Ken Livingstone is in deep trouble over another remark he allegedly made about the Jewish community. On the Nick Ferrari show this morning, Ken denied that he had ever made the offensive remark about rich Jews not voting for Labour. In a letter to Ed Miliband from prominent Labour members supporting Jewish Londoners that was leaked to the Jewish Chronicle, it was said that Ken “stood by his decision to embrace radical Islamic cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi and take money from the Iranian state broadcaster Press TV.
Most damaging for Mr Livingstone is the revelation that he believes Jews will not vote Labour because they are rich. The letter states: “Ken toward the end of the meeting stated that he did not expect the Jewish community to vote Labour as votes for the left are inversely proportional to wealth levels, and suggested that as the Jewish community is rich we simply wouldn’t vote for him.” Ken did repeat this remark to Nick Ferrari as though it was OK to say that; so he actually did say it then. So rich people don’t care about the poor? Well, as you are very rich that must include you, Ken.
The Jewish Chronicle reported: “The Jewish Labour figures behind the letter, which include Liberal rabbi Danny Rich and former Limmud chair Andrew Gilbert, express concern that Mr Livinstone has aligned himself with the politics of radical Islam. “The real and more pressing issue is that of the strong perception that Ken is seeking to align himself with the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Iranian regime, whilst at the same time turning a blind eye to Islamist antisemitism , mysogynism (sic) and homophobia.”
The authors of the letter added: “We are concerned that this is more about infantile, far-left politics, being seen to take a stance against whatever the anti-establishment or anti-imperialism cause of the moment is.”
Last night, Labour tweeters were eager to protect Ken from any fallout from this article. Sunny Hundal wrote an blog denying that Ken had made any such remarks. The tweeter @kevinrye tweeted: “Seems
#Ken4london story on supposed #antisemitism is not true. Another hatchet job for #boris? Crosby again? http://bit.ly/GFDeY3 #london” That’s nice, dump on Boris Johnson! This blatant lie was retweeted by other Labour supporters.
Ken also denied to Nick Ferrari that he wanted London to be “a beacon of Islam”. Ken has been filmed on video saying that he wants to educate Londoners in the meaning of Islam.
I very much agree with Ken Livingstone that it is right to reach out to communities to promote a better understanding. However, I strongly disagree that this should be done for cash. Why should Ken take large sums of money from Iranian fascists merely for doing the right thing? If you take someone’s money, you are no longer a free agent, you are their employee. I also totally disagree that Ken is right to ignore such bigotry from extremist Muslims as homophobia, anti-semitism and rape and domestic violence. If you do not protest about these things you create the impression that you agree with them. This was the theme of my satirical blog here.
Rabbi Danny Rich spoke to Nick Ferrari after Ken and he denied that he had leaked the letter. He said he would like to talk to Ken again in private about the comments.
Nick Ferrari pointed out to Ken Livingstone, that he was always accusing journalists of misquoting him. “If that happened to me,” said Nick, “I would be a bit more careful about what I said!” Ed Balls, to his credit, refused to defend Ken Livingstone this morning. Ed Miliband is going out campaigning with him.