Ken Livingstone’s resignation from the Labour Party – 2

JVL has updated its statement of 23 May headed Ken Livingstone’s resignation from the Labour Party, acknowledging feedback that the final paragraph should have been clearer.

Ken Livingstone. Photo: Labourlist

JVL was saddened to hear of Ken Livingstone’s resignation from the Labour Party. We deplore his hounding and the trial by media that he has been subjected to over two years and more. We can find no evidence of antisemitism in any of the statements for which he has been attacked.

We reprint his resignation statement in full on our website, with its clarity that: “I am not resigning because I accept the allegation that I have brought the Labour Party into disrepute – nor because I am in any way guilty of antisemitism (not that this has ever actually been put forward by the Labour Party as a reason for my suspension).”

We stand committed to the principles of natural justice, due process, transparency and proportionality, – so lacking in the entire handling of Ken’s case – as with so many others.

The prime objective of those on the right wing in the Labour Party and in the Israel lobby who have sought his head is, of course, to bring about the downfall of Corbyn. Each suspension, expulsion or resignation of Corbyn supporters, far from quelling the accusations of antisemitism, only serves to weaken his position.

Comments (16)

  • The response of Labour to the anti-semitic accusation should be to be absolutely clear that no conflating of criticism of the regime that runs the Israeli Government with anti-semitism will be tolerated.

  • Marge Berer says:

    I totally support Keith Burstein’s comment and would add that I believe we should call for the Labour Party not to accept Ken Livingstone’s resignation but to insist on his remaining a full member in good standing. He has spent his entire political life standing for and implementing Labour’s core values and he deserves an award for this, not condemnation or rejection, let alone silence from the top of the Party.

  • There is a diversity of views on Livingstone amongst JVL’s membership that is not reflected in this statement.

  • David Cannon says:

    Ken Livingstone’s support for Palestinian rights as well as his criticism of vicious Israeli apartheid should be lauded NOT punished.

  • Daphne Gilbert says:

    I agree totally!

  • Teresa Steele says:

    Agree with this analogy 100% In solidarity we can bring down these misconceptions. Let’s grow stronger.

  • Philip Graham says:

    No, I don’t fully agree. I am a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn. I do not believe Ken Livingstone is antisemitic.
    I do think Ken’s clumsily worded, even though accurate account of Hitler’s negotiation with the Zionist movement, caused deep offence by suggesting Hitler was himself a Zionist. Further, I do not believe that all, or probably even most of those who have criticised him are motivated by anti-Corbyn feelings. Some certainly are, but I suspect a good number are just muddled in their conflation of antisemitism with anti-Israel government feelings.
    This post may make me unpopular, so be it!

  • Adam Pollard says:

    I think you are right in that many Corbyn supporters are unhappy with Ken. Jewish Voice on Twitter, and Owen Jones, for example, I think Jewdas took a similar line. It is a tricky one, because Ken is not an academic historian talking objectively about history. When you you talk about anyone who dealt with the Nazis (out of a academic historian’s context), you are attempting to demonise that person or group. Zionists talk about the dealings between Arab leaders and the Nazis for the same reasons. Meanwhile, the Palestinians get forgotten. Ken is clearly not an anti-semite, but I think he was mistaken.

  • Tony Booth says:

    I agree with Jay. It would be good to think that differences of view on this could be gently exchanged within JVL. I do not think that anyone should be hounded out of the Labour Party for the remarks that Ken Livingstone made but I do think that Ken Livingstone was foolish, inaccurate, unreflectively provocative and unhelpful to Jeremy Corbyn and those who are eager for a radical shift from the neoliberalisation of UK institutions and economy.

  • Colin Lomas says:

    It’s difficult to understand Ken Livingstone’s fascination with the Hitler-was-a-Zionist theory as it is so utterly irrelevant to what actually took place – i.e. the Holocaust. It is also impossible to see how his comments can be interpreted as anti-Semitic and he should and could have done far more to explain and diffuse the story. Instead he has remained silent for two years and not challenged the people who have used the story to undermine the Labour party.

  • John Lipetz says:

    I don’t think Ken L is an anti- semite. I know him. But his statements about Hitler and Zionism and his criticism of a journalist as a nazi guard were unacceptable. He should have made a proper apology.

  • David Cannon says:

    ‘clumsy’ wording is so vague as to be subjective…
    There were many in the party who disliked Ken & his politics BEFORE Corbyn was a significant presence…
    It’s not so much that your post is unpopular; more your use of weasle words.
    You admit Ken’s not antisemitic therefore his hounding out of the party was TOTALLY inappropriate, going against any sense of natural justice and was motivated by trying to silence his political views.

  • David Cannon says:

    I was grateful to Ken for exposing the convergence of interest between zionists who wanted to leave Germany to go to a Jewish homeland and antisemitic Hitler who just wanted the jewish people to leave (and pay him for the privilege!).
    Hi doesn’t need to be an academic historian or, indeed, to be antisemitic to expose that connection. His political enemies (eg John Mann) exploited his reference to zionism to smear him as an antisemite. Ken should be begged to return to the party.

  • Moira Gomes says:

    Although I’m not Jewish- it is patently obvious neither Livingston nor Jeremy Corbyn are anti-Semitic! This has been spun and re-spun as a pressure point to detract from the Opposition to this appalling Tory party!!! Cannot call them Tory Government because their aim is to cripple not to govern!! Please remember who are the real enemy are and vote accordingly!!

  • Hugh Wallis says:

    Whilst not disagreeing that Ken was being provocative, I don’t think it is a reasonable interpretation to say he was “suggesting Hitler was himself a Zionist”. I think it is obvious he meant that their interests coincided (as regards a Jewish homeland).

  • Deborah Knight says:

    John Mann – scourge of anti-Semites, especially Ken L – voted last night with the govt., and against the Labour whip, on the ‘meaningful vote’ amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill. Grand fellow, eh?

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