Tuesday, March 21, 2006

`Red Ken' Livingstone sticks his foot in it again

London Mayor Ken Livingstone seems to have a `thing' when it concerns Jews and just can't seem to keep a civil tongue in his head on that pesky subject.

He's already in deep barney and appealing a four day suspension by the London Town Council for abusing a Jewish journalist and likening him to a concentration camp guard.

Not content with that, his latest glitch arose during a March 21 press conference while discussing the 4 billion pound 'Olympic City' building project in London's East End. The mayor blamed developers David and Simon Rueben for having created a "poisonous state of relations" within the syndicate building the project and stated if the Ruebens were "not happy here perhaps they could go back to Iran and try it under the Ayatollahs."

Asked by reporters to clarify his remark, the mayor repeated his statement, saying the Reuben brothers, born in Bombay to Iraqi Jewish parents and British residents for the past 40 years, should "try their luck with the ayatollahs".Jerusalem Post


This latest remark brought cries of anti-Semitism from members of the London Assembly and outrage from Jewish leaders.

The mayor's "latest anti-Semitic remark" was "shocking, outrageous and grossly offensive to the entire Jewish community" the London Assembly's Conservative Group said in a press statement.

"The mayor is anti-Semitic and we know that in London" Brian Coleman, Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden (Conservative), told The Jerusalem Post. "This is the most extreme remark he has made" and suggested his remarks "adds fuel to the fire" and may lead to additional penalties from the civil service panel.

"This was an appalling thing" for the mayor to say, said Jon Benjamin, chief executive officer of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

"To say to first and second generation immigrants to Britain that they should 'go back to where they came from', that is the kind of language one would expect from one end of the political spectrum," Benjamin said. Livingstone's "picking on the race or religion or ethnic origin of someone in a dispute" he said was "not acceptable" civic discourse Benjamin argued.

Hmmm..I wonder if Red Ken would have ever suggested that a radical Islamist like Abu Hamza , Livingstone's old pal at the Finsbury Park Mosque should go `back where he came from'?

The Reuben brothers, to their credit, were quoted as saying that they did not see the mayor's remarks as anti-Semitic, and in a written statement disputed the mayor's contentions over their handling of the Olympic City project.

"The Reuben brothers remain completely committed to the Stratford City project in its entirety as well as the Olympic opportunity. They are working extremely hard to deliver the development for the long-term benefit of London and Londoners" they said.

Kudos to them for taking the high road..and after all, Ken Livingstone is already pretty well known for this sort of thing - what's one more insult or outburst?

1 comment:

Dan Zaremba said...

And he's al-Qaradawi's best mate.
How on earth the Londoners could re-elect him?