Why neo-Nazis should thank the two Kens
THERE IS no antisemitism in the Labour Party. Don’t take my word for it: Ken Livingstone and Ken Loach have both assured us of this, so we can stop worrying.
You might spot the sarcasm. Livingstone has spent much of his political career baiting Jews and then laughing it off. Loach first attached himself to this Stalinist lie that Zionism and Nazism collaborated in the murder of European Jewry three decades ago, when he directed a play called Perdition that dramatised the Kasztner trial that took place in Israel in the 1950s.
Rezsö Kasztner was a Zionist leader who negotiated with the SS while they were organising the deportation of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz. His supporters point to the 1,300 Jews he managed to save; his detractors claim he knowingly assisted the SS in their work.
This tragic episode is used by Loach, Livingstone and others to claim that the entire Zionist movement collaborated in the murder of their fellow Jews.
So why, out of all the stories of suffering and heroism that make up the fate of European Jewry under the Nazis, do Livingstone and Loach choose to become experts in the one aspect that makes Jews look bad?
The answer is obvious. Their hatred of Zionism and Israel is so overwhelming, it would even lead them to the softer end of Holocaust denial. Possibly there is also something deeper to it: Loach has previously spoken resentfully about “the generalised sense of guilt that everyone has about the Jews”.
Perhaps they don’t care that the more they push guilt for the Holocaust onto “the Jews”, the less heavily that guilt weighs on the Nazis. Loach and Livingstone like to think of themselves as anti-fascists but in this respect they are doing neo-Nazis’ work for them.
The danger is that, by raising doubt about this one aspect of the Holocaust, they cast doubt on all of it.
So when Israeli-American author Miko Peled said at a fringe meeting that free speech includes discussing “the Holocaust: yes or no” – implying that deniers have their place in public debate – Loach refused to condemn the comment, simply telling the BBC: “History is there for us all to discuss.”
Outside the conference, a group called Labour Party Marxists was handing out a leaflet titled “anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism” that quoted Reinhard Heydrich, one of the architects of the final solution, claiming that Nazism did not mean any harm to the Jews. Marxists quoting Nazis to slander Zionists — that pretty much sums up the left nowadays.
Dave Rich is the author of ‘The Left’s Jewish Problem’. A longer version of this article is at www.thejc.com/comment