Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone has been suspended by the opposition Labour Party after he said during a BBC interview: “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 before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”
There was outrage at his remarks and calls for suspension, which culminated on Thursday with this statement from the party:
Labour issues statement saying Ken Livingstone suspended & John Mann summoned to see Chief Whip
Livingstone, the London mayor from 2000 to 2008, is known for his controversial remarks and left-wing politics, which earned him the monicker “Red Ken.”
The events that led to Livingstone’s suspension from the party had their most recent origins in comments by Naz Shah, a Labour member of Parliament, on her Facebook page before she became a lawmaker last year. Among those that drew attention, and criticism, was one in which an outline of Israel was superimposed on a map of the U.S. with the headline: “Solution for Israel-Palestine conflict—relocate Israel into United States.” The comment on the post: “Problem solved.”
Shah apologized in Parliament—and elsewhere—for her remarks, but Labour suspended her on Wednesday pending an investigation. Livinsgtone was among her strongest supporters. He said it was important not to confuse “criticism of Israeli government policy with anti-Semitism.” Then came his comments to the BBC, which earned him widespread condemnation, including from Sadiq Khan, the Labour Party’s candidate in London’s upcoming mayoral election. (Khan also criticized Shah’s remarks.)...It is important not to confuse the desire the get rid of Israel (or the demand that it "relocate"), which is out-and-out Jew-hate, with criticism of the Israeli government.