This story will get skewed by those with particular – shall we say – interests, so let’s see what sense we can make of it:
Ken Livingstone will not be seeking re-election to Labour’s National Executive Committee when polling takes place in June.
Having been suspended from the party, he said it was unlikely the inquiry into whether he had brought Labour into disrepute would be concluded in time for the election.
His place on the ballot papers will be taken by Rhea Wolfson, a left-wing activist and Jewish Scot who has his full support.
Those who still think that Livingstone is an anti-Semite may be suffering cognitive dissonance right about now. Yes, he supports everybody on what’s being called the “left slate” of candidates. No, he really isn’t an anti-Semite.
The Guardian‘s article quotes him as saying he believes Blairites (like, presumably, John Mann, who made a spectacle of both of them on a BBC stairwell, erroneously accusing Livingstone of re-writing history) wanted him suspended in order to keep him off the NEC.
He said that, in effect, he was being penalised when nobody had yet proved him guilty of wrong-doing: “Someone in the Labour bureaucracy doesn’t seem to believe in being innocent until proven guilty.”
So the issue was never anti-Semitism; it was an attempt by the Blairite right to take back some power, using Labour’s internal mechanisms.
Isn’t this exactly the sort of “inward-looking” against which Sadiq Khan was warning only a few days ago?
Oh, and take note that the Graun misrepresents the accusations against Livingstone twice; first he is said to claim that Hitler was a supporter of Zionism (meaning, we are led to assume, Zionism in general terms), then he is said to have claimed that Hitler himself was a Zionist. He did neither.
In fact, Livingstone said that Hitler supported German Zionists in their plan to have German Jews transported to what was then Palestine. In that sense, he supported Zionism. It was the only example he quoted and there is no reason to believe he meant it in any other way.
With disinformation like this flying around every time Livingstone is mentioned in print, what chance does he have of a fair hearing?
Ken Livingstone, who was suspended by Labour for claiming that Hitler was a supporter of Zionism, is giving up his position on the party’s ruling body.
The former London mayor was supposed to be one of six key supporters of Jeremy Corbyn who planned to stand for the national executive committee.
But following discussions among fellow Corbynites, he has been dropped from the slate in favour of the leftwing activist Rhea Wolfson, he told the Guardian.
The decision means Livingstone has effectively given up his most influential role within the Labour party.
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