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Were you offended by Ken Livingstone's concentration camp guard comment to a Jewish journalist?
23 February, 2005 10:07
10 April, 2005 05:20
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: 5 March, 2005 23:04
Mayor of London leads backwards:
Reading Mr. Livingstone's words I felt as if we are heading backwards to the days when anti Semitism was accepted. Obviously this Mayor does not care for truths and possibly is poised conveniently with the Moslems who like to blame Israel for everything.
Such leaders are not going down in history as leading us toward a better world. I suggest a better person should apply for the job.
: 5 March, 2005 22:37
Livingstone is just hiding behind this pathetic but monstrous old hatered for Jewish people.
The facts do not bother him, and he spews his lies without discrimination. A casualty is not a suicide murderer Mr. Livingstone! A casualty is someone who was murdered or injured by a suicide murderer. But you, Mr. Livingstone include murderers of innocent Jews in the count you introduce for your ill informed and viciously anti Israel article.
Taking the self righteous road about the Irgun and Stern group of the time pre 1948 of English colonial occupation of Palestine is the hight of arrogance and deception. Have you forgotten, Mr. Livingstone that the English encouraged the Arab murder of Jews in Hebron in 1929 and denied the Jewish people of Hebron any arms when the massacre was forseen, that the
English did not go to defend the Jews of Hebron but pretended to not find out about the Hebron massacre until it was too late????
Have your self rightousness blinded you to forget how the English successfully drove the Jewish Holocaust victims arriving at the shores of Palestine back into the murderous clutches of the Nazi occupied lands???
- see British White Paper of 1939
The fact that Jewish people defended themselves from the British betrayal of the Jewish people of the Palestine mandate was a matter of survival. It was the only way to assure that the Jews would have any place ON EARTH to live. The situation with the ARabs of the same area is completely different. They have the support of the world, the funding of billions, the UNRWA administration and endless opportunities. IT's the corrupt Arab regimes and Arab leaders who should take responsibility for their own abuse of their own people and the failure to absorb them and take care of them.
Mr. Livingstone's comments are only another whitewash attempt to cover up for Arab attempts to destroy the collective Jew=Israel.
anti Semitism expressed toward the collective Jewish people of Israel and directed at their attempt to defend themselves against a continual attack by the Arabs, all which started because the English DIVIDED the Palestine Mandate and did not honor the Balfour Declaration promised the Jews and betrayed them in favor of the Arabs.
PS: Mr. Livingstone! did you bother to call Arafat a criminal or is it only Sharon in your lopsided book?
How about calling Abu Mazen a criminal since he was responsible for the Olympic Massacre of the Israeli team in Minchen in 1977! or did you forget it conveniently.
If Mr. Livingstone had to judge the world I fear for Jewish people.
Mercifully, he does not.
: 4 March, 2005 19:17
I would be offended ,not because of the comments being particularly anti semetic, but because as Mayor of London Ken Livingstone should behave with some dignity and not start shouting the odds like a drunken lout. The man is typical of the nasty tyrannical behaviour of NL.and being a politician would be well aware of the furore that his remarks would cause.The fact that he has refused to apologise to those who have been offended shows him to be a self motivated bigot who should be removed from the position that he holds.
: 26 February, 2005 19:41
I think that it is ridiculous that anyone would even suggest that this man resign.
: 25 February, 2005 19:08
His coments were unnessary and although the man may be brilliant in certain respects he is not acceptable to many people who are affected by his office. No matter at the end of the day he could never be classed as an anti semite. This is where he should be judged on the matter.
: 24 February, 2005 17:59
The Idiot should be removed from office! Nothing less!
: 24 February, 2005 12:56
Ken Livingstone displayed a lack of self-control that is lamentable in a man holding public office. I do not believe he intended to be anti-semitic but the language used was boorish and childish. As a member of the Labour Party I am ashamed of his outburst and of his silly refusal to admit that he made an error of judgement.
: 24 February, 2005 07:38
I really don't care whether or not Livingston apologises. I just want him to resign as he has once again disgraced the role as Mayor with his arrogant, obnoxious behaviour.
He is not fit for Office and we all deserve much better.
Posted by Liz Jackson : 24 February, 2005 06:55
Over recent months there has been mounting evidence of ingrained anti-semitism in so many of our country's most powerful people (see Prince Harry's Nazi costume, the Labour party's electoral campaign posters as well as the latest from Ken). Even more frightening than this, however, is Ken's claim that "Since this row erupted we have received over 1500 letters and emails from the public. 74 per cent have expressed their support for me, with 26 per cent against". Can it be true that three-quarters of Londoners support Ken and condone his anti-semitic outburst? Truly terrifying.
: 24 February, 2005 06:18
You can read Livingstone's response here:
My view is that Ken Livingstone referred to the Holocaust not simply because "it is the most extreme example of evil in my own array of moral reference points", but because he knew that his questioner was jewish. That sort of insult is one which is routinely deployed by left racists against jews: its effectively a charge of ethnic hypocrisy. He wouldn't have said the same thing to a non-jew, because it wouldn't have made sense to compare them to a concentration camp guard.
To then go on to point out - as Ken Livingstone does - that similar charges have been thrown about between jews is just about as naff as white racists who tell racist jokes and who seek to justify their conduct on the basis that black people tell them too. When such language is used between jews or between people who are black, we're pretty sure that they're being deployed without racist intent. We can't be as certain when a politician with a record for saying dubious things makes those sorts of statements.
It is either notable or unfortunate that Ken Livingstone chooses as his example of the neutrality of the comparison which he deployed, a letter published in the Jewish Chronicle accusing Professors Hilary and Stephen Rose of being "Kapos". That comparison, one can infer, would have been thrown as a jibe at pro-Palestinian jews. It is disgraceful, of course, but certainly not racist. Its also, perhaps, an example which appeals to Ken Livingstone, because it allows him to don the mantle of the victim of a jewish smear campaign against opponents of the Palestinian cause.
The theme that he is the victim of a jewish campaign is one to which Livingstone has turned previously. When, at the launch of his "refutation" of the exposure of Qaradawi, a Saudi journalist intimated that Ken Livingstone might be made to suffer for his support of Qaradawi by the "people who control the media", he responded by mentioning the jewish wife of a disgraced press tycoon as if it were an example of that conspiracy at work. It is Livingstone who shamefully identified the nature of the supposed conspiracy as jewish.
A more appropriate analogy - which Ken Livingstone shied away from - would have been with Berlusconi's similar Kapo jibe, made not at a Jew but - marginally less offensively - at a German. Berlusconi's less than fulsome expression of "regret" was a particularly dismal response, which Ken is, of course, repeating.
My reaction to Ken Livingstone's use of language is, as I've explaned in past posts, a reaction not simply to that particular use of language, but to a series of incidents which include:
- embracing and defending a cleric who is the religious legitimator of suicide bombing;
- producing a partial and distorted defence of that's clerics views;
- characterising celebrated human rights campaigner (and supporter of an independent Palestine), Peter Tatchell as a dupe of a Mossad plot;
- toying with the notion that he himself is the victim of a jewish plot.
You know, anybody can use an unfortunate turn of phrase. You'd expect them to be a bit red faced and embarassed about it; but its not a big deal.
But when somebody makes the same kind of mistakes again and again, you do begin to wonder exactly what is going on in their mind.
My view is that Ken Livingstone chose that phrase because it chimed in which his "jews were oppressed but became oppressors" worldview. When that logic is deployed to describe the actions of an IDF soldier of ashkenasi origin who deliberately shoots a civilian, that's one thing, perhaps. But if that logic is used against a reporter who merely happens to be jewish, its clearly racist just as racist as the right winger who sees every jew in business as proof of the essentially greedy nature of jews.
Livingstone's response - that he was entitled to make a racist comment because he was being harassed - beggars belief. First, its obvious from anybody who has heard the tape or read the transcript that Ken was not being harassed: he was merely being asked questions at a public event. Secondly, Ken Livingstone's case is essentially that he can abuse jews by comparing them to nazis because he was being doorstepped by one. If that's really his view, its Ken, not the journalists, who is "probably in the wrong job".
Livingstone's original outburst was a bit off. His conduct since then - culminating in this piece of drek - is an absolute disgrace.
I notice that, in describing the long history of the Mail group's racist shame, he omits his own involvement with that employer.
: 24 February, 2005 05:53
If Ken Livingstone does not apologize, for comparing a Jewish journalist to a concentration guard, I think he should resign. Failing that I think Tony Blair should sack him. If a similar remark were made to any other ethnic group, the whole country would be up in arms about it.
Posted by Kathryn Fuller : 24 February, 2005 05:52
I do not consider his remarks offensive (though I can understand why some people do). But I do consider his remarks to be insensitive, intemperate and crass. Ken comes across as petulant and smug, and probably unable to hold his liquor. I can understand his anger at the newspaper, which has apparently hounded him over many years, but he could have expressed his anger in other ways, using other words.
He'll survive this crisis, as he has previous ones; a lot of his supporters admire the fact that he DOESN'T show the dignity and sensitivity one would expect of a public official.
: 24 February, 2005 05:28
I thnink that not only was Ken Livingstone's original comment totally uncalled for, either by the actual interview situation, and the perfectly polite behavious of the journalist, but that a response like that showed just how ready he is to disregard the real meaning of the Holocaust (Shoah) in his ready irritation at someone he recognised as Jewish. Further, his persistent refusal to apologise, even when asked to do so by Holocaust survivors, and several prominent Jews, and despite the furore caused in the media, shows a disdain for the ordinary people of London that means that he now no longer represents us.
It is not surprising, therefore, to reflect upon his invitation to Muslim clerics hostile to Jews, to stand on the same platform as himself, as being evidence of his real attitude to Jews- and his desire to court the approval of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic Muslims in this city.
I think he has irretrievably damaged his standing here.
: 24 February, 2005 05:02
Yet again Ken is demonising the jewish community and Israel . He is true to form.
: 24 February, 2005 03:17
Ken Livingstone says he didn't intend any offence to Jewish people. Well I'm Jewish and I'm offended. His throw away, glib remark amounted to comparing his perceived harrasment by a certain newspaper group to the suffering of the victims of the Holocaust. He's a disgrace and doesn't deserve to hold the office of Mayor of London.
J D HELMAN
: 24 February, 2005 02:34
I have every sympathy for Ken Livingstone over the way he has been treated by the media and the press at various times.
However, I feel that using the analogy that he did - comparing the reporter to a Nazi camp guard was very inappropriate and disproportionate. It not only gives fuel to the fire for the racists in this country, but the remark was totally unbecoming for someone in such high office. He should have apologised straight away.
: 24 February, 2005 02:05
I ma more concerned with Ken's hypocrtic view that he can receive money from Standard/Mail ownership and yet others should nto be able to fdo the same
Posted by elaine : 23 February, 2005 22:02
It just shows what an ignoramus he is, so he is best ignored. He is a total prat who no one takes any notice of anyway
: 23 February, 2005 21:08
Ken Livingston is an antisemite. And no person with racist views should have the good fortune of holding office in a civilised nation.
It is unfortunately quite revealing of the popular underlying anti-Jewish sentiment in the UK today, that Mr. Livingston enjoys the popularity that he does.
: 23 February, 2005 19:09
The man is so insensitive as the reporter stated that he was jewish then mafe the comment about concetration camps so insentive.
Having just returned from Poland and Auschwitz i am very offended by his comments and complete lack of judgement.
I just wonder if he had apoligised if it was a muslim or black situation as once again its ok to pick on jewish people after all the whole world does it,have people learned nothing from lessons of holocaust i am so angry about this
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