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Hugh Muir: Ken’s met “secretly” with Labour Jews

From the Jewish Chronicle:

On March 1 a peacemaking dinner was convened at the London Jewish Cultural Centre to bring Ken Livingstone together with concerned Labour supporters within the Jewish community.

At the former mayor’s side was Simon Fletcher, Mr Livingstone’s longstanding lieutenant, known to have been concerned at the deterioration of relations with London’s Jews.

Because of the sensitivities involved, the meeting was due to be held under Chatham House rules, although in his opening remarks Mr Livingstone made it clear he was happy to consider the meeting as being “on-the-record“.

We now know that those present from the Jewish side were a mixture of high-profile community figures and grassroots activists. The meeting was chaired by Adrian Cohen, the highly-respected and long-suffering chair of the London Jewish Forum. Abraham Pinter, the strictly Orthodox rabbi from Stamford Hill, was there, as was the chief executive of Liberal Judaism, Rabbi Danny Rich.

Andrew Gilbert, the founding chair of Limmud, attended, as, crucially, did Guardian and JC columnist, Jonathan Freedland.

Hugh Muir in The Guardian:

How much damage did he inflict by failing to make peace with the Jewish communal leadership in London, still sore over conflicts past – the insult to a Jewish reporter, his embrace of Muslim cleric Yusef al-Qauwdawi? When he met secretly in March with a group of Jewish Labour activists who hoped, at least, to reach accommodation, why didn’t he make nice? Instead he upset a proportion all over again by appearing to use the terms Israeli and Zionist and Jew interchangeably and implying that “rich” Jews won’t vote for him anyway. “I can’t say words that I do not feel in my heart,” he once declared.

PHIL wrote in the comments:

The main source of my own discomfort with Hugh Muir’s piece was the revelation that Livingstone ’secretly met a group of senior figures’. Because that’s how they do things, the Jews. Anonymous figures seeking secret concessions from politicians. So secret that only particularly talented Guardian journalists are able to find out about it. I wonder if Hugh Muir feels like the little boy who can see ghosts?

Quite, this secret Jew stuff, it’s all rather protocols, isn’t it?

Anyway, Hugh Muir’s paragraph:

Instead he upset some again by referring to the Israeli government as Zionists and implying that “rich” Jews wouldn’t vote for him anyway.

Now reads:

Instead he upset a proportion all over again by appearing to use the terms Israeli and Zionist and Jew interchangeably and implying that “rich” Jews won’t vote for him anyway.

[Hat-tips: PHIL & OyVaGoy]

Alan A adds:

Stephen Pollard tweets:

Guardian has thought better of ‘Jewish political establishment’ and changed it to ‘communal leadership’. But makes no mention of the edit…