Green Ken? Livingstone ‘will apply to join’

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Green Ken? Livingstone ‘will apply to join’

Former Mayor of London, who thinks the murderer of six million Jews was a Zionist, said he 'never met anyone in the Green Party I didn’t like'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Ken Livingstone . (Photo credit: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire)
Ken Livingstone . (Photo credit: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire)

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone has said he is applying to join the Green Party, three years after he quit Labour in an antisemitism row.

Speaking to The Guardian the 76 year-old said he was politically both “green and red” added: “I never met anyone in the Green party I didn’t like. I will apply to join them [the Greens].”

Livingstone said he had already had earlier talks with several senior party members in which he outlined “how much I wanted to join and what I’d do” but he never received a response.

He said his suspicion is that they “thought that if they brought me in they’d be accused of being antisemitic”.

But after about Livingstone’s attempt to join the Greens, a party spokesman said: “We welcome everybody who shares our political aims and values to join the Green party.”

The suggestion the Livingstone could join the party  was immediately condemned by one of the Greens leading Jewish members and London Assembly representative  Zack Polanski.

He told the Guardian:” “The rules are very clear that there’s no space in the party for antisemitism, transphobia, racism, sexism or any other form of discrimination and while it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment on any individual application, I’d expect any new member – whoever they are – to follow our code of conduct.”

But Green peer Jenny Jones, Livingstone’s former deputy, was more responsive to his bid to join the party.

Jones also added that she had seen no evidence of antisemitism by him in eight years of working together. “As far as I’m concerned, I would welcome him,” she said. “He was a superb mayor and he was followed by Boris Johnson, who doesn’t understand the environment and is obsessed by economic growth.”

High profile membership applications to join the Greens  have to go to a regional council for an internal consultation process.

Livingstone left Labour in 2018 following a high profile row which led to his suspension  in May 2016 for telling a journalist that when Hitler was first elected, “he was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing 6 million Jews”.

Livingstone made repeated reference to the  1933 Haavara agreement between Nazi Germany – the only formal contract signed between Nazi Germany and a Zionist organisation.

A historical moment seized upon by many anti-Zionist and far-left activist the deal was deeply controversial amid a Jewish European boycott of German trade.

It saw an agreement between Germany and German Zionists to facilitate the emigration of around 60, 000 Jews  under the threat of Nazi persecution to British Mandate Palestine if they used their assets to purchase exported German goods.

But with his remarks Livingstone sparked fury as he was accused of trivialising the genocide and also offering Hitler a “diminished responsibility” defence.

Stressing his Green credentials Livingstone has now told the Guardian: “I genuinely think we’re heading toward extinction before the end of the century because no government anywhere is doing enough to tackle the impact of climate change.

“At Cop26 they all said the right things but … you’ve got to get people to completely change the way we live and no government around the world seems to have the courage to do that.”

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