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Ken Livingstone: The former Mayor of London has claimed that Hitler was a Zionist (photo: World Economic Forum)


“So what do you think?” people keep asking me. Would I come on the  Today programme, Newsnight, breakfast television for heaven’s sake, and talk about it. “It” was not the opening of a new play, the surprisingly good reviews, or the fact that one of the four actresses had to leave the show permanently after the first night due to family illness. Nor the broken limbs of two audience members who tumbled down the theatre steps, on two different nights (making the term “break a leg” a no-go area for ever more), stopping the show while paramedics were called.

Nor was it for my thoughts on Barack Obama’s gig as a stand-up comedian — good — or his lecturing us on the consequences of a Brexit — bad — or even the terrible shock of losing the bright and beautiful Victoria Wood, whom I had not even known was ill.

What they sought was my response to Ken Livingstone’s response to Naz Shah’s delicate 2014 tweet on the Jewish question. I turned them all down. I was — am — too tired.

I read and listened and watched, though, and came to a cynical conclusion. For the Jews in the diaspora, as for the state of Israel, one thing is for sure: we’re damned if we respond and damned if we don’t.

Out of the blue, the papers and the airways are filled with the word “anti-Semitism”. It is all about us. Again. Why? Have I missed something? Did Israel attack a neighbour in response to rocket fire? No. Have Jews attacked, surrounded, blown up, beheaded, caged, destroyed, proselytised, rounded up, raped or hijacked anybody? No. Have any recent terrorist attacks been perpetrated by Jewish groups? No. Have we vowed in our constitutions, on our websites and on social media to destroy any one of the Muslim states or Catholic or Christian countries of the world, or urged young Jews to stab members of other faiths? Have we flown planes into tower blocks or trained suicide bombers to blow themselves up in marketplaces, on buses, and in hospitals? No.

Yet we are back on the front pages and the rumblings can be heard — “Oh, it’s the bloody Jews again. It’s always about them.” Too bloody true it is. Why?

I don’t know why. I am far too busy running the world’s finances and plotting domination. It’s all I can do to get to Waitrose.

Ken Livingstone may be an egomaniac and a controversy seeker, but he is not a fool. He is, like many on the Left, and most on university campuses and among extremists, completely obsessed with the Palestinian cause — a cause which has been absent from the front pages since IS emerged as the biggest threat the world has seen since Nazi Germany, and since Wahhabis started slaughtering Shias, and Sunnis began supplying arms to Syria.

In one foul sweep and 20 interviews he has put the Palestinian cause right back on the front page and in the zeitgeist. Naz Shah had apologised in the House for her abysmal racism, suggesting that the Jews of Israel should be transported to America — job done. I can’t vouch for her sincerity but she made all the right noises in the right order. The fact that she should never, after such a tweet, have been accepted as a candidate is another subject. Mind you, I see the Labour party’s problem. Whom do you select to replace George Galloway when Genghis Khan is already dead?

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Mark1957
August 26th, 2016
9:08 AM
Naz Shah did not suggest that all jews be transported to the U.S. She foolishly retweeted a graphic by a jewish academic who merely said that if Israel had been set up on the North American continent much of today's terrorism would never have happened. Agree with him or not, that is hardly anti-semetic. Where she was foolish was in using the graphic in a sarcastic manner and not realising the likely spin on that. There is no denying that many on the left are obsessed with Palestine and Israel, some are overly aggressive and some, it has to be said, will be anti-semetic, that does not mean to say that they all are. Even so, the majority, who I'm sure are honourable people, must regulate their own language and behaviour better if they are to avoid the same furore again in the future.

robert quinn
June 11th, 2016
11:06 AM
Well, if professor Timothy Snyder is to be believed ('Bloodlands' and the recent 'Black Earth'), the Final Solution is aptly named. It wasn't the Original Solution. The Nazis did want a 'judenfrei' Reich. They also believed Jews could be compelled or persuaded to move elsewhere, be it Palestine, Poland, even Madagascar at one point (once Britain saw how the wind was blowing and permitted a Jew-laden armada to safely sail to German-acquired territory). This was the great dilemma Heydrich and Himmler faced as the Nazis gobbled up lebensraum to the east and west. No matter what they did, they ended up with more Jews, not fewer, especially after carving up Poland (in league with the bolshies in Moscow, not that such gets much attention). Warsaw was the motherlode of European Jewry. So when the war against the Soviets turned south, the Nazis changed wars, slaughtering Jews proving a more successful venture.

Observer of the Scene
June 2nd, 2016
8:06 AM
The Labour party also has a problem with prejudice against the white working-class. And that prejudice has led to horrors like Rotherham, not to mention many years of rapes, assaults and robberies in white working-class areas of British cities. The Jewish community has not so far suffered much by comparison.

Ewan Maclean
June 1st, 2016
11:06 AM
"Corbyn, Sadiq Khan and Livingstone have embraced those who incite the murder of Jews" This may not be the columnists own words. Just as well - it has the appearance of hypocrisy. Anyone who supports the Israeli government and its more vocal constituencies embraces those who incite the murder of Palestinian Arabs. Surely this is not the most helpful way to frame things?

lindsay hall
June 1st, 2016
11:06 AM
A curious tradition has grown up. - When they come to retire, the head of Mossad and of Shin Bet and the IDF chief of staff come out and say what they have presumably long thought, that Israel should finally negotiate in good faith with the Palestinians, including Hamas. Embracing those who incite the murder of Jews?

vera lustig
May 31st, 2016
5:05 PM
Superb piece, Maureen. You can't win, can you, when you're accused of "what-about-ism" the moment you mention other displaced and oppressed peoples. You'd think that, when it came to human rights violations, Israel was the only show in town. Where, for example, are the voices protesting about the fact that UK-sourced weapons are killing and maiming civilians in Yemen? Yes indeed, who could replace George Galloway as the MP for Bradford West? I had high hopes for Naz Shah when she toppled Gorgeous George last year: how naive of me. There are, sadly, a lot of self-hating Jews out there. Of course we should not blindly support Israel, even when it's guilty of abuses, but, when defending the rights of Palestinians, you have to be very careful about who you get into bed with. Why not help fundraise for the excellent New Israel Fund, which has an active branch in the UK and which is an umbrella organisation supporting NGOs that campaign for justice and equality for all in Israel?

Pastor Ed
May 30th, 2016
9:05 PM
Yes, Tired, understandably. The 500 million Evangelical Christians in the world (see Wikipedia) will stand on either side of the Jewish people and defend. This time we say: NEVER AGAIN ! NEVER

In2minds
May 30th, 2016
6:05 PM
Well done Maureen Lipman for giving the new Mayor of London and Brexit a mention. Sadiq Khan is on a roll at the moment, even David Cameron can't spot the problems to come from the election of Khan and has teamed up with his new best friend to promote Remain. It will end in tears on both counts.

AnonymousIn2minds
May 30th, 2016
6:05 PM
Well done Maureen Lipman for giving the new Mayor of London and Brexit a mention. Sadiq Khan is on a roll at the moment, even David Cameron can't spot the problems to come from the election of Khan and has teamed up with his new best friend to promote Remain. It will end in tears on both counts.

SARAH ADLER
May 30th, 2016
3:05 PM
pity that there was a need for such a piece in the first place. With the BBC unable to be impartial we need more articles like this.Never thought that the UK would be taking up the anti semitic literature of 1930s Germany.Maybe the arrival of other immigrant people has something to do with it?

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