March 04, 2005

Mock shock at the Guardian

It could have been a good day in the Guardian. today as Ken Livingstone's withering riposte to Britain's King of the Jews*, Henry Grunwald, was published. Sadly,the Guardian. went and spoiled it by publishing an absurd shock horror piece by Hugh Muir on its front page about Ken's article. In it, Hugh Muir accuses Ken of having "reignited his dispute with Britain's Jewish leaders by launching a provocative attack on the "war criminal" Ariel Sharon." Imagine! Having to use quotes around the expression "war criminal" when describing a war criminal. It's particularly odd considering that Sharon has been so described in a Guardian. editorial before now. Hugh Muir continues in that vain throughout the article. "The London mayor accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing". We don't use quotes for ethnic cleansing anymore. It's a tragedy of our time that ethnic cleansing has passed into the language.

Also on the downside of the Guardian. today there's a letter from Louise Ellman MP, repeating the lie that Ken Livingstone used the Nazi jibe only after learning that the reporter was Jewish.

So, to Ken's article. It's really rather good. Starting with a brilliant round-up of the menace of racism:
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 Tasmania, apartheid. The Holocaust was the ultimate, "industrialised" expression of racist barbarity.
and working through his support for various Jewish causes:
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 London eruv.
and on to when his first run-in with the Zionists of the Board of Deputies began.
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 government.

Relations with the board took a dramatic turn for the worse when I opposed Israel's illegal invasion of Lebanon, culminating in the massacres at the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Shatila. The board also opposed my involvement in the successful campaign in 1982 to convince the Labour party to recognise the PLO as the legitimate voice of the Palestinian people.
and finally:
All racist and anti-semitic attacks must be stamped out. However, the reality is that the great bulk of racist attacks in Europe today are on black people, Asians and Muslims - and they are the primary targets of the extreme right. For 20 years Israeli governments have attempted to portray anyone who forcefully criticises the policies of Israel as anti-semitic. The truth is the opposite: the same universal human values that recognise the Holocaust as the greatest racist crime of the 20th century require condemnation of the policies of successive Israeli governments - not on the absurd grounds that they are Nazi or equivalent to the Holocaust, but because ethnic cleansing, discrimination and terror are immoral.

They are also fuelling anger and violence across the world. For a mayor of London not to speak out against such injustice would not only be wrong - but would also ignore the threat it poses to the security of all Londoners.
I'm guessing that the Zionist mainstream will be pulling out all the stops against Livingstone now. Geoffrey Alderman, in the Jewish Chronicle. has called on all Jewish members of the Labour party to demand Livingstone's expulsion. I wish he wasn't a member of Labour as well but I don't think that this would stop him winning the mayoralty of London again; it might even strengthen his hand.

* A commenter who calls himself Freddie has said the following: "Your reference to a "king of the Jews" is offensive, or didn't you know this either?" The reference was to express my objection to Henry Grunwald describing himself, in a Guardian. article, as "the elected leader of the British Jewish community". If anyone whose opinion I respect objects then please let me know via both the comments box and email. Thanks!

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