Ken Livingstone has written to the Daily Telegraph correcting reports that he had refused to meet survivors of the Holocaust and inviting the paper to compar his “record in fighting racism contrasted with the record of Associated Newspapers”.
The move follows an incident last week in which owns the reporter and Mayor clashed leading to the Standard branding the mayor’s comments ‘racist’, whilst the Daily Mail leader comment today to accuse him of being ‘anti-Jewish’.
In the Telegraph letter the Mayor wrote:
‘You state that I refused to meet Holocaust survivors who attended the London Assembly on 14 February (Daily Telegraph 15 February ‘Defiant Livingstone faces inquiry over Nazi jibe’). This is entirely false. I on the contrary specifically instructed my staff prior to the meeting that I would meet anyone who wished to do so.
‘I regard the Holocaust as without comparison the greatest racist crime of the 20th century as Nazism is the greatest evil in history. I regard the positive contribution of the Jewish people to human civilisation and culture as unexcelled both in itself and in particular despite the appalling persecution they were subject to for many centuries. I therefore despise anti-Semitism with the same virulence I despise every form of racism.
‘I am particularly willing to contrast my 30 years of public campaigning against racism with the century long history of the Associated Newspapers – which campaigned against admitting Jewish refugees fleeing pogroms in Eastern Europe as one of its first campaigns, which supported Mosley’s fascist black shirts in the 1930s, supported appeasement with Nazi Germany, whose owner willingly met Hitler and expressed admiration for Mussolini, and which continues to provide food for racism today.’