Momentum organiser defends Jeremy Corbyn over Ken Livingstone row

The decision not to expel Ken Livingstone has brought a deluge of criticism

Ken Livingstone has been suspended, but not expelled, from Labour over his comments about Hitler and zionism

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A senior figure within Momentum has defended Jeremy Corbyn over the Ken Livingstone furore and blamed supporters of Israel for the current crisis surrounding the Labour leader.

Mr Corbyn is facing a deluge of criticism for Labour's failure to expel Livingstone from the party, despite his sayingAdolf Hitler supported zionism during the 1930s. Critics suggest he has not done enough to eradicate anti-semitism from Labour and has instead allowed it to flourish. 

But Momentum organiser Rachel Godfrey-Wood, whose movement was founded to support Mr Corbyn, has told talkRADIO such suggestions are ridiculous.

She said: "He’s consistently opposed anti-semitism and racism, he’s been doing it for his entire life supporting the Palestinian people.

"People can’t even find one comment that you can interpret as being anti-semitic. They just can’t pin anything on him. He’s very consistently been against it.

"People trying to pin that on him and his supporters is contemptible."

When asked where such criticism is coming from, Godfrey-Wood told us: "There’s been a tendency for years for people to be sympathetic to the Israeli state to pin [blame] on people who support Palestine.

"A lot of Israeli supporters discuss [anti-semitism in the Labour Party] in a very irresponsible way. They try and weaponise anti-semitism and say that people who are very critical of Israel, in my opinion for totally legitimate reasons, are anti-semitic. They want to create a situation where no one goes near it for fear of being called anti-semitic."

Godfrey-Wood said Livingstone's comments about Hitler and zionists were "totally wrong" but said it wasn't her place to comment on the decision not to expel him from Labour.

"That was the decision that they took. I’m not in that position," she said. 

"I think whatever decision they would have taken people would have disagreed with it and it is a sensitive matter. 

"[Livingstone's view] wasn’t useful, it was extremely insensitive. But he has been censored.

"I’m not defending it, there’s a whole lot of stuff people might disagree with that’s been said in the Labour Party, it doesn’t mean you should expel everyone."