chapter  1
29 Pages

Ken Livingstone and the Livingstone Formulation

ByDavid Hirsh

This chapter begins by looking at Livingstone's own long career of hostility to Israel and at his relationship to antisemitism, and how in 2016 he found himself suspended from the Labour Party over the issue. It goes on to look at the Livingstone Formulation itself and how it has become such a standard rhetorical manoeuvre. The claim from Livingstone that he had never heard anyone say anything antisemitic in his forty-seven years in the party is important. In the 1980s there was a small clique of antizionists, many of them Jewish, who created for themselves a narrative, which became for them common sense, that Zionism was like Nazism, that it collaborated with Nazism and that it created a Nazi state. The Livingstone Formulation is a key element in the ascendency of the politics of position over the politics of reason and persuasion.