Exactly what is or isn’t “anti-semitic” is getting pretty blurred and it’s getting pretty hard to follow when and why Ken Livingston keeps mentioning his pet theory on Hitler and Zionism.
If he is genuinely raising it himself – out of the context of any actual debate on the history of Jews in Germany, or rather simply answering provocative questions – then the question has to be why? What point is he making and why? That might be anti-semitic, even if it is a fact in historical context that Hitler did for a while conveniently support the idea a Jewish homeland outside Germany. The fact – even if it isn’t one – is plausible but it isn’t anti-semitic. A fact isn’t anti-semitic simply because Hitler was.
The real issue is that the UK Labour party is dealing with a persistent anti-semitism “taint” to which their response seems to be some PC variation on “Don’t mention the Jews” … just in case. The furore becomes almost self-fulfilling between accusation, defense and victimhood and, of course, Corbyn / Chakrabarti Labour has enough management leadership problems right now.
EITHER WAY – Ken is clearly no longer an astute enough politician to know how to avoid a “scandal” or has a hidden agenda that benefits from his continually stoking one. He really needs to be retired from any party involvement, whether he is anti-semitic or not.
[And I say this as a big fan of Ken back in the 1970’s when his GLC gave us students practically free 24 hour travel in London.]
[Post Note: My point, the historical Hitler / Zionism point is nowhere near Holocaust-denial. It’s only a step on the slippery slope to anti-semitism if you are a peculiarly PC version of “zero tolerant”. Jeez!]
[And here the full Facebook version of the David Baddiel piece in the Guardian. As he says, it’s the tone of what Ken is (may be) trying to say with his interpretation of historical facts and how he comes to be saying it – with PC avoidance of the word “Jew” – that’s the real problem, as I said. Think it’s more the lefty / liberal / PC commentary that is being “anti-semitic” with the conflation of all things Jewish / Zionist / Israeli. Hard to say whether Ken is or not, given his unclear message But as I say, as an experienced politician he’s either lost it or is exploiting the lack of clarity for an implied message or hidden agenda. Either way, as I said, Ken is in the wrong, anti-semitic or not.]
Also published on Medium.