“Throughout the 1970s, I worked happily with the Board of Deputies in campaigns against the National Front.
Problems began when, as leader of the Greater London Council, I rejected the board’s request that I should fund only Jewish organisations that it approved of (editor’s note: if that sounds familiar it should – that’s what the Board are doing re Jewdas and JVL no).
The Board of Deputies was unhappy that I funded Jewish organisations campaigning for gay rights and others that disagreed with policies of the Israeli government, Relations with the board took a dramatic turn for the worse when I opposed Israel’s illegal invasion of Lebanon, culminating in the massacres at the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Shatila.
The board also opposed my involvement in the successful campaign in 1982 to convince the Labour party to recognise the PLO as the legitimate voice of the Palestinian people.
The fundamental issue on which we differ, as Henry Grunwald knows, is not anti-semitism – which my administration has fought tooth and nail – but the policies of successive Israeli governments.
To avoid manufactured misunderstandings, the policies of Israeli governments are not analogous to Nazism. They do not aim at the systematic extermination of the Palestinian people, in the way Nazism sought the annihilation of the Jews.”
Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone