The former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone – long regarded as a foe of Britain’s Jewish community for his incendiary attacks on Zionism – was at the center of a new controversy on Tuesday after he was announced as the star of a political comedy show at a West End theater.
Livingstone, who is currently suspended from the opposition Labour party over allegations of antisemitism, will appear in the annual show hosted by Matt Forde, a comedy writer and radio broadcaster, at the Leicester Square Theater on December 7. Past guests on the show have included former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Britain’s Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAAS) condemned the invitation. “There is nothing remotely funny about Ken Livingstone’s unapologetic claim that ‘Hitler was supporting Zionism,’” the CAAS said in a statement. In April 2016, Livingstone was suspended from the Labour party after he claimed in a radio interview that the Nazi dictator was “supporting Zionism” before “he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.”
Livingstone has not retracted or apologized for those remarks, leaving his adversaries furious that Labour’s far-left leader, Jeremy Corbyn, still refuses to expel him from the party. In the meantime, Livingstone has dug in even further, claiming before a Labour party tribunal last March that the Nazi SS – whose paramilitary units alone murdered more than one million Soviet Jews by 1943 – “set up training camps so that German Jews who were going to go (to Palestine) could be trained to cope with a very different sort of country when they got there.”