Racism is a uniquely reactionary ideology, used to justify the greatest crimes in history – the slave trade, the extermination of all original inhabitants of the Caribbean, the elimination of every native inhabitant of
Racism serves as the cutting edge of the most reactionary movements. An ideology that starts by declaring one human being inferior to another is the slope whose end is at
No serious commentator has argued that my comments to an Evening Standard reporter outside City Hall last month were anti-semitic. So I am glad that Henry Grunwald, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, accepted on these pages that “Ken is sincere when he states that he regards the Holocaust as the worst crime of the last century”.
The contribution of Jewish people to human civilisation and culture is unexcelled and extraordinary. You only have to think of giants such as Einstein, Freud and Marx to realise that human civilisation would be unrecognisably diminished without the achievements of the Jewish people. The same goes for the Jewish contribution to
As mayor, I have pressed for police action over anti-semitic attacks at the highest level, and my administration has backed a series of initiatives of importance to the Jewish community, including hosting the Anne Frank exhibition at City Hall and measures to ensure the go-ahead for the north
Throughout the 1970s, I worked happily with the Board of Deputies in campaigns against the National Front. Problems began when, as leader of the Greater London Council, I rejected the board’s request that I should fund only Jewish organisations that it approved of. The Board of Deputies was unhappy that I funded Jewish organisations campaigning for gay rights and others that disagreed with policies of the Israeli governmen.
Relations with the board took a dramatic turn for the worse when I opposed
The fundamental issue on which we differ, as Henry Grunwald knows, is not anti-semitism – which my administration has fought tooth and nail – but the policies of successive Israeli governments.
To avoid manufactured misunderstandings, the policies of Israeli governments are not analogous to Nazism. They do not aim at the systematic extermination of the Palestinian people, in the way Nazism sought the annihilation of the Jews.
Today the Israeli government continues seizures of Palestinian land for settlements, military incursions into surrounding countries and denial of the right of Palestinians expelled by terror to return. Ariel Sharon, Israel’s prime minister, is a war criminal who should be in prison, not in office.
To obscure these truths, those around
Today the Israeli government is helping to promote a wholly distorted picture of racism and religious discrimination in
All racist and anti-semitic attacks must be stamped out. However, the reality is that the great bulk of racist attacks in
They are also fuelling anger and violence across the world. For a mayor of
â€¢ Ken Livingstone is the