers, and the scupper Corbyn campaign will move on to its next quarry. And if KL isn’t expelled, then the scupper Corbyn campaign will get even shriller and more hysterical about JC’s softness on alleged “anti-Semites” and “Nazi apologists”.
    It suits the right (and Israel’s supporters and apologists) to link hostility to Israel on the left with Nazism, just as it suits some on the left to flag up affinities between Nazism and Zionism, such as the 2 movements’ shared hostility to Jewish assimilation. But Nazi ideas – that Jews are a race apart – have little to do with this. Quite the opposite. The favourite comparison by left-wing “anti-Zionists” is between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa. In that presentation, the Israelis stand in for the South African whites, the Palestinians for the blacks, and it’s another case of European racism and colonialism. All the time Israel continues its current policies in the occupied West Bank, that narrative will not lose its appeal on the left. So if a favourable attitude to Israel is allowed to become the criterion for not being “anti-Semitic”, the left can be tarred with that brush indefinitely. It also makes the whole concept of anti-Semitism meaningless, but that’s a different question.
    In all probability, this campaign will sink Corbyn. It’s a clever one which can rely on lots of media coverage. But it will take his party down with it.


    May 3, 2016 at 11:11 am

  15. Andrew Coates

    May 4, 2016 at 1:16 pm

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