Ken Livingstone: Israelis should not be ashamed about what happened 80 years ago
Ken Livingstone today risked re-igniting the row over his comments on Zionism and Adolf Hitler, by saying Israelis “should not be ashamed of what happened 80 years ago”.
The former London mayor also claimed many people had been shocked to find out about the “relationship” between some German Jews and the Nazis in the 1930s.
His comments come despite the fact he was suspended by Labour last week over his initial claims that Hitler was a Zionist "before he went mad and murdered six million Jews".
Mr Livingstone had also vowed to stop giving media interviews over the controversy.
But speaking to Sky News from outside his home in north London today, the veteran politician again insisted he had done nothing wrong.
He said: "It’s not an unguarded or ill-advised comment to answer a question honestly about historical reality and the simple fact is no one would have paid any attention to that except that you had this group of MPs screaming that I was a Nazi apologist and so on…
“The simple fact is so many people have gone on to the internet now, they’ve seen Joseph Finkelstein’s (sic) brilliant interview.
"[For] a lot of people it’s a shock to discover there had been that relationship between a small section of the Jewish community in Germany and Adolf Hitler but it’s historically true and the simple reality of all of that is we shouldn’t be ashamed about some of the mistakes our government has made in the past and I don’t think the people of Israel need to be ashamed of what happened 80 years ago.”
Meanwhile, a Labour council leader said Mr Livingstone had done "enormous damage" to his party's council elections chances with his comments.
Pete Lamb, who leads Crawley Borough Council, told PoliticsHome: “All he has to do is keep his mouth shut and there will be Labour candidates in places with the ability to protect public services and look after vulnerable people, and he says that’s his objective, but the man’s ego is such that he in incapable of passing up the opportunity to say something.
“That isn’t, as far as I can tell, left wing politics… and he’s done enormous damage to people."