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Rod Liddle suspended from Labour party for describing 'antisemitism as visceral for many Muslims'

Liddle believes his suspension was the result of his blog post about antisemitism within the party

Maya Oppenheim
Thursday 19 May 2016 11:14 BST
Liddle’s initial post prompted controversy on social media, with left-wing commentator, Owen Jones, describing it as 'rampant unashamed racism'
Liddle’s initial post prompted controversy on social media, with left-wing commentator, Owen Jones, describing it as 'rampant unashamed racism' (Rex Features)

Rod Liddle has been suspended from the Labour Party for a blog post about antisemitism within the party.

The Labour Party confirmed the news to The Independent but said they could not comment on why he has been suspended. “Rod Liddle has been suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation,” a spokesperson said.

The controversial British journalist, who is associate editor of The Spectator and former editor of BBC Radio Four's Today Programme, said the party had cited the "language" in his 3 May blog post as the reason for his suspension but had not specified which bit of the piece they objected to.

Liddle believes his suspension was triggered by comments about antisemitism being rife among Labour Muslim activists and councillors.

“Perhaps it is my suggestion that many Muslims are not favourably inclined towards Jews that provoked my suspension from the party,” he wrote in The Spectator today. “Or perhaps it was my assertion that if the Palestinians were given Israel they would turn it very quickly into Somalia that enraged these new commissars,” he later added.

Liddle’s initial post prompted controversy on social media, with left-wing commentator Owen Jones describing it as “rampant unashamed racism”.

Liddle weighed in the ongoing debate over antisemitism in the Labour Party in his controversial post. “For many Muslims the antisemitism is visceral, an ingrained part of their unpleasant ideology,” he wrote.

Ken Livingstone calls creation of Israel a 'catastrophe'

“If you handed over Israel to the Palestinians they would turn it into Somalia before you could say Yom Kippur,” he also added.

Liddle also argued antisemitism was a problem rooted in the far left of the party and among Muslim Labour activists and voters.

“It is absolutely endemic within two sections of the Labour Party - the perpetually adolescent white middle-class lefties, and the Muslims - the latter of which now comprise a significant proportion of Labour activists and voters in parts of London and the dilapidated former mill towns of West Yorkshire and East Lancashire,” he wrote. “And Luton. And parts of the midlands.”

Liddle said he had been a Labour party member for 37 years bar a brief spell during the Iraq war - a policy he did not agree with.

Liddle has been called in for an interview as part of the party’s inquiry into antisemitism. “I see this interview as an opportunity…” he wrote today. “And also a chance to apologise for having dared to suggest that any Muslim anywhere could ever be accused of anti-Semitism and to insist that my reference to Somalia was a dreadful mistake, for which I am terribly, grovell-ingly, sorry — I meant that they would turn it into Switzerland. I sometimes get countries beginning with ‘S’ confused.”

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