Labour suspends Livingstone for another year

Former London mayor suspended from Labour for another year for saying Hitler supported Zionism.

Elad Benari ,

Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone
Reuters

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone was on Tuesday suspended from the Labour Party for another year over comments he made about Adolf Hitler and Zionism.

A disciplinary panel upheld three charges of breaching party rules, the BBC reported.

Livingstone has been suspended since April 2016 when he claimed Hitler had supported Zionism.

He has repeatedly refused to apologize for the comments, even after being harangued as a "racist, Hitler-apologist" by an MP from his own party.

Last week, days before he was to face the disciplinary panel, he repeated his claims and said there was at one point “real collaboration” between the Nazis and Jews.

Some Labour MPs and Jewish groups have criticized the decision not to expel Livingstone, but he said he had been "suspended for stating the truth".

Following the disciplinary hearing, Labour said Livingstone had breached its rule 2.1.8, which says that "no member of the party shall engage in conduct which in the opinion of the NEC is prejudicial, or in any act which in the opinion of the NEC is grossly detrimental to the party."

He has been handed a two-year suspension, which will expire in April 2018 taking into account the suspension he has already served. The party said it would make no further comment, reported the BBC.

Speaking outside the hearing, Livingstone said, "I expected them to expel me so I have now got to consider whether I challenge this legally or just live with it.”

He said he was not planning on running for office so the suspension "doesn't make a great deal of change", and said the hearing had been "like sitting through a court in North Korea".

Livingstone is one of dozens of Labour members who have been suspended and expelled from the Labour party over the past year, when the British media began scrutinizing the proliferation of anti-Semitic incidents within Labour.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn himself has come under fire from the local Jewish community, due to his calling Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends" and for outright refusing to condemn those two terrorist organizations despite being urged to do so by local Jewish groups.

A report released in October determined that the Labour party’s leadership is failing to seriously confront the anti-Semitism among its ranks.

Following Tuesday's hearing, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, said, "Relations between the Labour Party and the Jewish community have reached a new all-time low.”

"After 12 months of indecision, despite finding him guilty of all three charges, the Labour Party has decided to suspend him from holding office for just one year despite his shameless, disgraceful and tendentious attempts to link Zionism to Nazism," he added.



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