Ken steps in it again

It looks like Ken Livingstone really does love the feel of bullets in his foot. I didn’t think the concentration camp thing was the big issue it was made out to be, but this really takes the proverbial biscuit. I can’t find this on any online news source right now, but it was on the Eddie Nestor show and has naturally hit the blogs ([1], [2]): basically Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, has suggested that if a couple of Jewish property developers were unhappy here, perhaps they could go back to Iran and see how they do under the Ayatollahs. This was all part of a dispute over land required for the 2012 Olympics. (Tags: .)

I know a lot of Muslims love Ken because “he’s our friend”, but we must recognise that he really has overstepped the mark here. “If you don’t like it here, go home” is a commonly recognised racist taunt; most of us have heard of it being used against foreigners and this particular variant - the suggestion that they return to the oppressively-ruled country they come from, or one presumes they come from - is one which is used with increasing regularity against us (as it was by Douglas Murray towards the end of this speech recently: “I for one much look forward to hearing how the spoilt little welfare jihadists get on with the welfare system in Pakistan or the right to demonstrate in Saudi”). In this particular case, the Reuben brothers are not Iranian, but were born in India of Iraqi Jewish parentage.

It’s just wrong, and when it betrays the ignorance it betrays here - their foundation, for example, turns out to be a supporter of the charity Medical Aid for Iraqi Children (it’s misspelled Ruben, but there is no Ruben Brothers Foundation, only Reuben) - it makes the person who comes out with it look extremely bad. We should expect that by the end of the week, he will be out of office.

And we Muslims should not be too aggrieved at losing “our friend”. We appreciate anyone who defends a Muslim who is in danger of being sent into a judicial black hole, but with people with a real record of fighting injustice - the likes of Clive Stafford-Smith and Gareth Pierce - on our side (to say nothing of Who is our real Protector), someone like Ken is little more than a celebrity endorser, and when he makes the sort of statement that is the stock in trade of racists and Islamophobes, albeit turned against Jews, is he really the sort of friend we need anyway?

(And if enough people say to a Jew that he should go home if he doesn’t like it here, we all know where “home” is likely to be, and it’s not Iran, even if that is where he in fact comes from.)

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