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SWC Statement on Ken Livingstone as London Mayor

May 2, 2012

On the eve of London’s mayoral election, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre commented on candidate Ken Livingstone and his controversial remarks about Jews and his employment as a host for Press TV, a network run by the Iranian government.

The Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, pointed out, “In January 2012, the British media standards authority banned Teheran´s Press TV from the airwaves for ´repeatedly breaking the broadcast code'. Indeed, a great reference for Press TV anchorman, Ken Livingstone, as candidate for Lord Mayor of London.”

“Perhaps an Iranian mouthpiece was, in fact, the best posting for an obsessive - compulsive conspiracy theorist, who tirelessly finds a Jewish angle to every negative news story,” said Dr. Samuels, adding, “This was especially conspicuous in Livingstone´s absurd pre-election critique of Judaism, ‘that, whereas Christianity and Islam massively goes out there to convert people to its faith, it is very difficult to convert into Judaism.’ Samuels noted that Livingstone, “offensively thereby interprets the Jewish religion as ´racial exclusivism´. He should see the rainbow of Jews in Israel, from Scandinavians to Ethiopians to understand the inclusiveness of the Jewish people,”

“His is the same logic as the author of a bizarre recent, damned if you do -damned if you don´t, article which claimed that the Israel Defense Forces were racists as they had no record of raping Arab women,” Dr. Samuels continued.

“The bottom line for Londoners is really whether their elected Mayor should protect all his citizens, of whatever ethnic or faith community, or should he import foreign conflicts that can only exacerbate the relations between those communities,” concluded Samuels.

For further information please contact Shimon Samuels at +33609770158 or the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter
, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).