Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London and a member of Britain’s Labor Party, defended himself against accusations of anti-Semitism Tuesday ahead of a Labor Party disciplinary hearing, according to JTA.
Livingstone was suspended from the party in April of last year for suggesting Adolf Hitler was a Zionist “before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews.” Livingstone also claimed there was “a well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticizes Israel policy as antisemitic.”
In a 17-page summary of his defense Tuesday, Livingstone walked back the comments that had gotten him in trouble, saying he had not meant that Hitler was a Zionist, but that Nazi policy “had the effect of supporting” Zionism. Last year, Livingstone had claimed Hitler was a Zionist due to allegedly suggesting in 1932 that Jews should be relocated to Israel.
“I have broken no Labour Party rule,” Livingstone wrote in his defense this week. “I am being attacked by the right-wing of the Labour Party because I support Palestinian human rights and strongly back our Leader Jeremy Corbyn. There is no real evidence against me, so hopefully the Labour panel will dismiss the charge against me. Only a biased and rigged jury could find against me.”
Livingstone was one of numerous other Labor MPs who have been suspended due to anti-Semitic comments, including MP Naz Shah, who was suspended in 2016 for a 2014 Facebook post suggesting Israel should be relocated to the U.S., and Ilyas Aziz, who was suspended last year for likening Israel to the Nazis.