Ken Livingstone the History Man

January 4, 2009

Reiterating a notion put forward by musician Brian Eno on Friday at the demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy, Ken Livingstone announced “This (Gaza) is a ghetto, in exactly the same way that the Warsaw Ghetto was and people are trapped in it. Under those conditions angry young men will take up arms”.

Gaza is the same as the Warsaw Ghetto? I didn’t know that but Ken is a man who has taken a deep interest in these matters for many years. He must have a point. I thought I’d research the assertion further as I’m embarrassed to admit that while I was aware of the Warsaw Ghetto I have no detailed knowledge of it.

It turns out that Ken is absolutely right. Gaza is indeed a modern day mirror image of the Warsaw Ghetto. Some of the most striking parallels are as follows:

1 In the Warsaw Ghetto young men did indeed take up arms against their oppressors. They fired hundreds of missiles week after week out of the Warsaw Ghetto into neighbouring towns causing those communities enormous stress and fear.

2 For many years the Nazi occupiers of Poland had tried to make peace with the Jews but the Jews would have nothing of it, regularly sending young children into areas of high civilian population to blow themselves up taking as many Polish lives as possible with them.

3 The Warsaw Ghetto, should more accurately be described as Warsaw for it was indeed the entire city of some 45 square kilometres that the 440,000 Jews inhabited, not a 9 square kilometre district.

4 It should also be stressed that the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto were able to travel freely around the entire 360 square kilometre area known as the Warsaw Strip and not confined to within the ten feet high walls of the ghetto itself.

5 Gaza residents are systematically shipped off to concentration and labour camps, just like their predecessors in Warsaw.

Of course, we know why Ken makes these provocative pronouncements. He knows that by equating Israel to the Nazis he presses Jewish buttons. And why does he want to press Jewish buttons? Because he doesn’t like Jews. This was proved beyond any reasonable doubt when he doggedly refused to apologise for likening journalist Oliver Finegold to a concentration camp guard – clearly a deliberate attempt to goad someone on the basis of their religion. That’s racism isn’t it? This is why he couldn’t bring himself to apologise to Oliver Finegold in spite of warnings that it would cost him crucial votes in the 2008, which it did.

The simple truth is that Ken Livingstone can’t tell the difference between Jews and the state of Israel, or else he can but refuses to do so.