LFI’s parliamentary officers have called on Jeremy Corbyn to publicly call for Ken Livingstone’s expulsion. The full letter is below:
We are utterly appalled by the decision not to expel Ken Livingstone from the Labour party last night. Mr Livingstone has repeatedly made comments on Nazism that have caused huge offence to the Jewish community, and he appears to take delight in repeating his comments and causing further hurt and insult to Britain’s Jewish community.
Nor were last April’s comments the first time Mr Livingstone has insulted the Jewish community and made offensive and erroneous comments about Nazi Germany. He has previously claimed that Britain’s actions in Ireland were worse than what Hitler had done to the Jews; edited a newspaper which published a cartoon depicting an Israeli prime minister, whose parents and brother were murdered in the Holocaust, as an SS officer; told a journalist he was “just like a concentration camp guard” after finding he was Jewish; said Jews vote Tory because they are rich; and told Jewish property developers to “go back to Iran and try their luck”.
Every major Jewish community figure – including the Chief Rabbi – has condemned this decision. A short suspension, amounting to no more than a slap on the wrist, sends a clear and unambiguous message that the Labour party finds anti-semitism within its ranks entirely acceptable. This decision further contravenes your own statements about a zero-tolerance policy towards anti-semitism and racism.
We urge you both to ask the NEC to review this decision immediately and to call publicly for Mr Livingstone’s expulsion from the Labour party.
Rt. Hon Joan Ryan MP, LFI Chair
Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale, LFI Lords Chair
Michael Dugher MP, LFI Vice-Chair
Louise Ellman MP, LFI Vice-Chair
Sharon Hodgson MP, LFI Vice-Chair
Rt. Hon Pat McFadden MP, LFI Vice-Chair
Rachel Reeves MP, LFI Vice-Chair
Jonathan Reynolds MP, LFI Vice-Chair
John Woodcock MP, LFI Vice-Chair
To see the original, please click here.
The letter follows the following statement from Rt Hon Joan Ryan MP, Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, responding to the decision not to exclude Ken Livingstone:
“Ken Livingstone has made Nazi comparisons, repeatedly misrepresented the meaning of Zionism and appears to take a twisted delight in offending Jews. It is disgraceful that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party seems to have decided – by allowing him to remain a member – that such behaviour is acceptable. Coupled with its failure to tackle serious allegations of antisemitism at Oxford University Labour Club and last year’s discredited Chakrabarti report, this decision means that Labour’s condemnations of antisemitism will ring even more hollow than they previously did.”
Responding to Jeremy Corbyn’s statement on the matter, Joan Ryan also said:
“It’s unfortunate that Jeremy Corbyn failed to mention antisemitism in his statement. I think we now need urgent clarification on whether the review simply refers to a new complaint which the NEC would automatically be obliged to consider. We do not need another year-long investigation, during which time Livingstone will continue to have a platform to assert his untrue and highly offensive views about the Holocaust. Instead, we need Jeremy Corbyn to say he wants Ken Livingstone expelled and he wants the NEC to review the inappropriate sentence delivered last night.”