UK Jewish organizations are livid after it was decided this week that Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London and a member of Britain’s Labour Party, will not be expelled by Labour officials over anti-Semitic comments made in 2016.
In an April 2016 BBC radio interview, Livingstone suggested that Adolf Hitler had been a supporter of Zionism.
“Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel,” Livingstone said. “He was supporting Zionism.”
Rather than being expelled for his comments, Livingstone was suspended from holding office for two years and has already served 11 months of that sentence.
One of the groups outraged by the decision was Jewish security watchdog the Community Security Trust, which said the failure to expel Livingstone “strengthens real anti-Semites and their fellow travelers, and will leave the community less serious than ever that the Labour party is serious in dealing with anti-Semitism.”
Jonathan Arkush, the president of UK Jewish umbrella group the Board of Deputies, said that relations between the Labour Party and the Jewish community “have reached an all-time low,” according to Haaretz.
“All we can conclude form this hopelessly wrong decision is that the party has an enduring problem with anti-Semitism to which it is unwilling to face up,” Arkush said.
Livingstone is one of several Labour Party members to have been suspended over the past year for anti-Semitic comments. Though party leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted last year that there is “no place for anti-Semitism” in his party, he himself has been the subject of controversy for perceived anti-Israel sentiment and positive comments regarding the Palestinian terror group Hamas.