Former London mayor: It’s not antisemitic to hate Jews of Israel
London – Ken Livingstone has stoked the Labour Party’s festering antisemitism row by dismissing it as ‘lies and smears’ peddled by ‘ghastly old Blairites’.
Mr Livingstone – who was suspended in 2016 for claiming that Hitler had supported Zionism – told a meeting of pro-Corbyn activists that he had been victimised by ‘the elite’, who were trying to stop Mr Corbyn becoming Prime Minister.
Mr Livingstone, who quit the party last year, told a meeting of Labour Against The Witchhunt last week that he had fallen victim to a ‘Labour machine’ run by Blairites.
He added: ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s office did not want it to happen. It was about distracting … this is endemic if you have a genuine socialist leader who is going to transform things for ordinary people and make the bloody corporations pay their fair share of tax – they will do whatever is necessary to stop you.
‘And that means lies and smears in most of the West. In other parts of the world it can mean assassination.’
The former Mayor of London continued: ‘It’s not antisemitic to hate the Jews of Israel and you can’t have a proper functioning democracy in a world in which the media, whether it’s the press or internet, can just spread lie after lie after lie.
‘I mean it was outrageous because it was still – and this was Jeremy’s big problem – a Labour machine controlled by all the ghastly old Blairites, convinced Jeremy was going to lead us to a wipeout, doing everything possible to get rid of him, and that’s what has fuelled all this stuff about antisemitism.
‘At that stage, 80 per cent of Labour MPs thought we’d be wiped out at the next Election. They didn’t believe Jeremy and his policies would connect with people.
‘And so that was the first time I started to hear accusations about antisemitism in the Labour Party.
‘The simple fact is, the elite will do everything to stop Jeremy getting into Government, because they look at [Shadow Chancellor] John McDonnell and think that bugger’s going to stop all our tax dodging in the Cayman Islands.
‘I get a phone call saying that I’ve been suspended from the Labour Party by the General Secretary… the debate was apparently going on horrendously because Jeremy’s office didn’t want this to happen, but Jeremy had no control over the disciplinary structure.’
After claiming that Hitler supported Zionism before he went mad, Mr Livingstone quit the Labour Party last year, saying that the row over his comments had become a distraction.