Dead Men Left

Friday, March 04, 2005

Ken Livingstone

Livingstone enjoys the largest direct mandate of any politician in the country and he's less bound by the party discipline, or simple careerism, that cripples MPs. I'm rather glad I voted for him:

Today the Israeli government continues seizures of Palestinian land for settlements, military incursions into surrounding countries and denial of the right of Palestinians expelled by terror to return. Ariel Sharon, Israel's prime minister, is a war criminal who should be in prison, not in office. Israel's own Kahan commission found that Sharon shared responsibility for the Sabra and Shatila massacres...

To obscure these truths, those around Israel's present government have resorted to demonisation. Initial targets were Palestinians, and have now become Muslims. Take the Middle East Media Research Institute, run by a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence, which poses as a source of objective information but in reality selectively translates material from Arabic and presents Muslims and Arabs in the worst possible light.

Today the Israeli government is helping to promote a wholly distorted picture of racism and religious discrimination in Europe, implying that the most serious upsurge of hatred and discrimination is against Jews.

It is singularly odious that a cloak of fake anti-racism is allowed to cover an efficient system of apartheid. Quite apart from its moral offensiveness, there is the clear danger of crying wolf - that too many claims of antisemitism where none exists draw the sting of the charge, and makes combating the real thing so much harder. Mark Elf commented on roughly these lines when the Livingstone-Finegold farce first blew up.

As Livingstone concludes, genuine anti-racism opposes both antisemitism and Israel's racist policies:

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.