Livingstone Sticks to 'Zionist Hitler' Remarks, Says Marxist's Book Proves Him Right

In first interview since being suspended from Labour Party, former London mayor cites 1983 book said to be 'well outside the academic mainstream' to defend his position.

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone leaves his home in London, Britain April 29, 2016.
Peter Nicholls, Reuters

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone doubled down in an interview to The Guardian Friday on comments deemed by many to be anti-Semitic and which led to his suspension from the Labour Party.

Specifically, Livingstone told the British daily that he would use the 1983 book "Zionism in the Age of the Dictators" by American Marxist Lenni Brenner to fight his suspension and defend his claim that Adolf Hitler had supported Zionism "before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews."

"All the detail is in there," Livingstone said to The Guardian. "The striking thing that does confirm there was an ongoing dialogue between the Zionists and Nazi government is, in 1935 Hitler passed a law banning any flag being displayed except the swastika and the blue and white Zionist flag, which is pretty amazing."

The Hitler reference landed Livingstone in hot water, which reached boiling point on Wednesday as he continued, alleging there was a "well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticized Israeli policy as anti-Semitic." His comments were made in defense of a colleague, MP Naz Shah, who was suspended from the party on Wednesday for comparing Hitler's policies to those of Israel toward Palestinians and for suggesting that Israel be relocated to the United States.

Now, however, Livingstone claims that Brenner's book may vindicate him.

"It confirms there was clearly an ongoing dialogue," he told the Guardian, "even if the Israeli government now tries to pretend that none of that all happened."

"Brenner's book lies well outside academic mainstream," said Hitler-era expert Thomas Webber when approached by The Guardian. "It is mostly celebrated either by the extreme left and by the neo-Nazi right. Asked about Livingstone claims about the Nazi-era law regarding the flying of the so-called Zionist flag, Webber responded: "That's news to me."

Livingstone said in the interview that he had met Brenner in the U.K. in 1983 and that "at the time no one objected. The Jewish community was traumatized to read all the stuff in it, because they didn’t believe it but, you know no one in the Labour party complained about my appearing with him or citing him."

The book Livingstone intends to cite in his defense is also cited by the Institute for Historical Review, considered by many, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, as anti-Semitic and a group that denies the Holocaust.