Livingstone to deliver anti-racist talk

By Jennifer Lipman, March 8, 2013

Ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone is to address a National Union of Students conference later this month looking at challenging antisemitism, racism, Islamophobia and fascism.

He is one of several speakers invited to address the NUS Anti-Racism, Anti-Fascism event, with MP Margaret Hodge and the president of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies also on the bill.

His appearance will take place almost a year to the day after his alleged remarks about wealthy Jews not voting Labour, which led prominent Jewish Labour supporters to complain to Ed Miliband that “Ken determines Jews as a religious group, but does not accept Jews as an ethnicity and a people”.

Participants include the Union of Jewish Students, Searchlight, Unite Against Facism and the Jewish Council on Racial Equality.

UJS said it was aware of Mr Livingstone’s involvement. UJS campaigns director Judith Flacks concentrated on the issue of “the urgent need to combat antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism and fascism, not just in the student movement, but in our local communities”.

But Reading University student Jack Mendel was one of a number to question Mr Livingstone’s involvement.

He said: “It doesn’t seem appropriate for NUS to ask a speaker to talk about anti-racism, when that speaker has made remarks that would fall under the NUS’s own definition of antisemitism. His public remarks about the Jewish community make his appearance at an anti-racism event inappropriate.”

Last updated: 11:45am, March 8 2013