Ken Livingstone says creation of Israel was a 'great catastrophe' in TV interview

In an Arabic TV interview, Ken Livingstone reportedly said: 'The creation of the state of Israel was fundamentally wrong'

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Ken Livingstone has denied comments he made about Adolf Hitler harmed Labour's election results, as more incendiary remarks made by the former London mayor emerged in which he said the creation of the state of Israel was "a great catastrophe".

Mr Livingstone, who was suspended from the party last week after suggesting Adolf Hitler supported Zionism before he "went mad", returned to the airwaves on election day blaming "far right" Labour MPs for stoking up division in the party.

Questioned on the fallout from his comments, he told Sky News: "The simple fact is, so many people have gone on to the internet now, they have seen Joseph Finkelstein's brilliant interview.

"A lot of people, it's a shock to discover there had been that relationship between a small section of the Jewish community in Germany and Adolf Hitler but it's historically true.

"And the simple reality of all of that is we shouldn't be ashamed about some of the mistakes our government has made in the past and I don't think the people of Israel, don't need to be ashamed of what happened 80 years ago."

HIs comments followed the emergence of a new interview in which he said that creating Israel was "fundamentally wrong".

In an interview with Arabic TV station Al Ghad Al Arabi filmed on 20 April and broadcast on Wednesday, he said: “The creation of the state of Israel was fundamentally wrong, because there had been a Palestinian community there for 2,000 years.”

 

In the clip, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Mr Livingstone suggested some tensions in the Middle East could have been avoided by Jewish people being resettled in the UK and America after the Second World War.

“The creation of the state of Israel was a great catastrophe,” he said.

“We should have absorbed the post-Second World War Jewish refugees in Britain and America. They could all have been resettled, whereas 70 years later, the situation is still very tense, and there is potential for many more wars, potential for nuclear war,”

John Mann MP calls Ken Livingstone MP a 'Nazi apologist'

"The simple truth is that the situation in Iraq today is worse than what it was under the rule of Saddam Hussein.

"All the Western interventions in the Middle East had nothing whatsoever to do with introducing democracy."

He also said he chose to boycott Israeli products such as dates.

"I believe that the endorsement of double standards in the Middle East was one of the causes that led to the development of the terrorist Islamic groups today," he said.

"We imposed harsh sanctions on Iran for over a decade, because we believed that it was developing nuclear arms [...] On the other hand, Israel has possessed nuclear arms for 40 years. It is the first country to introduce nuclear arms to the Middle East.

"But we have still not acknowledged that, and not imposed sanctions upon it."

Al Ghad Al Arabi has been broadcasting from London since 2013. The station was also launched in Cairo in November 2015, with a ceremony attended by Tony Blair.

Mr Livingstone is one of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's oldest political allies, but Mr Corbyn was forced to move against him after his attempt to defend the Labour MP Naz Shah backfired, leading to the former London mayor himself being accused of racism.

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