Labour have been heavily criticised by many over their handling of anti-Semitism within the party, but has the issue been blown out of proportion? Ken Livingstone has been suspended for a further year from the Labour Party over comments made about Hitler and links to Zionism bringing the party into disrepute. After comments, several prominent figures and media widely condemned him alike, but have his comments been skewered to further inhibit the opposition?

The quote in question he said: “It’s completely over the top but it’s not antisemitism. Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel.

He was supporting Zionism – this before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”

Anti-Semitism or historical fact?

The quote was from an interview with the BBC over whether Naz Shah was anti-Semitic, in which he stated that Shah’s comments were “over-the-top not anti-Semitic.” Recently it has become apparent that if you criticise the Israel state you are called anti-Semitic but if you are critical towards Palestine you are labelled as a supporter of the brutal Israel regime. The current geopolitical situation that has engulfed Israel-Palestine is a complicated historical conflict that cannot be labelled in such simple terms.

Last year the UK government have banned public bodies and student unions from shunning goods from Israel.

This is a direct contradiction to a free society. The current apartheid Israel regime is brutal and has been vocal in its desire to remove Palestine from existence by subsuming the state. But historically the Palestine regime hasn’t glorified itself either. The conflict has been ongoing for decades with historical differences dating back centuries before it became its own state in 1947, unfortunately many take to social media to pick a side without researching.

Being critical of Israel does not mean an individual is anti-Semitic and Livingstone’s comments about Hitler have be spun. He was stupid for saying it the way he did, fully knowing how it would likely to have been reported. But he stated fact about Hitler’s manifesto at the time he was elected. He should have left the “he was supporting Zionism” out of his comments but that is the benefit of hindsight because this does not mean he stated that Hitler was a Zionist, this is obviously not true.

Shifting the focus

Why though does a fair chunk of the media focus on what is said by Labour politicians rather than what the Conservative government are doing? Cosying up to Saudi Arabia whilst they bomb Yemen and selling them the means to do this, cutting benefits from the poorest in society and allowing the £20bn tax breaks to go through for corporations. The millions saved from the benefit cuts do not even pay for a quarter of cutting corporation tax to 19%.

The disproportionate distribution of wealth is increasing and plunging 250,000 more children into poverty. Yet the focus is on Labour and the apparent anti-Semitism that is in the party. When it is not rife at all and this idea pedalled by many inhibits the ability to be an effective opposition, when lies on this scale are spread.

Whatever weaknesses Corbyn has, it is hard to lead and fix them properly when at every opportunity, you are attacked for no real reason. This furore is a falsehood that is purposefully been blown out of proportion to continue to weaken Labour as an opposition.