The day after the London attacks, under the title Will he get it now?, I praised Mayor Ken Livingstone for his defiant statement to the terrorists:
“Nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that life. Where freedom is strong and people can live in harmony, whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.”
And I wrote:
Perhaps also Livingstone will begin to grasp why so many of us were enraged last year by his warm welcome and strident defense of the odious Sheikh al-Qaradawi, who has justified suicide murders of Israelis on the grounds that there are no innocent Israeli civilians– including, presumably, weeks-old babies.
There is, at least, room for hope.
Now I have an answer to my question in the title; it’s “no.”
London Mayor Ken Livingstone, whose city was devastated by Islamic suicide bombings earlier in the month, lashed out at Israel Tuesday, comparing the Likud to Hamas and accusing Israel of “crimes against humanity.”
At a London press conference, Livingstone, who has a long record of anti-Israeli diatribes, drew a connection between the London blasts and the Middle East. He said Israel had “done horrendous things which border on crimes against humanity in the way they have indiscriminately slaughtered men, women and children in the West Bank and Gaza for decades.”
Livingstone expressed understanding for the motivations of Palestinian suicide bombers, saying that since the “Palestinians don’t have jet fighters, they only have their bodies to use as weapons. In that unfair balance, that’s what people use.”
He has, in other words, not learned a damn thing.
Harry adds: On the Today programme this morning Livingstone made reference to the ‘jet fighters’ argument as used by al-Qaradawi but said that he didn’t agree with it.
David T adds his own ha’pence worth:
Livingstone’s line is the familiar one of “understanding”. The reason he doesn’t agree Qaradawi’s perspective is because he opposes all violence. Therefore his stance is officially a pacifist one.
i.e. one of those “pacifists” who seeks out the sort of friends who like killing.
Update: The Financial Times quotes Livingstone at his press conference Tuesday as follows: “What Sheikh al-Qaradawi pointed out was, given that the Palestinians do not have jet fighters and do not have tanks, they only have their bodies to use. I do not think he is actually urging people to go out and become suicide bombers.”
It seems that Wednesday morning he conceded that he disagreed with Qaradawi on the first point. The second point is ridiculous.
Given Livingstone’s deep and one-sided hostility to Israel, I suppose that’s progress of a sort. But whatever respect he earned from me two weeks ago has vanished.