WHY JONATHAN FREED­LAND IS WRONG TO URGE US TO VOTE FOR KEN

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT&ANALYSIS -

Jonathan Freed­land gives his vote to Ken Liv­ing­stone ( JC, April 11), but mis­in­ter­prets the con­cerns many of us have about the mayor. Be­ing in­volved in the Lon­don po­lit­i­cal scene over many years, I take is­sue with Mr Liv­ing­stone, not only be­cause of his views on Jewish and Is­raeli is­sues, but due to his fail­ure in man­age­ment. As an ex­am­ple, in the cur­rent cam­paign, his re­sponse on the is­sue of the clo­sure of Lon­don post of­fices is to de­clare that he will use his bud­get to keep them open. Yet he knows he does not have the author­ity and can­not de­ploy his may­oral re­sources for that pur­pose.

The other ar­gu­ment Mr Freed­land of­fers in sup­port of Mr Liv­ing­stone is that he will con­front the right wing. But shouldn’t we ex­pect rather more from the mayor? It is a mas­sive man­age­ment job and the mayor, like any other CEO, has to pro­vide a pos­i­tive vi­sion and sound di­rec­tion and also en­sure a cabi­net of out­stand­ing tal­ent. Mr Liv­ing­stone’s ap­point­ments, as we know, do not pos­sess that level of skill or in­tegrity. Pro­fes­sor Eric Moon­man Bea­con Hill, Lon­don N7

Jonathan Freed­land’s play­ing of the BNP card in his plea for Jewish Lon­don­ers to vote for Liv­ing­stone was pure scare­mon­ger­ing. He ne­glects to say, of course, that Boris John­son has “ut­terly and un­re­servedly” con­demned the BNP.

Freed­land’s ar­gu­ment that, when we en­ter the polling booth, we should some­how for­get about Liv­ing­stone’s an­tisemitic and anti-Zion­ist di­a­tribes and re­mem­ber only “what he does for Lon­don” will not wash ei­ther. It’s not as if Liv­ing­stone has held back from ex­ploit­ing his City Hall plat­form to ex­press those views. So if it’s sauce for the may­oral goose, Freed­land can hardly cry foul if vot­ers re­gard it as sauce for the bal­lot-box gan­der.

For­tu­nately there are many other rea­sons to vote Liv­ing­stone out and to elect Boris John­son. Liv­ing­stone has presided over a City Hall where stan­dards have fallen far short of those rec­om­mended by Lord Nolan for pub­lic life. The po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing seven en­ter­prises funded by the Lon­don De­vel­op­ment Agency; se­nior of­fi­cials in City Hall were picked for their Trot­skyite pedi­gree rather than their pro­fes­sional com­pe­tence; and pub­lic ser­vants at City Hall as­sisted Liv­ing­stone (in con­tra­ven­tion of their em­ploy­ment con­tracts) in cam­paign­ing. Jonathan Hoff­man jonathan.hoff­man@bt­in­ter­net.com

Jonathan Freed­land says that his vote for a Lon­don mayor would be based on what the can­di­date would do for Lon­don as a whole. By show­ing his af­fec­tion for sup­port­ers of Is­lamic ter­ror­ism, is Ken Liv­ing­stone there­fore dis­play­ing what he thinks is good for Lon­don as a whole? The killings of 7/7 were not good for Lon­don as a whole. To me as a Jew and a Zion­ist, any can­di­date’s at­ti­tude to Jews, Is­rael and Zion­ism is as im­por­tant to me as the con­ges­tion charge, bendy buses or the fi­nan­cial pro­bity of those who work for the Lon­don As­sem­bly. Dr Michael Mitchell michael.mitchell1@vir­gin.net

Us­ing Jonathan Freed­land’s ra­tio­nale, if Hitler had been stand­ing for Mayor of Ber­lin, Jewish Ber­lin­ers should have voted for him on the ba­sis that crime was down and the streets were clean. Harry Levy Eve­lyn Drive, Hatch End.HA5

Jonathan Freed­land is right to say that Jews should not vote in the Lon­don may­oral elec­tions ac­cord­ing to “our own par­tic­u­lar sec­tional in­ter­ests”, but be­cause of what Mr Liv­ing­stone “does for Lon­don as a whole”.

The trou­ble is that the ex­am­ples of Liv­ing­stone’s be­hav­iour which Mr Freed­land cites are not just a prob­lem for Jewish “sec­tional in­ter­ests”. Em­brac­ing Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi is not just of­fen­sive to Jews; Al-Qaradawi is an Is­lamist ex­trem­ist who sup­ports sui­cide bomb­ings, is equiv­o­cal in con­demn­ing rape and en­dorses the death penalty for ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity. For Liv­ing­stone to hug such a man should be re­pug­nant to all Lon­don­ers, and show his un­suit­abil­ity to be mayor. Michael Gren­fell Hod­ford Road, Lon­don NW11

Mr Freed­land listed a few ex­am­ples of Liv­ing­stone’s ac­tions which caused of­fence to the Jewish com­mu­nity, but has omit­ted the nu­mer­ous ac­tions which are of­fen­sive to all Lon­don­ers re­gard­less of race, gen­der, re­li­gion or pol­i­tics. As a Lon­doner and a Jew, I think we need a rad­i­cal change from this despot who rides roughshod over the Lon­don As­sem­bly and most of his con­stituents. There may not be an ideal can­di­date, but most are more ideal than Liv­ing­stone. Max­ine Lib­son Raven­scroft Av­enue, Lon­don NW11

Jonathan Freed­land is mis­guided. Be­cause of the sig­nif­i­cance of Lon­don as a world cap­i­tal, the mayor of Lon­don has a far greater re­spon­si­bil­ity than get­ting the traf­fic mov­ing. When Mr Liv­ing­stone gives a plat­form to a racist, anti-Zion­ist, ho­mo­pho­bic, Jew-hater, it gives le­git­i­macy to those views. That is why, ir­re­spec­tive of re­li­gion or race, if we care about Lon­don, we can­not vote for Mr Liv­ing­stone. Ian Sheri­dan Kingston upon Thames, Sur­rey

There are three main rea­sons why, un­like Jonathan Freed­land, I will not be vot­ing for Ken Liv­ing­stone, who has pre­vi­ously won my vote — none to do with Jewish is­sues. First, he has bent over back­wards to pro­tect cor­rupt cronies. Sec­ond, while he has been good for Lon­don in a num­ber of ways, he has wasted much of his en­ergy es­pous­ing causes such as wel­com­ing hate-mon­gers like Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Thirdly, Liv­ing­stone has al­ready had eight years in of­fice and it’s about time he made way for new, bright sparks with fresh ideas. If Amer­i­can pres­i­dents have a max­i­mum of two four-year terms, why should the Lon­don mayor have more? David Sas­soon Schools Sup­port Ser­vices Ltd Finch­ley, Lon­don N3

As I un­der­stand it, Mr Freed­land is urg­ing Lon­don’s Jews to vote for an au­to­cratic politi­cian who will­ingly em­braces dan­ger­ous ex­trem­ists; dis­trib­utes large sums of money to du­bi­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions; shows ut­ter con­tempt for the demo­crat­i­cally elected Lon­don As­sem­bly; and, here comes the crunch, is not, by Mr Freed­land’s own ad­mis­sion, best for Jews.

Given that Lon­don’s Jewish com­mu­nity is hard-work­ing, gen­er­ally law-abid­ing and loyal, it might well be bet­ter ar­gued that what is best for the Jews is best for Lon­don. Michael Lazarus The Ridge­way Herts EN6 4BG

Jonathan Freed­land ar­gues that we should ig­nore Ken Liv­ing­stone’s record of of­fend­ing the Jewish com­mu­nity when vot­ing be­cause it has noth­ing to do with run­ning Lon­don. On the con­trary, since the Mayor of Lon­don has no re­spon­si­bil­ity for for­eign af­fairs, when Mr Liv­ing­stone uses his of­fice as a plat­form from which to make com­ments which of­fend the Jewish com­mu­nity, that is an abuse of his of­fice.

By con­trast, Boris John­son has said that since for­eign af­fairs are not the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the mayor, if he wins, he will stick to run­ning Lon­don. For Jewish Lon­don­ers and all friends of Is­rael, it is an easy choice. J Fluss dig­i­tal­logic@freeuk.com

I do ad­mire Jonathan Freed­land’s at­tempt to per­suade JC read­ers to vote Liv­ing­stone into of­fice again. Freed­land ad­mits that Liv­ing­stone has said some pretty un­pleas­ant things and re­minds us how Liv­ing­stone em­braced a rad­i­cal sheikh. In fact, the first half of Freed­land’s ar­ti­cle is a pow­er­ful ar­gu­ment for read­ers to re­ject Liv­ing­stone.

In his rather sub­tle way, Freed­land has en­sured that the com­mu­nity will think twice be­fore vot­ing for Ken. I would even go so far as to sug­gest that Freed­land might be wel­comed by the other side as a speech­writer. Ed­ward Bow­man Carl­ton Close, Lon­don NW3 7UA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.