Labour disciplinary panel accepts Ken Livingstone did not say Hitler was Zionist

[Image: BBC.]

See the headline? That’s the good news.

The bad news is, we all have to wait until Tuesday (April 4) to find out whether the disciplinary panel, convened by Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, believes he was wrong to defend MP Naz Shah after she was accused of anti-Semitism.

If the panel rules against him, it will put Labour in a position that is very difficult to defend, as Ms Shah was readmitted to the party last summer, within weeks of the allegation being made against her.

After the two-day hearing, Mr Livingstone told the BBC the hearing was “an amazing debate about the meaning of words. I feel now I could qualify for a degree”.

This rings true. When This Writer published a series of articles defending Mr Livingstone, Vox Political came under attack from detractors among the pro-Zionist lobby, most (if not all) of whom were keen to tell me the words he had used did not mean what he had clearly intended them to mean.

We have seen this in their actions since then, as well. The attacks on Momentum’s Jackie Walker were all about twisting her words, too. Read This Site’s articles on the subject for the facts.

Now Mr Livingstone says he is optimistic that Labour will not expel him for the crime of relating a historical fact during an interview. This is to be welcomed – but will Labour tighten up its rules to ensure that similar wild allegations cannot be made against others people who want the facts to be known?

Mr Livingstone made his comment about Hitler supporting German Zionists in an interview with Vanessa Feltz, when she had asked him to defend Naz Shah’s re-posting on Twitter of an image of a black man’s “mug shot” (taken by police after an alleged criminal offence) and the words “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal”.

What Ms Feltz either did not know or was not telling was that the man in the image was Martin Luther King, probably the most famous campaigner for civil rights of the 20th century, and his words were intended to show that, just because a government makes an act legal, it isn’t always right.

Ms Feltz had also attacked Ms Shah for retweeting a tongue-in-cheek image suggesting that Israel should be relocated to the United States of America. Again, she failed to mention the context: It had been suggested that Israel should forcibly move all Palestinians from their homes to either Jordan or Saudi Arabia and the image was intended to challenge those who would uproot Palestinians against their will whether they would want the same thing to happen to them.

Mr Livingstone responded by pointing out that Hitler had moved Jewish people from their homes in Germany to what was then known as British Mandate Palestine. He was saying there is a world of difference between making a satirical suggestion in response to an offensive one, and actually going through with what was suggested – with the power of a nation’s legislature to back it up.

Were the Nazis right to “transfer” (that was the word used for this forced deportation) Jewish Germans to Palestine? No – they were forcing people out of their homes and into an uncertain future. On that level, we can see that Mr Livingstone’s comment is in line with the sentiments expressed in both the images Ms Shah had retweeted.

Hindsight tells us that it was fortunate for those who did travel to Palestine, in the light of what happened to Jews who remained in Germany or who fell under the power of the Nazis, and we know that the German Zionists approached the Nazis with the plan to move people, precisely because they could see what was coming – and also because it suited their own plan to re-settle the Holy Land.

It was an occasion in which Hitler’s desires and those of the Zionists coincided – although for entirely different reasons. But the fact remains that Hitler was supporting the Zionists – on that occasion and in that way.

Finally, Mr Livingstone is right in his assertion that he never said Hitler himself was a Zionist. In fact, he said, “Hitler was a mad anti-Zionist; his policy was to kill all Jews.”

Following Friday’s hearing, Mr Livingstone said it was nonsense to suggest he ever said Hitler was a Zionist.

“They now accept I didn’t say it,” he said.

“The only issue is, was it right to defend Naz Shah? And I was simply saying Naz Shah isn’t anti-Semitic.

“If she was anti-Semitic, they wouldn’t have readmitted her to the Labour Party.”

On the subject of Ms Shah, many people have taken the fact that she apologised for her tweets as an admission of intentional anti-Semitism. This is not true.

In another tweet, asking people to respond to a poll by John Prescott on whether Israel was committing war crimes (in 2014, before she became an MP), Ms Shah had tweeted, “The Jews are rallying,” meaning she believed supporters of Israel were flooding the poll with responses in the hope of skewing the result.

It was wrong for her to have said “Jews” were doing this, and that is what she acknowledged in her apology. She said: “I fully acknowledge that I have made a mistake and I wholeheartedly apologise for the words I used.” She was not admitting any deep-seated problem – and her actions as an MP have shown that she believes anti-Semitism is racism and has a personal commitment to support relationships between people of all faiths.

In the light of the above, will Labour’s disciplinary panel make the correct decision?

We must wait and see.

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14 thoughts on “Labour disciplinary panel accepts Ken Livingstone did not say Hitler was Zionist

  1. Roland Laycock

    Now the people that brought this complaint should be suspended for making nasty allegations without either knowing the fact or to bring Ken’s name into disrepute either way they should be made to pay for what they have done, they should make a public apology to Ken for starters.

  2. aunty1960

    This is why I think Labour is a Lost Cause, I know you are still diehard in defending and standing up for Party, no matter what, Party First is the mantra.

    But only the blind do not open their eyes, look at all the shenanighans? Purging, Lying, Blacking members names and reputations, taking money in millions, then paying off debts of over ten years or defending right to take money and vote off people.

    I do not agree with Ken and Jeremy and John on lots of things but at least they know their stuff and are educated.

    I know what Ken said and what he meant, I know the image Naz Shah shared. I know what Walker was trying to say.

    We are not thick or stupid. But Labour hates the intelligent, likes to attack and malign and destroy peoples reputations and twist what they said or meant.

    Lost cause I am not banging my head against it, about time decent people stood on their own and made things apart. dont trust your world, life or family with this lot or nation or economy, they are all in it for themselves, or they would care, not nitpick over nothing. and try and catch people out. spiteful little twisters.

    Good for Ken that he is strong enough.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The issues that you raise are not pan-Labour problems; they are to do with a very tiny minority of very vocal people in the Labour organisation.
      I agree with many people on This Site who believe those people should be removed from positions of authority in the party as they do not represent the majority.
      Please stop associating Labour with these individuals.

  3. Ratbag

    There’s more to the background of the relocation tweet. I had a link to the original somewhere but cannot find it now. My memory tells me it was taken from a post on the website of a rather controversial Jewish writer/ journalist?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Yes – some would have you believe that it was created by anti-Semites and so should be discounted.
      But the reason for its creation is as I described.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The Independent came to Norman Finkelstein through This Site – but he didn’t create the image.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The Independent came to Norman Finkelstein through This Site – but he didn’t create the image.

  4. Zippi

    Hurrah! Is Vanessa going to be made to answer for her incitement of racial hatred, and defamation of character? She inflamed the entire affair and continued to pour fuel onto the fire for a week! Opportunist! She, also, hadn’t done her homework with regard to the Naz Shah affair, on which she had based her programme! She was putting words into other people’s mouths, broadcasting inaccuracies and outright lies. Gross misrepresentation of the facts!

  5. Susanna Brookes

    Another push polling explosion by the Right of the Party all ready for the local elections.

  6. Joanne Hughes

    we need to get rid of the undemocratic minority in the party, until we do I can’t see labour achieving much. Problem is the few are in the main well heeled and in positions of authority.

Comments are closed.