Former London mayor Ken Livingstone made fresh accusations of links between Jews and Nazis on his way into court for a hearing on the aftermath of his controversial comments about Hitler, the news website Independent reported on Thursday.
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Livingstone was suspended from the Labour Party following an April 2016 interview with BBC radio in which he said, “Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism.”
Ahead of his hearing on Thursday, Livingstone created more controversy by saying that "right up until the start of the Second World War," there was "real collaboration" between Jews and Nazis.
“The [Nazi] SS set up training camps so that German Jews who were going to go there could be trained to cope with a very different sort of country," the Independent quoted Livingstone as saying.
“When the Zionist movement asked the Nazi Government, would they stop Jewish Rabbis doing their sermons in Yiddish and make them do it in Hebrew, he [Hitler] agreed to that. He also passed a law that said the Zionist flag and the Swastika were the only flags that could be flown in Germany," Livingstone continued, according to the report.
“And when, in July 1937, many senior Nazis gathered at their Foreign Offices, saying we should stop sending German Jews to Palestine because it risks creating a Jewish state, a directive comes directly from Hitler saying, ‘no continue with this policy.’"
Days ahead of Thursday's two-day disciplinary hearing, the embattled former mayor defended himself against accusations of anti-Semitism, saying that he did not break any Labour Party rules and is being scrutinized for other reasons.
"I am being attacked by the right-wing of the Labour Party because I support Palestinian human rights and strongly back our Leader Jeremy Corbyn," Livingstone claimed, adding that he "did not say or suggest that Hitler was a Zionist."