Not about of­fence

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT -

It has taken a year for the Labour Party to de­cide that Ken Liv­ing­stone was guilty as charged and then do noth­ing about it. Now, af­ter an up­roar from within the party, Jeremy Cor­byn has at­tempted to ex­cul­pate him­self from a mess of his own mak­ing by an­nounc­ing that the party’s Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee will look at the for­mer Mayor of Lon­don’s be­hav­iour since he was first sus­pended. Doubt­less the Labour leader and his team think they are be­ing clever. But his state­ment is re­veal­ing. He de­scribes the is­sue as be­ing that Mr Liv­ing­stone “caused deep of­fence and hurt to the Jewish com­mu­nity.” But of­fence and hurt feel­ings are ir­rel­e­vant. Mr Liv­ing­stone was not charged with up­set­ting peo­ple. He was charged with bring­ing Labour into dis­re­pute through a seem­ingly never-end­ing se­ries of an­ti­semitic state­ments.

Mr Cor­byn has re­peat­edly said that he opposes an­ti­semitism “and all forms of racism”, to use his usual form of words. He has spo­ken of hav­ing zero tol­er­ance of an­ti­semitism. And yet Labour’s ac­tions un­der his lead­er­ship tell a very dif­fer­ent story. Even now, af­ter Tues­day’s de­ci­sion to al­low Mr Liv­ing­stone to stay in the party caused apoplexy among de­cent mem­bers, you will search in vain for any con­dem­na­tion by the Labour leader of the de­ci­sion. As for Mr Liv­ing­stone: this week he al­leged that this was all a Jewish con­spir­acy. Specif­i­cally, he said that the

JC was guilty of “print­ing a lie” about him which caused all his prob­lems. The ac­cu­sa­tion (which is, of course, non­sense) is telling. De­spite wall-towall cov­er­age of his bizarre dis­tor­tions of his­tory for days, on TV, ra­dio and in the pa­pers, the one me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tion he has cho­sen to at­tack is a Jewish news­pa­per. We can each draw our own con­clu­sions from that.

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