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Note to Ken Livingstone: The British Labour party has supported Zionism much more than the Nazis ever did


The recent remarks of the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone supposedly in support of another British Labour politician, Naz Shah, who had shared a social media post depicting a map of Israel transferred to the United States has ignited a debate on the extent of anti-Semitism in the British Labour Party.

In defence of Shah, Livingstone felt compelled to remind people that certain Zionists in 1930’s Nazi Germany came into an agreement with elements in the Nazi regime to transfer German Jews to Palestine. And indeed there is nothing remotely mutually exclusive about being both anti-Semitic and pro-Zionist. But, why he needed to drag this minor episode of European Zionist history, the Haavara agreement, into the mix in a supposed defence of Shah is bewildering.

More bewildering when one considers the fact that British imperialism was the most consequential partner to the Zionist colonial settler project in Palestine in the inter-war period. In 1917 when the British government issued the Balfour Declaration there were between probably 70,000 Jews in Palestine as opposed to at least 700,000 Palestinians. The British Empire’s policy was to establish a “national home for the Jewish people” and use its “best endeavours to facilitate” this achievement.

From the very beginning prominent members of the British Labour party fully endorsed this imperialist-colonial project in Palestine. The first ever Labour prime minister, Ramsay MacDonald, wrote a book called “A Socialist in Palestine”, wherein he wrote that Palestinian demands for self-determination were deprived of “complete validity” because the biblical stories he was reared on as a child rendered, “Palestine and the Jew can never be separated.” [1] Furthermore, Palestinian Arabs were incapable of developing the resources of their country and as such there is an “alluring call” [2] for “hundreds of thousands of Jews” [3] to colonize Palestine. Colonel Josiah Wedgwood, another prominent Labour (and former Liberal) politician in the inter-war period argued that democracy in Palestine is only viable when the “Jews are in a majority” [4] and once the “higher civilization” of immigrant Jewish settlers “is numerous and wise enough to make democracy safe for all” they would then be able to “range up beside the other self-governing dominions” [5] of the British empire.

In parliament in the early 1920’s Wedgewood claimed Zionist were ‘teaching’ native Arabs how to claim for higher wages from their elite and this is why there was opposition to Britain’s Zionist project. [6]

When Palestinians revolted up between 1936-1939 it was prominent members of the British Labour Party which claimed that this uprising was inspired by Mussolini’s Italian fascist. In partnership with the British Empire, the new Zionist militias Great Britain had trained crushed the uprising with full support of the Labour Party. Absurdly, as Palestinians were being violently oppressed by British imperialism and its Zionist protégé, many left-wing Britons travelled to Spain to fight in its civil war on the side of republicans! Imagine, what people would have thought of a group of Americans in the midst of the invasion and war on Iraq in 2003 deciding to go on a revolutionary lark to Mexico while their own government is destroying Iraq?

The 1947-48 ethnic cleansing of Palestine was carried out under British Labour Party’s watch. Ken Livingstone’s hero, the late Labour politician, Tony Benn sold nuclear material to the Zionist regime when he was a government minister in the 1960s.

The Haavara agreement lasted from 1933 until the start of the second world war, but the British Labour endorsement of Zionist colonialism began before the 1920’s and has continued to this day. So why is Ken Livingstone and his ilk keen to drag out Zionist collusion with elements in the Nazi regime yet never broach the subject of the British Labour party’s actual facilitation of the Zionist colonial project in the same period?

It wasn’t the Nazis who issued the Balfour Declaration – it was Great Britain. Nazis didn’t have 20,000 soldiers in Palestine in the 1930s, the British did. It wasn’t Nazi Stormtroopers that proudly walked round with smashed Palestinian brains in their tobacco tins, it was Tommy. It wasn’t the Nazis that denied and crushed the Palestinian request for representative democracy in the 1930s, it was Great Britain. When Palestine was ethnically cleansed it happened under British Labour party watch, not Nazis. These are facts Livingstone and his wing of the British Labour Party could do well to note if they are to avoid accusations of anti-Semitism because let’s face it, the only truth Zionists have (or most likely, appropriated) is that some in the anti-Zionist movement are nothing but anti-Semites. A truth Ken Livingstone has provided credence to over the last week.


  1. Ramsay MacDonald, “A Socialist in Palestine”, Jewish Socialist Labour Confederation – Poale Zion, 1922, pg.18
  2. Ibid. pg.17
  3. Ibid. pg.19
  4. Josiah Wedgwood, “The Seventh Dominion”, The Labour Publishing Company Limited, London, 1928, pg. 4
  5. Ibid. pg. 33
  6. Commons Debates, Fifth Series, Vol. 143, Column 307, 14th June 1921
Nu'man Abd al-Wahid

Nu’man Abd al-Wahid is a Yemeni-English independent researcher specialising in the political relationship between the British state and the Arab World. His main focus is on how the United Kingdom has historically maintained its political interests in the Arab World. A full collection of essays can be accessed at Twitter handle: @churchillskarma.

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21 Responses

  1. pabelmont on May 3, 2016, 1:54 pm

    Yes, it is important for Livingstone to admit to the Balfour-beam in his English-Labour eye before pointing derisively to the Nazi-mote in some early Zionist’s eye. (“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Matt. 7:3)

  2. Kay24 on May 3, 2016, 4:15 pm

    Still in the UK remember Lying Mark Regev?

    Here he is lying through his teeth, and those lies being challenged by that great interviewer Jon Snow (wish we had a few journalist with spine like him)

    Looks like Regev is muddying up the cesspool and messing with UK politics and policies, just like the zionist mouthpieces do in the US. The lying and manipulating of politicians go on.

    • Kay24 on May 3, 2016, 4:20 pm

      I forgot to add that Lying Mark Regev is now the new Israeli Ambassador in the UK.
      It seems snakes are now slithering in to the UK as well..

      Israel will “control” the UK too and they will know it.

  3. HarryLaw on May 3, 2016, 5:33 pm

    Professor Finkelstein has an interesting article on the Livingstone affair and a reputable Pew survey last year on anti-Semitism in the UK ,revealed an underwhelming 7%.

  4. Keith on May 3, 2016, 5:39 pm

    NU’MAN ABD AL-WAHID- “These are facts Livingstone and his wing of the British Labour Party could do well to note if they are to avoid accusations of anti-Semitism….”

    Lord help us, Ken Livingstone can’t try to defend Naz Shah against shameful and totally unjustified smears unless he condemns the history of British imperialism in Palestine? Otherwise, he can rightfully expect to be charged with anti-Semitism himself? Did the charges of anti-Semitism come from non-Zionist British imperialists? Or did they come from Zionist attack dogs? Pointing out Zionist hypocrisy may have been poor strategy, however, the de facto support for this type of smear by Nu’Man Abd al-Wahid suggests that he may well be part of this shameful orchestrated campaign of vilification. Real anti-Semitism in Britain is negligible (Zionist ravings notwithstanding), whereas the attack on Naz Shah is despicable and Jeremy Corbyn’s apparent capitulation both shameful and an indication that he doesn’t have what it takes to change the British political economy even slightly.

  5. traintosiberia on May 4, 2016, 9:24 am

    Would he have been subjected to the flowery welcome or welcomed by flower if Livingstone rattled out the truth this way: ” WE have made mistakes . We did commit blunder in supporting Balfour .We did by protecting nascent Jewish inflow and immigration based colonialism ,delaying and not implementing various white papers and by killing Palestinian resistance . We should not have done .We should not have supported Zionism the moment we knew that it was -the Zionism- was entering collaborative relationship with Hitler”

    He was sandbagged and he (Livingstone ) was ambushed by this guy confronting him . This a discussion that should be done out in open in town hall with experts giving their facts ,sharing their sources and opining afterwards .

    Anti Muslm sentiments in England has been rising since Iraq War 2 .Blair has been constantly trying to prop up his image,build his portfolio (based foreign-finances ,donations,and speech fees ) by polemics against mulsim ,Islamic leaders and cultures .
    He has said most uncouth words against Muslim and Islam . How that rat is superior in nay way to the lowest scum on earth let alone Livinstone? How is not that ANTI- SOMETHING? we need a word smith to build the new word But the concept is there . Much more that antisemitism the world is facing entrenched ,ingrained, raw ,organic ANTI SOMETHING that affects Muslim and that just scalped the head of the Muslim member

  6. alan on May 4, 2016, 9:51 am

    “But, why he needed to drag this minor episode of European Zionist history, the Haavara agreement, into the mix in a supposed defence of Shah is bewildering.”

    No its not, its an off-the cuff, over-simplified because verbal and non-scripted reminder that Zionism and Nazism shared a common objective, to rid Germany, Europe, of its Jews and that they shared a new definition of Jews as a race rather than as adherents of a religion.

    Since the ‘anti-semitic’ smear relies so much on linking to the Nazi holocaust he must have reckoned to turn it back on the smearers. He forgot that they can scream even louder….

  7. Misterioso on May 4, 2016, 10:32 am

    This controversy brings to mind the following:

    After WWII, a memorandum dated January 11, 1941, was discovered in Ankara. Prepared by the German Naval Attaché in Turkey, it revealed that Naftali Lubentschik, a representative of the Stern Gang (one of the Yishuv’s terrorist orgnaizations) led by Avraham Stern, had met with German Nazis, Otto Von Hentig and Rudolph Rosen in Vichy controlled Beirut and proposed that in exchange for military aid and freedom to recruit European Jews for Palestine, the Sternists were prepared “…to take an active part in the war on Germany’s side…and [this cooperation] would also be in line with one [of Hitler’s recent speeches which] stressed that any alliance would be entered into in order to isolate England and defeat it.”

    The proposition presented to the Nazis pointed out that “the establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis and bound by a treaty with the German Reich would be in the interest of maintaining and strengthening the future German position of power in the Near East.” (Quoted by Klaus Polkehn, “The Secret Contacts: Zionist-Nazi Relations, 1933-1941” as well as Lenny Brenner, Zionism in the Age of Dictators, Westport, Conn., Lawrence Hill & Co., 1983, p. 267 and Yediot Aharnot, February 4/1983). The Nazis rejected the Stern Gang’s proposal.

    Following Stern’s death at the hands of the British in 1942, three of his lieutenants (one of whom was Yitzhak Shamir) took over leadership of the Gang. It is revealing to note that despite Avraham Stern’s ignominious record and his flirtation with the Nazis, Ben-Gurion later referred to him as “one of the finest and most outstanding figures of the era.”

    Also, for the record:
    “Adolf Hitler, who took his racism seriously, applied it to all Semites. He could not stand Arabs either. Contrary to legend, he disliked the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who had fled to Germany. After meeting him once for a photo-opportunity arranged by the Nazi propaganda machine, he never agreed to meet him again.” (Uri Avnery –

  8. Edward Q on May 4, 2016, 11:06 am

    I don’t really understand why so much fuss is being made about Livingstone’s remark. It seems rather unimportant to me.

  9. HarryLaw on May 4, 2016, 11:48 am

    Guess who else used that Naz Shah map? Yes our own Professor Finkelstein. Did you create the controversial image that Naz Shah reposted?
    I’m not adept enough with computers to compose any image. But I did post the map on my website in 2014. An email correspondent must have sent it. It was, and still is, funny. Were it not for the current political context, nobody would have noticed Shah’s reposting of it either. Otherwise, you’d have to be humourless. These sorts of jokes are a commonplace in the U.S. So, we have this joke: Why doesn’t Israel become the 51st state? Answer: Because then, it would only have two senators. As crazy as the discourse on Israel is in America, at least we still have a sense of humour. It’s inconceivable that any politician in the U.S. would be crucified for posting such a map.

  10. tony greenstein on May 4, 2016, 12:21 pm

    This is an objectionable and poisonous little article. Livingstone has always been in the forefront of condemning British imperialism and the British Labour Party’s role in Palestine and the creation of Israel. How do I know? Because in the 1980’s I was Chairperson of the Labour Committee on Palestine and the Labour Movement Campaign on Palestine. Livingstone was one of our earliest sponsors.

    There is a very good reason to raise this issue and we should be indebted to Ken for so doing. The Zionists continually thrust the holocaust in peoples faces to justify their settler colonial state. it is therefore right to point out a few truths including the fact that their movement was a quisling collaboration movement.

    The statement that ‘the only truth Zionists have (or most likely, appropriated) is that some in the anti-Zionist movement are nothing but anti-Semites. A truth Ken Livingstone has provided credence to over the last week.’

    This is a nasty dirty lie. Nobody that I know of in the anti-Zionist movement is anti-Semitic. Anti-zionism and anti-Semitism are diametrically opposed.

    The fact that About Nu’man Abd al-Wahid has sought to give credence to the false allegations of anti-Semitism directed at ken and all the other people demonstrates how worthless his ‘academic’ credentials are when it comes to talking about Zionism.

    • Rodneywatts on May 5, 2016, 3:35 am

      Thanks Tony –first hand evidence always best, and by the way enjoyed your book. Bumblebye’s link below is well worth looking at.

    • NumanalWahid on May 7, 2016, 2:50 am

      Tony, This piece aims to shed some light on British Labour Party support in the pre-wars years, mainly the 1930s.

      I have no reason to dispute your campaigning activities in the 1980s with Mr. Ken Livingstone, but Labour Party support for Zionist colonisation in 1930s Palestine was far more beneficial to Zionism than the Haavara agreement.

  11. Bumblebye on May 4, 2016, 3:13 pm

    Tony, you might be interested in what the UCU tribunal had to say about John Mann in the summing up of the 2011 case that got trounced:

    • Rodneywatts on May 5, 2016, 3:43 am

      Good link Bumblebye! John Mann, sadly, has done a lot of needless harm to the Labour Party (of which I am not a member) and more importantly tried to bring ill-repute to honorable people who, maybe, have not always been as wise in their choice of words. The trouble is, of course, as already pointed out in above comments, the zionisti will seek every opportunity to twist everything to “antisemitism”.

  12. Hemlockroid on May 5, 2016, 5:06 pm

    Chaim Weizmann, president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and later Israel’s first president, who claimed that Jews “have proved they are an insoluble element” in European society.

    In a 1938 speech given by Chaim Weizmann, “Palestine cannot absorb the Jews of Europe. We want only the best of Jewish youth to come to us. We want only the educated to enter Palestine for the purpose of increasing its culture. The other Jews will have to stay where they are and face whatever fate awaits them. These millions of Jews are dust on the wheels of history and they may have to be blown away. We don’t want them pouring into Palestine. We don’t want Tel Aviv to become another low-grade ghetto.”

  13. Talkback on May 6, 2016, 9:06 am

    Kaboom. Excellent article.

  14. Ossinev on May 6, 2016, 2:05 pm

    Mark Regurgitev was flagged up back in August 2015 as the new Israel Ambassador to the UK but appears to have actually only taken up the post in the last month or so. He has been wheeled out recently as you comment to address the ” catastrophic anti- semitism engulfing the UK Labour Party” farce and to be fair he appears to have dropped his trademark”let`s be clear” and “Haaaghhmas is a terrorist organisation” catchphrases but still has that hang dog constipated wallaby expression on his face. He has now come up with a new catchprhrase referring to what he calls “the Collective Jew” !?

    I assume then that there must also be quite a few “Collective Christians” , ” Collective Muslims”, “Collective Scientologists” etc out there. And I also may qualify as a “Collective Atheist” . I am no businessman and certainly no branded clothing enterpreneur but it sounds to me that there is a T-Shirt logo opportunity perhaps ?

    Meanwhile the “anti – semitism” farce in the Labour Party is still farting along supported ( I wonder why ) by the right wing newspapers here in the UK. I do get the feeling however they are desperately trying to keep it alive and are wringing the very last drop of Zio poop possible out of it.

    Yesterdays Times eg qouted the case of a Scottish Labour Councillor as evidence of this alleged “anti – semitism” based on a number of blog comments which are reprised in this BBC report:

    Mr.Kelly quite openly and honestly states that he is anti- zionist and anti – Israel but that does not make him anti semitic nor does it make the millions of Jews around the world who agree with him anti – semitic. So in the eyes of the Israell Firsters in the UK and Hasbara Command and Control he is therefore a brazen “anti-semite” who hates all Jews individually and collectively .

    This whole affair stinks to high heaven of being an orchestrated but rather pathetic and desperate plan by Israel Firsters in the UK to counter the BDS movement and also to damage a Corbyn lead Labour Party – they are in panic mode on the latter because for the first time in decades they will be dealing with a main opposition party in the UK whose leadership is openly anti – Zionist and Anti – Israel for obvious and very good reasons and who will not be afraid to voice their criticism and/ or contempt for Zionism and Israel in public and in Parliament – oh and they can`t be bought by “lobbies”.

    What has stoked this particular “fire” is the shameful conduct and the comments of the “centrist” Labour MP`s including those such as Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper who were leadership contenders defeated by Corbyn. They have jumped on the “anti – semitism ” bandwagon to simply use it as a tool in an attempt to further undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

    Early indications are that the “terminal disaster ” for the Corbyn led Labour Party in the UK`s local council elections as predicted by and prayed for Labour Centrists has simply not happened and the Burnhams and Coopers and their new found Israeli First bedfellows will have to come up with a new plan of attack ( individually or collectively).

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