British Labour activist Mike Sivier on Monday rejected claims that he is a Holocaust denier following a report on Arutz Sheva detailing his reinstatement to the ranks of the Labour party after being suspended over alleged anti-Semitic remarks.
- British publications The Jewish Chronicle and Sunday Times had reported that Sivier was suspended by the party last year after claiming he could not comment on whether thousands or millions of Jews died in the Holocaust because “I don’t know”.
The same report said that another reason for the suspension was that in a post on his website, Sivier said “it may be entirely justified” for former Scottish Linlithgow MP Tam Dalyell to remark that former Prime Minister Tony Blair had been unduly influenced by “a cabal of Jewish advisers”.
In an e-mail to Arutz Sheva on Monday, Sivier stated the comments he made regarding Dalyell related to an off-topic comment on an article on his website.
The commenter, 'Ben', stated: “Yes of course there will always be individuals with aberrant views” and then referred to an incident in which in 2003, Tam Dalyell suggested that Tony Blair was “unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers”.
“My response was to point out that the claim had been stripped of its context, so it was impossible to comment on it: 'I would point out that (without further information) concerns that Tony Blair was being ‘unduly influenced’ by ‘a cabal of Jewish advisors’ may have been entirely justified,'” Sivier told Arutz Sheva. “In other words, there’s no point in presenting a bald statement like that to anybody without information on whether there was any accuracy in the claim or not. Where was the context? Nowhere to be seen.”
“It has been suggested to me that the use of the phrase 'cabal of Jewish advisors' is an anti-Semitic trope and I should have changed it. Unfortunately, I could not do that. Those were the words that had been presented to me and if I changed them, I would have been changing the meaning of the discussion,” he added.
Regarding the claim that he said he could not comment on whether thousands or millions of Jews died in the Holocaust, Sivier noted the allegation follows the same comment, on the same article, from the same commenter, who wrote: "In 2008, the SWP issued an explanation of the Holocaust that referred to ‘thousands’ (not ‘millions’) of victims and omitted any reference to Jews. Whether this was ‘organised’ or ‘just a mistake’ seems irrelevant.”
“There was no link to anything written by the SWP – just the article commenting on it,” Sivier told Arutz Sheva. “So I responded: 'I’m not going to comment on ‘thousands’ instead of ‘millions’ because I don’t know' – meaning, of course, I don’t know why the SWP had said that. I'm in the Labour Party, not the SWP. I have always used the ‘high’ figure of six million Jews who were killed in the Nazi Holocaust.”
Sivier acknowledged he authored a book relating to former London mayor Ken Livingstone’s claims about Hitler and Zionism. Livingstone was suspended from Labour after claiming that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler supported Zionism.
“I did write a book about the way Ken Livingstone was treated, following his remarks in defence of Naz Shah in 2016. His comments were historically accurate, but he was attacked with claims that he had said Hitler was a Zionist, which is not true,” said Sivier. “He had accurately pointed out that the aims of the German Federation of Zionists and the Nazi government had coincided for a period of several years before World War II - the Nazis wanted to get rid of Jews, and the German Federation of Zionists wanted to get as many Jews out of Germany as possible. That was all. My understanding is that Mr. Livingstone referred to this period in response to Naz Shah having tweeted an image of Israel superimposed on the map of the USA. That image, suggesting that the state of Israel should be moved in its entirety to the States, had been created in response to a claim that the Israeli government was considering a plan to forcibly move all Palestinians to neighbouring Arab countries. As we all know, there is nothing anti-Semitic in criticism of the Israeli government, and there is nothing anti-Semitic in quoting historical fact accurately.”
“The disputes panel run by Labour's National Executive Committee did vote to lift my suspension, giving me a warning and requiring me to attend 'training' run by the Jewish Labour Movement. I rejected that decision as it implies guilt, and I am innocent,” he clarified.