Ken Livingstone and the Anti-Semitism of the Left

This is the state of British politics in 2016

Anti-Semitism is of course no laughing matter, and the Labour Party have done the right thing and suspended him. But Livingstone and his apologists have doubled down and insist he’s done nothing wrong.

If you make no distinction between a nation’s government, its people, and those worldwide who share the same ethnicity, you are a racist. It really is that simple. Trying to deflect the issue by pointing out all the horribly racist things Boris Johnson has said in the past just doesn’t wash. That’s classic “whatabouterty”; as my mother always said, two wrongs don’t make a right.

When the left have adopted a form of radical identity politics in which everyone is classed as either “Privileged” or “Oppressed” on the basis of their ethnicity, gender and sexuality, it’s hard not to see a connection with the rise of anti-Semitism, something that always used to be associated with the far right. Jews, like Gay Men, have been moved out of the “Oppressed” category because a minority of them have become wealthy and successful, and some very old and very dangerous bigotries have been allowed to come back to life.

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One Response to Ken Livingstone and the Anti-Semitism of the Left

  1. My first encounter with leftist anti-semitism came when I was studying one of anti-semitism’s more grotesque manifestations, Holocause denial. Turned out that none other than Noam Chomsky had lent some support to a cadre of deniers in France, and that had not so much been the start of his flirtation with it as it had been one of the most visible manifestations of it in his politics over the years.

    Like a lot of other people, my perception of him had mainly been that of a crusty curmudgeon critical of American foreign policy. When I found out he’d signed over the French translation and publication rights of one of his better-selling books to a group of avowed neo-Nazis as a way to provide them with sustenance, the picture changed pretty drastically. Eventually, I found out this wasn’t even all that outlandish for him, as he has long been more than happy to jump into bed with any number of people of questionable political alignments, the better to throw shade at the U.S. and Israel.