Statement on the outcome of Ken Livingstone hearing

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Simon Benscher, Chair of the Board of National Officers
5 April 2017

It is clearly offensive to invoke Hitler’s name in this context or to equate Zionism with Nazism. It is not only illegitimate, it is dangerous because it legitimises attacks on Jews.

We acknowledge that there will be a range of opinion across the Jewish community this morning but while Livingstone’s verbal gymnastics may have helped him in the hearing, even he could not have missed the offence that he had caused and he could so easily have apologised. The fact that he chose not to shows that he was more interested in pursuing a political argument which is a distortion of facts and motivations, than in creating the type of inclusive society which the Labour Party says that it seeks to promote.

As a religious organisation, it is not for us to determine how the Labour party should discipline its members but we understand why so many Labour supporters will feel let down this morning.

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