Red Ken on Racism and Anti-Semitism

Just to see whether Ken Livingstone ever showed any sign of anti-Semitism when he was leader of the GLC, and so see if there was anything to the allegations of anti-Semitism, I decided to check out the great man’s 1987 book, Livingstone’s Labour: A Programme for the Nineties. In fact, Red Ken has entire chapter devoted to his determination to combat racism in the Labour party and outside it, entitled, ‘Labour Didn’t Listen to Black People’. of course, the chapter is devoted to championing Black people and improving their position, but it has this this statement about racism generally on the very first page of the chapter, 112:

Racism itself is the uniquely destructive form of reaction that characterises the twentieth century – the holocaust is an indelible reminder of that – and any party which panders to it in any form, whether it be anti-Semitism, anti-black, or anti-Irish is doomed. (My emphasis).

I also looked to see what he had to say about Israel. This is it:

There is only one other country in the world that lacks a written constitution, and that is Israel. But if they ever tried to write one the whole country would be torn apart over the proposals the religious parties would make and they might not even be able to agree on the definition of who is a Jew. (p. 69).

This is fair comment. A few years ago the right-wing parties in the Knesset laid down that only those, whose both parents were Jewish, could legally claim citizenship and settle in Israel. This was condemned as racist by the Israeli human rights organisation, B’Tsalem.

Peoples views change over the years, and this was written nearly thirty years ago. But I don’t think Livingstone’s views on race and racism have changed that much. And it also seems to me that the allegations of anti-Semitism aimed at him are politically motivated for another reason: he’s too left-wing for the Blairites. Remember how Bliar had him deselected as the Labour candidate for mayor of London? That was sent up in in a cartoon in the Independent, which showed Leninspart as a gigantic newt strapped to the London Eye being dunked in the Thames like a prisoner on the Wheel while robed Blairite inquisitors looked on. This is probably the real reason for Dugher, Mann and the rest of the howling mob demanding his dismissal: he’s not anti-Semitic. He’s a persistent left-wing pain, and a genuine popular contender against their Neo-Liberal clique.

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