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Ken Livingstone and antisemitism

(83 Posts)
Flashbangandgone Fri 29-Apr-16 07:08:43

Aibu to not understand why KL's comments that Hitler was a Zionist in the early 30s mean KL is racist? Surely he was referring to the Haavara Agreement that encouraged Jews to move to Palestine to create their own community leaving Europe 'ethnically cleansed'.

I can't see how referring to this fact of history makes someone racist and antisemitic?!?
It seems as though the Labour Party, understandably hyper-sensitive about any whiff of antisemitism, and not knowing the history of the early Nazi state, and interpreted KLs comments as pro-Hitler, which i just don't see. It all appears to be a knee jerk hysterical reaction to me and unfair on KL... Or have I missed something?

Maybe KL was wrong to brand Hitler a Zionist, but this just makes him wrong, not racist.

Ipigglemustdie Fri 29-Apr-16 07:16:39

Yanbu but flame proof hat and all that...

VulcanWoman Fri 29-Apr-16 07:30:28

Why is he bringing the subject of Hitler up in the first place. He's an idiot.

SurferJet Fri 29-Apr-16 07:31:36

I was half listening to C4 news last night & I'm sure an historian said KL was right in what he said - but I could be wrong.

Osolea Fri 29-Apr-16 07:36:38


Squeegle Fri 29-Apr-16 07:38:57

He was right. And I don't think he is racist. But Vulcan is right, he is an idiot for bringing in hitler's name. He should know better, it's obviously very inflammatory. He's been suspended for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute not for racist comments.

BabyGanoush Fri 29-Apr-16 07:41:04

Because he had already written what he would really do to Jews (hang them all) in the 20s

And because KL said "before he (Hitler) went mad", which is a weird frivolous turn of phrase to use in the context of the Holocaust.

As if Hitler was an ok chap who unfortunately got a bit mad and created concentration camps.

It is insensitive and makes light of the Holocaust and therefore can be seen as antisemitic.

Birdsgottafly Fri 29-Apr-16 07:42:20

Surfer, I watched the same program. He did say that KL was correct in that Hitlers plan, in 1932, followed that of a Zionist.

The issue was that KL described Hitler as a Zionist (I heard a clip where he did this), which isn't correct.

You've got to take in account of the Progoms happening across Europe, around that time. Jewish people were raped and killed in the streets, by their neighbours, before the Nazi party came into power.

I think that calling him a Holocaust apologist was a bit far, though.

Anyone knows that when discussing any situation (I'm thinking how to word this) that involves anyone Jewish, bringing Hitlers name into the mix, isn't a good idea.

But to tweet it, makes it a Career suicide.

It's come at an opportune moment, when every Tory position is being asked to Appologise, including DC, over past comments, telling the Hillsbourgh families, to give up and accept the original verdict.

CoolforKittyCats Fri 29-Apr-16 07:42:56


grinkle Fri 29-Apr-16 07:44:08

No, KL was wrong. Here are two very eminent historians explaining why:

But that won't stop the vile anti-Semites who want to make political capital by deliberately drawing comparisons between Nazism and Zionism in it from revelling in KL's claims though, obviously.

grinkle Fri 29-Apr-16 07:45:27

Let's do that again, with working links this time:

TheNaze73 Fri 29-Apr-16 07:48:17


SaucyJack Fri 29-Apr-16 07:48:34

No, I don't see how Hitler could've been a Zionist meself- even tho he may well have incidentally supported the Zionist movement as it furthered his own racist agenda.

He just wanted them the fuck out of Germany. I highly, highly doubt he gave a shit about the cultural and emotional significance of the Jewish diaspora returning to their homeland.

And yes, KL is a dick for mentioning Hitler at all.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Fri 29-Apr-16 07:48:46

Hitler's policy was to get rid of Jews to Israel away from their homes in Europe. He clearly was not Jewish himself and was not promoting the Zionist idea of a Jewish homeland in Israel to protect and suppot Jewish religion and culture. Zionists are by definition Jews who want such a homeland.

Given what Hitler did to the Jews in World War 2 it is highly offensive and inflammatory for Livingstone to call him a Zionist. Hitler's idea of a homeland came from marginalising Jews and hatred of their culture. The opposite of Zionism.

grinkle Fri 29-Apr-16 07:48:49

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Ricardian Fri 29-Apr-16 07:50:58

Surely he was referring to the Haavara Agreement that encouraged Jews to move to Palestine

"Hitler: I preferred his earlier work" and "he only started killing Jews after he was rebuffed in being nice to them" are the stuff of David Irving "history" books.

And leaving aside the history, could you remind me why a member of Labour's NEC felt the need to react to the done, dusted and closed for the news cycle suspension of a no-mark backbencher few outside the politically obsessive had heard of, by embarking upon a defence of Adolf Hitler (his earlier work only, of course, including Mein Kampf, 1925) in three broadcasting studios escalating from local radio, to an obsessives' TV show, to the World At One?

Imagine for the sake of argument that his historical facts are accurate (and as Simon Scharma points out, "In 1941 an Einsatzkommando unit, led by Walther Rauff specialist in gassing vans was sent to Afrika Korps with brief to deal with Palestine"): why would defending Hitler's record on national TV on the basis of this be good electoral politics, days before major elections?

lavenderdoilly Fri 29-Apr-16 07:55:16

He's an experienced politician with the leader's ear. Using the clunky wording he used "Hitler went a bit mad after he was elected " is not worthy of a person such alleged standing in the party. If it was used on here it would be seen as goady and would probably get taken down. And this is all in the context of Naz Shah failing to see two years' ago how "deport Israel to America. Problem solved" could be offensive. These are professional politicians who are too lazy to speak thoughtfully. This kind of insensitivity used about any other ethnic group would be stamped out in the Labour Party - let's say pre Good Friday Agreement - "send all irish descent people back to Ireland to protect us from the IRA. Problem solved " "Let's return all Ulster Protestants back to Scotland and give the six counties to the Republic. Problem solved". Of course you wouldn't say these things or try to defend any idiot saying it. Because it is racist and sick.This is the equivalent of Naz Shah and KL.

Birdsgottafly Fri 29-Apr-16 08:00:01

He needed to go and he's gone.

He hasn't sounded rational or quite a while.

I've often listened to him and George Galloway and thought, "how are they getting away with stating what their views are?".

kesstrel Fri 29-Apr-16 08:08:53

Don't forget the time 10 years ago when Livingstone effectively compared his own personal persecution by the right wing press to the Holocaust, in order to justify having told a Jewish reporter that he was "just like a concentration camp guard".

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 29-Apr-16 08:21:40

Yabu, Livingstone is wrong.

Ricardian Fri 29-Apr-16 08:28:49

I've often listened to him and George Galloway

Galloway is just straightforwardly anti-Semitic.

In Livingstone's case, as I've said elsewhere, he appears to be a man in his seventies showing obvious early signs of dementia. He probably always thought these things, but was smart enough to shut up about them. Over on "Relationships", a common question when people's ageing parents start to become unusually aggressive or difficult is to get dementia screening, as the loss of that filter between your first thought and your first words spoken is an early symptom. This is the second time: the row he got into over calling people "mentally unwell" had the same tendency: a throwaway comment on local radio that he was unable to row back and just pushed on blindly, digging a deeper and deeper hole for himself.

Is Livingstone an anti-Semitic holocaust apologist? Probably not, although he's too relaxed about people who are. What he is, however, is an auto-didact with the auto-didact's confidence in their limited reading of tertiary sources, and filtering of those to match their preconceptions. I once heard a skinhead on a train giving his friend a history of the middle East (the punchline, of course, being that the Jews control the world) which had that property we now call truthiness. He was able to cite all sorts of agreements and events which it would take a semester to explain, a lifetime to understand, of which his audience knew nothing. The speaker knew almost nothing as well, but was able to give a fluent account untroubled by nuance or context, which sounded superficially convincing. I'd be willing to be convinced that Livingstone doesn't really idolise Hitler (although claiming that there's a "before" and "after" "going mad" about the holocaust is straight from the Irving playbook which admits the holocaust but claims Hitler, proud and upright, didn't have anything to do with it and that it was a Thomas-a-Beckett type over-delivery by his insubordinate subordinates) but he simply doesn't have the intellectual skills to make his point clearly enough to engage with.

Hitler stated repeatedly, in Mein Kampf and elsewhere, that the demand for a Jewish homeland in Palestine was a dishonest attempt by world Jewry to obtain a base for later plots and schemes. There was a half-hearted scheme to deport Jews to Palestine if they left all their belongings behind, but it was only the British victory at El Alamein which stopped the Nazis from moving into Palestine, as they had moved into Russia, systematically killing Jews. So those that might, in Livingstone's telling, might have escaped in 1932 would have been killed in 1941 without the intervention of the British 8th Army.

Coming next: Franz Rademacher was a proto-Zionist, because he only wanted to deport Jews to Madagascar.

BillSykesDog Fri 29-Apr-16 08:53:39

The thing is, the Labour Party (and particularly the type of people who are moaning about this) have nobody to blame for this but themselves, they created the situation where this could happen.

The Labour Party have spent the last 20 years assiduously policing language looking for signs of real or perceived racism, seizing on slightly off colour or controversial remarks in order to make capital against their political enemies. They don't get to opt out of their own game when it suits them.

Also a Labour MP made a very good point about hierarchies of racism. Many Labour figures (including KL) have created hierarchies of racism which are racist in themselves. A case of 'you may not criticise/offend race/religion A because I approve of them personally, but you may criticise/offend race/religion B because I disapprove of some of them'.

Islam are very much 'A' in this case. The left are hyper sensitive to criticism of Islam and at even criticism of ISIS can be labelled as Islamaphobic. Yet Judaism are 'B' and seen as fair game for the same sort of criticism or offence which would not be tolerated against 'A'.

Creating a hierarchy which gives special privileges and protection to one favoured group against another is in itself racist.

And as I said, when you start the game of witch hunting and punishing any sort of controversial comment which skates close to the line of racism or even passes over it, you can't change the rules or back out when the same rules start being applied to yourself.

TremoloGreen Fri 29-Apr-16 10:12:16

I'm shocked by this thread. You can't see what is anti semitic about saying hitler was a zionist? I understand that the original keaning of Zionism has been conflated with aggressive expansionism by the State of Israel (wonder why??) but I can only assume this thread is deliberate trolling. Like Ken Livingstone and Naz Shah, you are an absolute disgrace OP.

minipie Fri 29-Apr-16 10:20:23

I don't understand why it makes KL antisemitic either.

It's factually wrong, obviously. It's also offensive, because it ignores what Hitler really thought of and did to Jews. And it's a really stupid thing for him to have said.

But I don't see why it means KL is antisemitic. He's not saying or implying anything negative about Judaism or Jewish people. Or is he? What am I missing?

howtorebuild Fri 29-Apr-16 10:23:24

It appears the mob rules and opinion is no longer acceptable.

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