Ed Miliband knew Livingstone was an anti-Semitic conspiracy nutter FOUR YEARS ago but STILL backed him for London Mayor

by Atul Hatwal

Revelations on Ken Livingstone’s anti-Semitic views might have led the news in recent days, but Ed Miliband was fully aware of them in 2012.

Despite this, he still gave Livingstone his full backing at the last London Mayoral election.

The evidence that Labour’s leadership understood the detail of Livingstone’s opinions came yesterday in two devastating tweets from Miliband’s top spinner and consigliere, Tom Baldwin.

The purpose behind Tom Baldwin’s tweets was to highlight the anti-racist bona fides of his old boss but inadvertently he made the classic PR’s mistake: to confuse presentation and substance.

Before the 2012 Mayoral election, when Ed Miliband was on the stump for Livingstone, he knew exactly what Livingstone thought about Hitler, Zionism and the Jewish people.

He knew enough to force Livingstone to excise the relevant passages from his memoirs but did not feel sufficiently strongly to take action against the candidate for the substance of his anti-Semitic views.

All that mattered was what the public saw. Labour’s commitment to opposing anti-Semitism was a façade.

In his own deluded way, Jeremy Corbyn is probably genuine in his belief that Ken Livingstone is not anti-Semitic.

Ed Miliband knew otherwise.

Perhaps this is why Labour’s most prominent Jewish politician, someone who has authority as a former leader, has been silent on Livingstone’s recent extraordinary outbursts.

From a practical perspective, these revelations also bolster Ken Livingstone’s case for being allowed to remain a member of the Labour party.

He has maintained that these have always been his views and people have known them. Now, Tom Baldwin has confirmed this position.

Not only were they known, they were considered and regarded, at worst, as rather maladroit.

The same defence can be applied to the legions of closet anti-Semites that have come bounding into the open to defend Livingstone.

For example, here’s David White, secretary of Croydon Central CLP, tweeting a journalist at the local newspaper, the Croydon Advertiser, that Livingstone’s comments were “largely accurate.”

davida

To an extent, none of this should be a surprise. Alongside Labour’s proud history of fighting racism runs a persistent undercurrent of recalcitrance in confronting it among its own supporters.

The current focus is on anti-Semitism, but this issue is broader.

I vividly recall a discussion, two years ago, with a member of Ed Miliband’s CLP, Doncaster North, about the events to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the Miner’s strike.

They talked with pride of the day’s activities and community spirit as people from local villages and towns came together, but then almost broke down in tears of shame when describing the rousing choruses of “I’d rather be a Paki than a scab,” which echoed around the pub in the evening.

And just last week, the Newham Recorder reported accusations of racist banter between the Mayor and Deputy Mayor,

“Before agreeing an item on the agenda at that meeting which stated “no need has been demonstrated for new gypsy-traveller [sic] accommodation at the present time”, deputy mayor Lester Hudson asked if he could have the addresses of the objectors.

Mayor Sir Robin Wales replied: ‘I think what Lester is saying is that we would be very happy to set up a site right next to their house.’”

To put this in context: how different is Robin Wales’ quote from Nigel Farage in 2014 saying that British people should be worried if a Romanian family moved in next door?

The nascent anti-Semitism of the hard left has been coddled and emboldened under Jeremy Corbyn. But it, and the wider racist tendencies in the party, pre-date his leadership.

Successive leaders have chosen to look away and ignore them. Action involves confrontation and its many years since Labour has had a leader strong enough to confront the membership with some uncomfortable truths.

Now, if Labour wants to salvage its reputation, the confrontation is unavoidable.

Jeremy Corbyn certainly has the mandate from members.

The question is, does he understand what he needs to do?

Atul Hatwal is editor of Uncut


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23 Responses to “Ed Miliband knew Livingstone was an anti-Semitic conspiracy nutter FOUR YEARS ago but STILL backed him for London Mayor”

  1. Here is a comment I made on Labour List (LL) after being banned. I think it’s pertinent to Uncut and some its posters also.

    The water is being purposely muddied on what anti-Semitism is in order to help a right wing coup against the democratically elected leader of the Labour Party. That Corbyn’s opponents are prepared to sacrifice the upcoming elections to achieve this says a lot about their party loyalty. That LL expels supporters who point this out also says a lot about who owns LL.

    One way to attempt to make what is anti-Semitism a little clearer would be to lay out commonly held opinions on Israel. Here goes.

    Let’s start with actual anti-Semitism. Here there are a group of people who think the Jews are just bad, a whole ethnic group that is not really needed. There are all sorts in this group. In the past we could say the British aristocracy was included in it, but in early post-war politics it was mainly made up of the far right starting with Mosley’s Union Movement and followed by its derivatives like the National Front and the BNP. I can remember Griffin sneeringly talking about the chosen people. Unfortunately in more modern times there has been a new following of this belief in Britain’s and the worldwide Muslim community. That this has infected some Muslims inside the Labour Party should be fought against.

    The next group of those who call themselves anti-Zionists. This means they disagree with the idea of a Jewish state, a state built based on a religion. This leads them to a conclusion that there should be a single state including both Palestine and Israel. There are perfectly valid reasons to hold this belief, but quite how it could come about peacefully it’s hard to see.

    The segment of opinion to which I belong is that yes, there are good reasons why there should be a Jewish homeland, not least because of what happened in Germany during the Holocaust. It is worth noting that Zionism predates this which is understandable because Jews were facing Russian and other pogroms long before the Holocaust. This group thinks that the answer is a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine co-existing with maybe foreign peacekeepers enforcing the borders. At the same time this is not open door support to anything Israel government does and criticisms must be made when they behave in manner that punishes the innocent. As the right gained power in Israel their actions generated more criticism. There is a sub-argument that the Jewish homeland doesn’t need to be where it is which was an argument inside Zionism at one time, but the reality is what it is and so it’s a mute point now.

    Then of course there is the group who support Israel right or wrong. This is at least partly understandable from those very religious or nationalistic people whose identity is totally involved in the Israeli State. For those on the right of the party who are using the anti-Semitism smear to batter Corbyn and damage the party’s election campaign it is pure cynicism. If you want to fight with Livingstone argue with facts. If he has got the facts wrong or has used them in way which gives a wrong answer then challenge him on them.

    What is going on now can be compared to the Zinoviev Letter or the dissemination of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. They are false accusations to serve a political purpose. I cannot but help think of those many British Jews who lost their lives fighting in the Spanish Civil War, when I look at the dishonesty of some in the PLP and their fellow travellers. You people have no pride in what the labour movement should stand for. A smear is being used for a duplicitous purpose and LL is part of that. That the LL editorial gets so much support in the comments from people that are obviously from the far right while expelling those who support Labour is disgusting. They are the same people who argue in the comments that them being anti-Islamic is not racism because Islam is a religion not a race. How far away do you really think they are from anti-Semitism?

  2. Tafia says:

    anti-zionism is not anti-semitism no matter how much the Netanyahu lobby squawks otherwise.

    And the ordinary voter is just watching this son and dance mystified as it is totally irrelevant to them politics wise. While the media and political commentators are milking away, most people couldn’t care less – they’ve got bigger concerns such as rents, low pay, short hours and other more important stuff.

  3. Feodor says:

    Pathetic.

    Could you not get your knickers in a twist about something that matters to the majority of the electorate rather than just swivel-eyed political obsessives?

    You’ve no idea what a parody you are…

  4. paul barker says:

    The question surely is what you & other Labour members do ? How long are you going to stay in the smae Party as Dianne Abbott & Len McCluskey ?

  5. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Who would have thought Adolf Hitler would be a part of Ken Livingstone’s downfall!

    Yet, Ken still thinks he has a chance of a knighthood…..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG_O3jT0z50

    “Jeremy Corbyn certainly has the mandate from members.

    The question is, does he understand what he needs to do?”

    He may do, but can he cope with confrontation?….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NqYvXMp178

  6. Tafia says:

    Regarding Naz Shaw and the so-called racist meme she shared before she was even an MP. It seems during all the hoo-haa nobody bothered to check on the person was who originally published it.

    So let me put you out of your misery.

    The map was posted in Norman Finkelstein ‘Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict’, on Monday, August 4, 2014, on his blog.

    Professor Finkelstein is described by Wikipedia as “an American political scientist, activist, professor, and author. His primary fields of research are the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and the politics of the Holocaust, an interest motivated by the experiences of his parents who were Jewish Holocaust survivors.”

    That’s right – it was posted by a Jewish gentleman.

  7. Peter Kenny says:

    Since racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination are part of our society it would be remarkable if The Labour Party was free of them. I have witnessed and challenged severe prejudice against gays and lesbians, Muslims, Roma, women and black people in my first period in the party 83 – 93.

    I can tell you that so far it’s much better now.

    Opposition to discrimination was and is key to the political current I align myself with – at the time we were commonly called “the loony left” – displaying a nice disregard for any one with mental health problems – largely due to these stances. Many people would nod at the idea of more nationalisation and blanch at our anti racism.

    Now, of course, even Tory prime ministers claim to be anti racist, without having done much of the heavy lifting as if gay rights, for example sprang out of thin air.

    So welcome to the cause – the party should not tolerate racism, should not tolerate the specific form of racism that is anti semitism.

    Of course there has to be a definition or no man could criticise any woman, or straight person anyone who id gay or lesbian etc. The attempt is to make anti Zionism and anti semitism identical which would make a political project, Zionism, beyond criticism.

    Of course some people are anti Zionist because they’re anti Semitic and that means we have to be watchful of this. So if you look at a recent discussion about anti semitism in the party on this site and you’ll see what I mean.

    But you know the two state solution may not happen if the Israeli government continues as it is. As even Joe Biden say maybe the single state answer is the logical end of Israeli policy in which case there will be a sharp choice between mass expulsions of Palestinians and some other kind of state. We have to think about these things or we’ll be lost in the chaos of events. Thinking must include anti- Zionist perspectives – so trying to cement what may be a failed idea as a moral absolute makes no sense.

    Ken? I don’t think he’s anti Semitic but his intervention was utterly stupid politics. The British Government collaborated with the nazis, the churches, the Soviet Union, Edward 8th, we could make a very long list. And some Zionists. They’re not nazis, they were trying to find a way out of a hellhole. The arguments he was making were almost completely unconnected to the issue at hand. A political car crash.

    However the use some clearly want to make of that is to try to purge the party of it’s left wing and get rid of Corbyn. So there’ll be due process for Ken and others and the enquiry, then we’ll see.

    I don’t know you Atul – were you on our side in the 80s when some local Labour Councillors were describing people with AIDS as “scum” or were you one of those trying to get us to shut up in order to be ‘electable’?

  8. Tafia says:

    Perhaps the people that labelled Ken Livingstone anti-semitic would care to do the same here

    https://jamiesternweiner.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/ken-livingstone-gobshite-yes-antisemite-no/

    Or here

    http://i68.tinypic.com/2h7gxgg.jpg.

    Or perhaps you would care to label the person that said “Everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was Legal” an anti-semite.

    Incidentally, remember how kids a couple of years ago used to use the phrase ‘Soooo gay’ when they didn’t like someting? Well they’ve started saying ‘Sooo anri-semitic’ now instead. And it’s your own fault – you devalued it.

  9. Tafia says:

    (if that link doesn’t work, this one should – http://tinypic.com/r/2h7gxgg/9 )

  10. Peter Kenny says:

    Atul – I only just moticed your tasteful use of a derogatory term for someone with a mental health problem about someone whose politics you disagree with. Very anti-discriminatory of you!

  11. @Tafia: Yes, you are right that Norman Finkelstein is Jewish. But that is about all that is right about your comment. What is rather foolish is that you seem to think that this precludes him from, for example, Holocaust equivocation or Holocaust denial. Finkelstein is actually rather unpleasant, I’m afraid.

    An excerpt from Harry’s Place:

    ‘When German publication Die Welt, said to Finkelstein:

    “You call the holocaust an ideology”

    He replied,

    “To be more precise, an ideological construction, that originally served the interests of the Jewish elite in America and has now degenerated into a money-making instrument. It has become a extortion racket.” ‘

    So, as you can see, not all Jews are necessarily sound when talking about Jews.

  12. Anne says:

    What all of this highlights to me is the very poor standard of MPs that we have.
    Also, as a long standing member of the Unite Union, I don’t believe that Len McKuskie has the backing of his members to make the statements he does about a leadership challenge – many unite members don’t even vote Labour. If MPs do not have a job for life surely it is long over due for Unite to have a change at the top.

  13. ad says:

    I’m curious Tafia. Would you object if someone suggested solving the “Israel-Palestine conflict” by deporting the Palestinians to, perhaps, Saudi Arabia?

    Or solving the problems in Ulster by deporting, perhaps, the Catholics to America?

    Would you really be shocked and appalled and complain if people thought that support for that showed you to be anti-Palestinian or anti(Catholic)-Irish.

    Would you emulate Ken Livingston and declare that it was not anti-Irish to hate the Irish in Ireland, as long as you did not hate the Irish in other places?

  14. John P Reid says:

    Feodor,fighting anti Semeticism is pathetic,and a parody, are you saying that those who oppose Racism towards Jews are seen as a force that is mocked,
    People who are opposed to the holocaust are the only political people, and it’s only a worry to the swivel eyed?
    Because the majority of the electoRate aren’t interested in genecide?, funny don’t recall, a nazi candidate ever standing, and the public not caring if he won

  15. Mr Akira Origami says:

    ….and let’s not forget the less than charming conversation that Oliver Finegold had with Ken Livingstone.

    https://mrorigamidotorg.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/ken-livingstone-my-part-in-his-downfall/

  16. Blair says:

    ad you are evadin g the reality. There is no answer to the Israel-Palestinian conflict until Israel is forced to comply with UN resolutions AND withdraw to it’s original borders, by sanction and if needs be military force.

    And you’d be a third rate idiot if you thought otherwise.

    Marchant, you manage to somehow go lower in my opinion and respect – quite how when you were already rock bottom I have no idea – but you have. You’re just an unreformed zionist apologist. You completely avoid the issue that all Livingstone did was quote Netanyahu and all Naz Shah did was re-post something a jew said and something Martin Luther King said. And then you re-posted and quoted what someone else said, failing to see the irony.

    In the meantime while all this was going on Blair was hob-nobbing with those well known supporters of gay rights, feminism and Israel, the Saudi royals – yet the Labour right isn’t creating a song and dance about that disgusting behaviour by it’s false Messiah.

    As a point of interest, when Haganah (behind the UK government’s back – an act of treachery and disloyalty to the Crown) was in negotiations with the German Nazi party including such infamous characters as Theodore Eichmann regarding mass deportations, were they not being anti-semitic?

  17. Blair says:

    By the way, only 22% of jews are semites. 76% of semites are muslim.

  18. Plunket Greene says:

    Danny, I support your clear and careful examination of the spectrum of opinions running from plain old-fashioned anti-Semitism to unconditional support for Israel. However when you challenge those who disagree with Livingstone to fight back with facts not abuse, you must I think accept that the overwhelming body of academic opinion – historians from the left, from the right, and from nowhere in particular – is against his revisionist interpretation of Hitler’s attitude to the Jews.

  19. Anne says:

    My congratulations to Leicester city on winning the premier league – what a difference a year makes. On the football theme I also watched the very moving Hillsborough service and was taken by the very high regard with which Andy Burnham was held by the people of Liverpool. In sharp contrast to that of Jeremy Corban. Is it now not time to consider did the wrong man get the job?

  20. Mike Homfray says:

    Hate to remind you, Anne, but he ‘got the job’ because the electorate voted for him, and they didn’t vote for Andy Burnham

    Burnham is certainly well liked and popular in Liverpool but if you look at the CLP’s who nominated candidates for leader, he did very badly in London and much of the south.

    I see no reason why having lost twice, he would want to lose a third time, and see no evidence that he would do any better this time round. The vote on welfare benefits and his willingness to abstain finished his campaign.

  21. TC says:

    Rob, I am struck once again by your arrogance. Norman Finkelstein is from a family who survived the Warsaw Ghetto and Nazi death camps. He is unhappy at the way that their and others like them’s suffering is used to justify Israeli policy. Whether you agree or not, who the heck do you think you are to tell him what he can and can’t say about the Holocaust? He knows a damn sight more about it than you or I ever will, and to imply that he is a Holocaust denier is absurd and frankly offensive.

  22. @Plunket Greene

    Thank you and I do think that the argument should be on the history that Livingstone gave. If he is wrong then his critics should say so with their proof, not jump up and down with anti-Semitism accusations. I certainly wasn’t impressed by the argument becoming over when Hitler became mad. Whether he was or not mad doesn’t change the fact that he was extremely evil. Still underlying this row is the feeling that some in PLP want Corbyn out and are looking for any excuse to get rid of him. That it hurts Labour’s election prospects doesn’t seem to bother them at all, in fact they must feel bad results help their cause.

  23. Tafia says:

    He knows a damn sight more about it than you or I ever will, and to imply that he is a Holocaust denier is absurd and frankly offensive.

    in fact, it’s anti-semitic and Marchant should be suspended.

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