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Anti-semitism row – Ken Livingstone suspended

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Jeremy Corbyn has denied that Labour is in crisis after former London Mayor Ken Livingstone was suspended for comments made defending Bradford MP Naz Shah who has been accused of anti-Semitism.

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The row was prompted by the suspension of Labour MP Naz Shah on Wednesday 27th April over comments she made about Israel on Facebook.

Labour criticism of Ken Livingstone spiked after he appeared on BBC Radio London defending Naz Shah saying that he had never heard anyone in the Labour Party say anything anti-Semitic.

"Naz is not anti-Semitic - she was completely over the top, what she said was rude, but I literally, during the 47 years I've been in the Labour Party, I've never heard anyone say anything anti-Semitic,” said Mr Livingstone.

"I've heard a lot of people being critical of Israel, but if I was to denounce the South African government, you wouldn't say I was racist.

"And one of my worries is this confusion with anti-Semitism and criticising the Israeli government policy undermines the importance is tackling real anti-Semitism.

KEN LIVINGSTONE: "And there’s one stark fact that virtually no one in the British media ever reports, in almost all these conflicts the death toll is usually between 60 and 100 Palestinians killed for every Israeli."

“Now, any other country doing that would be accused of war crimes but it’s like we have a double standard about the policies of the Israeli government.

“As I’ve said, I’ve never heard anybody say anything antisemitism-Semitic, but there’s been a very well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticises Israeli policy as antisemitic. I had to put up with 35 years of this.

But Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said Mr Livingstone's comments were "abhorrent and beyond disgraceful".

Meanwhile, MP John Mann, who called Mr Livingstone a "Nazi apologist" in front of a media scrum as he arrived at Westminster, has been reprimanded.

The Labour MP had been referring to comments Mr Livingstone made about Adolf Hitler and that he had simply been quoting historical "facts".

 

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