Just a day after British Labour Party lawmaker Naz Shah was suspended by the party for saying that Israel should be relocated to the United States as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Labour on Thursday suspended another one of its party’s members—former London mayor Ken Livingstone—for saying that Hitler was a Zionist.
Igniting the latest chapter in an anti-Semitism scandal that is engulfing his party, Livingstone told BBC Radio London in Shah’s defense, “When Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews.”
After Labour lawmaker MP John Mann called Livingstone a “Nazi apologist” for the remarks, Livingstone responded that he did not intend to say that Hitler was a Zionist. Hitler was “a monster from start to finish,” Livingstone said, claiming that he was simply quoting historical “facts” in his initial comments.
But Labour MP Chris Bryant, the shadow (British opposition) leader in the House of Commons, said, “I’m sick and tired of people trying to explain it away and, yes, I’m talking to you Ken Livingstone.” The Labour Party then confirmed that it has suspended Livingstone. Labour’s London mayoral candidate, Sadiq, Khan said that Livingstone’s comments “are appalling and inexcusable. There must be no place for this in our party.”
Although Livingstone denied the existence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, saying that the “confusion with anti-Semitism and criticizing the Israeli government policy undermines the importance is tackling real anti-Semitism,” U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said it is “quite clear the Labour Party has got a problem with anti-Semitism.”