Ken Livingstone suspended by Labour Party over anti-israeli remarks
The UK’s Labour Party has suspended Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, over bringing up the issue of Israeli war crimes and stating that Adolf Hitler was a supporter of Zionism.
A spokesperson for the party said Thursday that Livingstone was “pending an investigation, for bringing the party into disrepute.”
The decision to suspend the veteran member, who has led the party twice, came after Livingstone gave an interview to BBC earlier on Thursday, censuring the British media for ignoring Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people.
“There’s one stark fact that virtually no one in the British media ever reports, in almost all these conflicts the death toll is usually between 60 and 100 Palestinians killed for every Israeli. Now, any other country doing that would be accused of war crimes but it’s like we have a double standard about the policies of the Israeli government,” he said.
Livingstone also defended Naz Shah, a member of the British Parliament who recently resigned after being forced to apologize for backing calls for Israel to “relocate” to the United States.
In early July 2014, Israel waged a devastating war on the Gaza Strip. The 50-day offensive claimed the lives of nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children.
Before becoming an MP in May 2015, Shah shared a graphic showing the outline of the occupied territories superimposed onto a US map with the comment “problem solved.”
The graphic said the relocation would be a “solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict,” and that it would allow the Palestinian people to “get their life and their land back.”
“It’s completely over the top but it’s not anti-Semitism,” Livingstone said in Shah’s defense. “Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism.”
“The simple fact in all of this is that Naz made these comments at a time when there was another brutal Israeli attack on the Palestinians,” he added.
Party leader and a long time friend of Livingstone, Jeremy Crobyn, who made the call for Livingstone’s suspension denied that his party is in “crisis” following the latest developments.
He also argued that that some of the criticism he is getting is coming from people worried about Labour’s strength at grassroots level.
Labour MP John Mann also showed a strong reaction to Livingstone’s comments and called him “a lying racist” and a “Nazi apologist.”