Ken Livingstone 'no friend of the Jews,' says George Osborne

In 1982, according to his biographer, Livingstone insisted this cartoon depicting Menachem Begin as a Nazi-like figure be published

Quite an interesting attack on Ken from the Chancellor, who told the annual dinner of the Community Security Trust that London needed a leader “who respects all its citizens,” describing Livingstone as “no friend of the Jewish community.”

Osborne is right, of course. Ken’s “respect” for British minorities, and for other nationalities, can be selective. British Muslims, along with India, China, and Venezuela, are in the good camp; British Jews are with Japan and America in the groups that Ken has insulted.

Slightly chillingly, Ken blames his election defeat in 2008 on the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who he says collaborated with the Evening Standard to “get rid” of him. (I was the main reporter in the Standard’s 2008 investigations of Ken and I have never, to the best of my recollection, spoken to anyone at the Board in my life.)

Livingstone also has a long record of deeply offending many of London’s Jews. His biographer, Andy Hosken, says that as far back as 1982, when leader of the GLC, Ken insisted that the left-wing newspaper he controlled, Labour Herald, publish a cartoon (above) showing the Israeli prime minister as a Nazi. In 1984, Ken said the Board was “organising paramilitary groups which resemble fascist organisations.”

In 2005, there was the extraordinary outburst against the Jewish Evening Standard journalist who he compared to a “concentration camp guard. There’s his close alliance with various varieties of Islamic extremism. And there is of course the Third Reich thread which seems to run through so many of his public utterances.

Still, I can’t work out quite how this attack will play. It might go unnoticed; it might be pretty big.



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