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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February 2005, 15:38 GMT
Should Livingstone apologise for Nazi jibe?
Ken Livingstone
Prime minister, Tony Blair has urged Ken Livingstone to apologise for his Nazi insult to a Jewish reporter.

In an interview with Five's Wright Stuff show, Mr Blair said: "Let's just apologise and move on".

But London's mayor says he is "standing by" his remarks, after he accused an Evening Standard journalist of being like a "concentration camp guard".

Mr Livingstone worked for the Evening Standard as the paper's restaurant critic between 1996 and 200 but argues that the paper has changed since then.

Do you think Ken Livingstone should apologise? Was Mr Livingstone's behaviour in line with his position? Do you think newspapers victimise public figures?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by George Ji from Leeds, UK:
Should Ken Livingstone apologise for his Nazi comments?

Whilst Ken Livingstone's comments were insensitive I am not sure they count as racist. However, it wouldn't have taken a genius to work out they would have been taken badly. He is a man in a position of great power and influence and one would hope he had more control and discretion when under this sort of pressure. How can London thrive under his Mayorship when he shows such a lack of judgement.
Alison, London

An apology that is not genuine is not worth anything
Karen, London, England
An apology that is not genuine is not worth anything. Ken wasn't being malicious. I am eternally surprised at the tolerance shown to reporters who come across as being incredibly irritating, and amazed that people do not lose it with them more often. I am no fan of Ken Livingstone but let him get on with his job! Does nobody have anything better to do in this country than trying to force people to apologise for the sake of being "PC"? Whatever happened to freedom of speech?
Karen, London, England

Had it been one remark I would let it pass. But having heard the tape and heard that the concentration camp remark was a follow up once he actually knew the chap was Jewish he obviously set out to say something hurtful. However, he shouldn't apologise if he doesn't mean it and he clearly doesn't regret the remark one little bit.
Sarah, Epsom, Surrey

Assuming that the BBC is abiding by its statement that "comments reflect the balance of opinion", then it is clear that the majority of the people with an opinion on the matter are against him having to apologise. Would that the hysterical elements within the media took note and stopped trying to force their agenda on us!
Mark Boast, Manchester

Absolutely. The first comment made was a bit silly. However, when the reporter said that he was Jewish and was offended, to then make another comment was absolutely disgraceful. Others have been chastised for similar comments, but this was made directly to someone who (a)he knew was Jewish and (b)had just been offended by something he had just said. How can someone with so little judgement be responsible for decisions affecting the capital?
James Hooper, Southend, UK

I do not agree with Red Ken - his politics or his statement - but we are supposed to have this strange thing called "Free Speech" in the UK. I find many things offensive but accept that other people have their right to choose as well, and that I should not impose my standards on everybody else. Perhaps it is time a few more people thought for themselves - what is the real difference between a soldier in black telling me what to think, do and say and some self-important "politically correct" busybody doing the same?
Gerry Talman, Farnborough, UK

Ken is in a position of authority and trust, and therefore his defence of "I am the victim" just doesn't hold up. Ken espouses great things about "gay rights" and "equality". Can you imagine the uproar if he had made a derogatory comment about a disabled person or a gay man? It's all hypocritical double standards from a mayor who should know better. Yes, he should apologise, and grow up. We don't need someone acting as a resentful spoiled child as the mayor of this great city.
Paul Burlinson, London, UK

Aaargh! This country is becoming ridiculous - nobody can say anything anymore! Keep quiet, Ken, you've done nothing wrong.
Ben, Pontefract, UK

The tedious regularity with which certain sections of the right wing media in this country latch onto anything that, to them, hints at anti-Semitism is becoming an unbearable drag. Your average Jewish member of the community, myself that is, wishes that these 'journalists' would stop. Shame on this journalist for trivialising what are serious, emotional issues in the Jewish community in the hope of scoring cheap political points for a newspaper's personal campaign against a popular, democratically elected politician. I pray that when this hack has true reason some day to cry wolf that there will still be someone left to listen..
Paul Freedland, London

Ken Livingstone is a classic case of someone who doesn't think before he opens his mouth. To make an analogy is one thing, but a Nazi one is tactless. He could do better and should have, but you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
Margy Counihan, New York, USA

Get a perspective; this really has dragged on too long. This is political correctness beyond stupidity, opponents of Ken pushing the issue for all its worth. It was an off the cuff remark, many people make them, no harm, and actually no direct insult in the comment. I do not find it offensive in the slightest. Can we get on with the important things in life? And before anyone jumps in, no we cannot and will not forget the Jews and WWII just remember them in the right way, and do not insult their memory with such stupid time wasting.
Simo Ricko, London

The Evening Standard just can't leave him alone can they? Everyone knows he isn't racist. Ignore them Ken!
Tara, London

Ken was simply wrong to trivialise genocide
Ian, London
Words are important. History is too. Those in leadership are greater for humbling themselves and saying sorry. Ken was simply wrong to trivialise genocide in comparing a journalist doing his job with a mass killer. There's too much denial in life and I worry about the tone of many of the replies on this page.
Ian, London

No, he shouldn't. It's called 'free speech', which is still supposedly a right in this country!
Sophy, Cambridge, UK

Mr. Livingstone has nothing to apologise for, he felt harassed and annoyed and certainly had no intended racist statement
D.Lambert, London

Yes I think Ken Livingstone should apologise for what he said. As the mayor of London he should be more respectful to the Jewish community and stop being so ignorant especially at a time like this when the civilised world is trying to portray itself as a more tolerant society
Guy Niv, Lund, Sweden

Someone in his position should be accustomed to dealing with the media
Msmo, London UK
Double standards once again. Prince Harry wears a Nazi uniform to a private party and is castigated. Our esteemed mayor behaves in his usual boorish manner and refuses to apologise for a highly insensitive outburst. He should apologise as someone in his position should be accustomed to dealing with the media. He's doing good things for London but not for our - or his - image.
Msmo, London UK

Mr Livingstone has nothing to apologise for. If anything the journalist should be apologising to him for being rude and intrusive.
Robes, Glasgow, Scotland

I rarely agree with Ken Livingstone but on this occasion I don't think he should apologise. If anyone should apologise, it's the intrusive and disrespectful journalist who tried to misuse Mr Livingstone's unfortunate choice of retort to get himself of the hook.
Chris, Oxford

Come on Ken apologise. If it were an opposition MP or assembly member you would be crying foul play!
S Davies, Cardiff, UK

He has been unfairly vilified by sections of the media
Roger, Leamington Spa
Whilst Ken might regret his choice of words, what he said was not racist. He has done a great job for London, and has been unfairly vilified by sections of the media.
Roger, Leamington Spa

Yes, I think Livingston should apologise. He is a rude and offensive person and is desperately wanting in manners. And yes I do feel at the same time newspapers do victimise public figures but public figures are just what they are 'public'.
M Dogilewski, Kingston upon Thames

No I don't think he should apologise for the remark. He was referring to the reporter not the whole Jewish community. Its just another piece of reporting sensationalism on behalf of the Standard.
Nick Weiss, London

I don't think I read about anyone from the Jewish community screaming "anti-Semitism". In issues such as this you often get people talking about the 'race card' without properly understanding what caused offence in the first place. I think we need to understand the difference between racism and insensitivity. As I see it, if I call a Jewish person an idiot I am being rude. If I call him one of the known racist names, I am of course being racist. However, if I make an inappropriate reference to a known tragedy of history such as concentration camps I am being insensitive which is often equally offensive as racism. If I can understand this, why can't Ken Livingstone?
Rick, Surrey

Yes he should apologise because he has upset many people. I do not think he should retract his statement as things have gone to far for that but he should certainly apologise for his turn of phrase and the offence it caused and engage his grey matter before his mouth in future. He is a public figure and should stop whining about the press - he has used them often enough to his advantage
Charlotte H, London, UK

What would Livingstone's response have been if a metropolitan police officer had said this to a man who had identified himself as Jewish? He has lost all credibility. Apology is not acceptable: if you think this sort of remark is OK then you have no place in public office.
Georgie, Leicester, UK

No, he should not apologise. There is nothing to suggest that Ken Livingstone knew the reporter's religion when he made his first comment, nor that he made the comment out of malice towards the Jewish religion. The reporter's religion has no bearing on his ability to carry out his work and it was the way in which he was carrying out his work that prompted the mayor's comments.
David J, London, UK

Why if he is such a tireless campaigner against racism and other forms of discrimination cannot he empathise with the offence he has caused
Matthew, London
It is interesting reading the many comments here that so many people are willing to see Ken Livingstone's comments in such a benign way. If he has been hounded by the Evening Standard for 24 years why did he agree to be their paid restaurant reviewer? Why if he is such a tireless campaigner against racism and other forms of discrimination cannot he empathise with the offence he has caused amongst the Jewish community?
Matthew, London

Red Ken is the least likely closet fascist I have ever encountered. He has already apologised for any perceived offence caused by his ill considered comments to a reporter.
Mike Smyth, Oxford

He should be ashamed of himself. By not apologising, he is just perpetuating hate, and is a very stupid example to children who do not know much about the holocaust.
Henry Chande, Zambia

Ken may have been un-diplomatic in his argument with the Standard reporter but his remarks are not racist. If his remarks were racist I would condemn him myself. Ken is joint Secretary of Unite against Fascism I'm sure that organisation would be upset if his views were racist. What should Ken apologise for being un-diplomatic?
Geoff Kerr-Morgan, Middlesbrough, UK

There are plenty of celebrities and politicians in the public eye. They are all harassed by journalists. However, you do not see them making such insensitive remarks. This story was not 'created' by the Evening Standard - it is all on tape. As Mayor of London, he should act in a responsible manner and apologise. Otherwise can we all go around slandering our fellow neighbours because we feel like it?
Danielle, London

I've never much liked Ken until now. Good for him taking a principled stand. Enough of this supplication to (deliberately) over-zealous and irrational groups of people.
JarmoD, Washington DC

He can apologise to Londoners and the reporter, but he doesn't have to apologise to the Evening Standard
Roger, London, UK
The likes of Ron Atkinson and Prince Harry have apologised for things that did not involve public money. I don't think he is anti-Semitic, but I didn't think Ron Atkinson was a racist. Ken has made many anti-Israel comments and this is just on accordance with those. He can apologise to Londoners and the reporter, but he doesn't have to apologise to the Evening Standard or the Daily Mail.
Roger, London, UK

Why should someone apologise if they truly feel they have not done anything wrong. I admire people who stick to their guns and don't bow to public pressure.
Bea, Manchester

It is not appropriate for any representative of the people to make comments of this nature. Indeed it is rather sad when a teenager can get into more trouble for wearing a fancy dress costume without thinking it's ramifications through, (Prince Harry) than the Mayor of London has for his intentionally obnoxious and foul language. As the leader of one of the largest and most cosmopolitan capitals on the planet he should know better and should be made to apologise or resign.
Steve Pugh, Horsham

There were 2 parts to Ken's comment, 1 absolutely true (that Daily Mail group reporters don't deserve to be treated with respect) & one that was tasteless (the inappropriate references to the Holocaust) for which he should apologise unconditionally.
Piers, Surrey, UK

The way the reporter treated Ken is in no way similar to a guard herding innocents into a Gas chamber. So yes it is offensive to many Jews and other victims of the holocaust.
Ben, London

Ken did not trivialise the Holocaust by his remarks
H Mir, London
I don't think Ken should apologise. I don't understand the anger the Jewish lobby has either. Ken did not trivialise the Holocaust by his remarks and having journalists constantly hounding you for an "angle" is not in the job description for London Mayor either.
H Mir, London

Ron Atkinson made a comment about one black individual and rightly condemned and made to apologise for his comments. As they didn't just offend the player, but the black population. Ken Livingstone made comments to one journalist that offended the Jewish community. He has been rightly condemned. I don't believe he set out to offend the Jewish community, but he has and should apologise to them. But, he shouldn't apologise to the Daily Mail and Evening Standard.
Victor, London

In refusing to apologise he has shown that he is totally unfit to hold public office, and should be barred from doing so immediately
Bill Foote, Hampshire

The Mayor's comments suggest that he is referring to the Jewish guards at the concentration camps ("Kapos"). The Kapos were not paid, or even rewarded, for what they did. They did what they were told or were executed. To suggest that the Jews somehow conspired in their own fate is outrageously offensive. The Mayor, if not aware of this before he made the remarks, will now have been told this by advisers and should clearly and unequivocally apologise.
Dave, London

Of course Ken should apologise. Language of that type is offensive to all who suffered at the hands of the Nazis as well as to post WW2 Germans. To liken an alleged 24 year hate campaign by a newspaper group to the actions of the Nazis, trivialises the enormity of those deeds. In any event, even if Ken cannot see the difference between alleged newspaper hounding and Nazi extermination camps, since when did two wrongs make a right ?
Michael Kallenberg, London, England

Ken may not be anti-semitic, but he has offended the gay community in recent times as well. He needs to be far more sensitive in his public position.
Chris B, London

Ken Livingstone has shown he is not only capable of inflicting hurt with his words but is also unrepentant
Scott Woolcott, Bishops Stortford
I think Ken Livingstone has shown he is not only capable of inflicting hurt with his words but is also unrepentant and unwilling to offer an apology. How does he think he can be an ambassador for London and its people and make such disgusting references that were both insulting and hurtful to so many people? Ken was elected to serve us, now that people have lost faith in him. His services are no longer required by London - we need an ambassador with compassion for the multi-cultural society that London has become.
Scott Woolcott, Bishops Stortford

I don't particularly like Ken Livingstone, but if you just look at the incident it's ridiculous that it has assumed this level of importance. He didn't say anything anti-Jewish, he was just narked and was recorded saying the kind of thing that we've all said on occasion. Get over it everyone and get on with more important issues. If this carries on who knows where it will end?
Rachel Tyrrell, Lincoln, England

I think Ken should apologise and if he refuses be asked to resign. I do also think papers victimise public figures but it still doesn't excuse his offensive remarks.
Sue Cavill, Hounslow, Middx

Mr Livingstone should apologise. As mayor of London and someone well used to the press, his comments were inappropriate and the excuse he gave for his comments were just pathetic.
Michael Fallas, Beaconsfield, UK

What on earth is all this fuss about! If Ken doesn't want to apologise, then that should be the end of the matter. The reporter and anyone else "offended" by his remarks should grow up. There are more important things going on in the world to be concerned with. Get over it!
Sue Woollard, Westcliff-on-Sea

He's entitled to his opinion...and I'm entitled to vote for who I want to represent me. 'nuff said.
Dave, London area

Newspapers are supposed to report the news not make the news. Livingstone is no saint, but in this case it seems to be deliberate provocation leading to reaction and then run the story.
Rory, London, England

I wish there were a few more straight talking political figures like him
John, London
He should not apologise, his comments were not racist in the slightest. He made them and stands by them and good on him for that. I don't always agree with Ken Livingstone but I respect him and I wish there were a few more straight talking political figures like him.
John, London

Yes, of course he should say sorry. He should get off his "high" arrogant horse and say sorry, like millions of us have to do every day, whether we mean it or not.
Andy

Don't apologise Ken. This is another example of the Tory press trying to destabilise democracy. I love the way that the press only reported the context of the conversation the day after they broke the story! They are so dishonest.
Andrew M, Walsall, UK

I do not think that Ken Livingstone should be expected to apologise for his comments to this reporter. To my mind it is a natural comment to make to someone who is badgering and baiting you, as many journalists do in these days, hoping for any reaction, given under pressure, that will later be reported on with relish, and encouraging the public to pillory public figures. If, I Joe Public were to make the same remark, I do not think it would make front page, do you?
Pat Malins, Consett, England

An enquiry is the minimum we the public deserve
Danny Simon, London
Ken is a man full of prejudices. His arrogance cannot be excused. He may hate the Standard and the Mail, but to behave so badly against them and their reporter, whilst offending many thousands of others at the same time, brings into question his right to hold public office. An enquiry is the minimum we the public deserve. An apology would be appreciated and a donation to a Jewish charity would be even better!
Danny Simon, London

Using labels is exactly what the communists and fascists did. Pointing the finger and saying "You're a racist!" is becoming as frequent as the tunnel-vision accusations to be found in Orwell. Of course real race hatred should be stopped immediately. But that does not mean people such as this journalist can instantly cry wolf when the comment Ken made was not even racist. It is considered acceptable to mock public figures in the very newspapers that now demand rigid rules of conduct.
Miriam Jenner, Rhos-on-sea, Wales

As a Jewish Londoner, I found Mr Livingston's comments to be offensive. Now that the Mayor is aware of the insult he has caused (whether intended or not), he ought to apologise or resign. I am also disappointed by the attitude of some of the other contributors. Contrary to what Mr Taylor may think, making negative remarks about Jews (or about members of any other religion) is not acceptable. I hope that we are already at the stage where such anti-Semitism, or any other form of racism, should be shown the red card.
Anon, London

What an absolute non-story
David Grocott, Colchester England
What an absolute non-story. As a Jewish journalist I can honestly say I have never heard of such absolute rubbish. Ken, do not apologise, you have, in this instance at least, done nothing wrong.
David Grocott, Colchester England

I voted for Ken in both mayoral elections and am a Jewish member of the Labour party in London. I found his remarks deeply offensive. I do not like the Evening Standard, but concentration camp guards were the most brutal torturers and murderers who singled out Jews for most extreme cruelty. To liken the reporter, on the record, to a concentration camp guard after the reporter had told Mr Livingstone that he (the reporter) was Jewish was an offence to the Jewish community as a whole. He should apologise, not to the Evening Standard, but to the Jewish community and to the families of all who suffered at the hands of concentration camp guards.
Stephen Franklin, London

For those lacking the basic intelligence to understand the point Ken was making, he has since qualified his words by calling it the thin end of the wedge. His remarks were neither tasteless nor racist. It is depressing to have to write to support him. We must challenge the right wing press' power to dictate standards of morality and also to decide what makes a story.
Simon, London

The Mayor should not express his ideas in this way. If he does not like such newspapers he can simply say so. The way he did is totally unacceptable and he should resign at once in consideration of his position.
Riccardo , London

Why should Ken Livingstone have to apologise for remarks, albeit pointed, made after a social event? I think that the journalist in question is protesting too much about the offence caused. The situation has been whipped up by the Standard for cynical reasons and Ken should stick to his principles.
Glen, East London

He has a responsibility to deal with all aspects of the media in a manner that goes with his position
Neil Taylor, London, England
Ken Livingstone is supposed to be representing London on a global platform, his behaviour is a disgrace. Whether has been victimised or not he has a responsibility to deal with all aspects of the media in a manner that goes with his position and not deal in gutter exchanges - has he not heard of the phrase "no comment"?
Neil Taylor, London, England

Ken Livingstone knew who the journalist was Jewish when he made the comment about concentration camp guards. I think he was angry and meant to upset the other man. Many of the other contributors have doubted the journalist was offended: in the transcript I have read of the exchange he states very plainly that he is as soon as Ken Livingstone makes the remark.
Katrina, Oxford

Having read what Mr. Livingstone said, I cannot understand for one minute why some people say he should not apologise - the timing of his comments are seriously flawed.
Tony, London

Certainly he should not apologise. He has nothing to apologise for. His remarks were in no way racist. You lot over there are so obsessed with political correctness that you are in danger of killing off interesting and colourful comment. I'm sure that reporter has had worse things said to him. The pity is that he gets any publicity out of the whole thing.
David McCarthy, Dublin, Ireland

Poor Ken does seem to get himself into scrapes whatever event social or otherwise he attends. He is always willing to court publicity when it suits him though. Unfortunately you cannot yourself determine the outcome unless to a certain extent you show a degree of diplomacy and of course try not to become overtired and emotional at potentially critical times.
Karl, London

The McPhearson report clearly states that a racist incident is any in which the victim perceives racism played a part. Therefore Ken cannot use the excuse that he did not mean to cause offence. I think this is politically correct nonsense, but if left-wingers like Ken want to constantly campaign about racism then they had better stick to their own rules. Live by the PC sword, die by the PC sword.
Nigel, London

No, he should not have to apologise. He has been vilified by these newspapers in the past; have they apologised to him? If he is not sorry, then an apology is pointless.
Sandra den Hertog, London, UK

Political Correctness gone mad, again. Ultimately this type of over reaction harms the thing it purports to protect.
Tony, Worcester

The replies broadly seem to boil down to whether you are pro- or anti- Ken. Those who defend his remarks might like to ask in what way a journalist however overbearing and of whatever religion might be sensibly compared to a concentration camp guard.
Alan Harrison, Sheffield, UK

His outburst had no racial intent whatsoever
Cyril Preece, Tamworth, UK
Whilst I am no great fan of Ken Livingstone, his outburst had no racial intent whatsoever and, certainly the Jewish lobby do themselves no favours by trying to put themselves above criticism and placing themselves on a pedestal. Why does everyone try to play the race card? Yet again evidence of overindulgence of so called political correctness.
Cyril Preece, Tamworth, UK

It seems that there is a danger that we will forget that concentration camps were used all peoples not just the Jews, and that other people suffered extreme hardship and loss at the hands of the Nazis. The reporter's instant response that he is Jewish was actually irrelevant to the argument he was having.
Mike, London UK

Mr Livingstone didn't make an anti-Semitic remark, he made an anti-Fascist remark. You would have thought more people, Jewish people included, would be in favour of highlighting and censuring Fascist behaviour! To the "apologise or quit" crowd: what precisely is he meant to apologise about? Distaste for Fascism? Step back, breathe deeply and have a think beyond sound-bite headline reactionism for just a moment, please.
Steve, London UK

Mr Livingstone's comments were an attack on the journalist, comparing him to concentration camp guards in ducking responsibility for his actions. How can this be viewed as anti-Semitic? It's the Nazis that Ken is using as an example of evil.
Paul Webster, York, UK

An opportunity for a bit more muck raking
Minnie, UK
I am sure the journalist was not offended - he would have been rubbing his hands in glee! What an opportunity for a bit more muck raking!
Minnie, UK

This is a man that has represented the views of the underdog for years and is the victim of countless media attacks. He clearly stated that the remark was not a racial slur and that it was not directed at the journalist's background. Why should Ken be like so many politicians and apologise without meaning it? Doesn't this devalue the whole issue?
Tochi Nnaemeka, Ilford, Essex

If anyone said this in Germany, they would quick rightly be the object of a police investigation. He should apologise immediately as he is abusing the traditional liberties of England.
Chris Gillibrand, Brussels

I really do not think that Ken Livingstone meant to give any offence by the remark and that people from all walks of life should be allowed to use analogies even if they are in poor taste. If the journalist from the Evening Standard is genuinely offended then Ken should offer an apology! However, all the journalists that I know are it bit more robust.
David Stupples, Reigate UK

This is all part of the relentless campaign against Ken by the London Evening Standard. They created the story using one of their own reporters and then continue to give it undeserved print space to sell papers. We all know Ken is decent and honest (despite being a politician), and it's time to focus on real news.
George, London

Ken Livingstone has been unfairly caricatured by Associated Newspapers
Mark Workman, London
I sympathise with Ken Livingstone because he has been unfairly caricatured by Associated Newspapers since the days of the old GLC. But surely he can reiterate his dislike of the Evening Standard and still apologise for the language he used when trying to bat away Oliver Finegold's questions?
Mark Workman, London

Mr Livingstone should apologise or quit. There is no place for people such as Mr Livingstone when the city is endeavouring to get the Olympic Games.
J L Wood, Amersham

I am no fan of Ken, but I agree with him on this, he should not back down. His comment was in no way meant as racist, and this endless abuse of the term "racist" as a tool of harm is extremely counter productive. And the Jewish lobby do themselves no favour shouting fire at everything and nothing. It is almost as if Jews should be seen above criticism when nobody is.
Stephen, London

I don't like Ken as a person or his politics - but even if I did I would feel that as a politico he should think before opening his mouth. You and I can say things that someone in his position shouldn't.
Ron Gerard, London, England

Ken's remarks were aimed at an overbearing journalist, not at the Jewish people. The comments weren't anti-Semitic, so Ken is right to refuse to apologise.
Carl, Stockport, UK

I don't think that concentration camps or the Nazis should be unmentionable
Colin Asquith, Edinburgh, UK
I don't think that Ken should be forced to apologise for the simile he used comparing a journalist to a concentration camp guard who was claiming he was "only doing his job" so it wasn't the journalists fault for the way he was behaving, it was the nature of the journalist. I don't think that concentration camps or the Nazis should be unmentionable or an untouchable subject, understandably there are strong feelings about Nazism, but like the Prince Harry costume, the point of remembering the victims of concentration camps and the Nazis - as the sculpture at Dachau says "Never again" - is we must ensure that this kind of political rise and this mistreatment of human life never ever happens again. Is Ken proposing the opposite by what he said? I think not.
Colin Asquith, Edinburgh, UK

Is it any wonder that politicians don't talk straight any more, when anything they say can be blown out of proportion and context? There's a kind of mass hysteria that right-wing journalists exploit when they want to have a dig at someone they don't like, and this is a prime example of it. The headline for this story could equally read "man makes slightly offensive comment to person who deserved it".
Mark, St Albans, UK

What's the point of an apology if it's made under pressure? If people object to Mr Livingstone's comments then they can voice their displeasure by voting against him when he next runs for the position of Mayor.
Hans, Chessington, England

Shouldn't the media be demanding for more important things? This is all a storm in a teacup and keeps the front page filled for the Evening Standard.
Katy, London

This was a really insensitive remark
Anon, Amsterdam
Mr Livingstone is quite a good mayor and by and large a really likeable guy, but this was a really insensitive remark. I'm sure it was not intended to cause offence, but let's be honest, it not a great advert for tolerance and in a time where relations are strained between various religious groups, this can be seen to be adding fuel to the fire. I just hope that this does not snowball into something more serious, as has happened in the Netherlands.
Anon, Amsterdam

Absolutely not. The notion that every brisk aside to a Jewish person is anti-Semitic is a nonsense. Mr Livingstone's frustration stemmed not from matters of race or creed but from frustration at his treatment by the media. Read the transcript of the exchange instead of being caught up in the hype and see that Judaism had nothing to do with it. The same could easily have been said to a Christian, Muslim or Hindu.
Neil Hardie, Aberdeen, Scotland

He should not be forced to apologise as he has made it quite clear that he stands by his comments
Alan Glenister, Bushey UK
Ken Livingstone likes to be heard, please or offend. This is one of the privileges of democracy and freedom of speech. He should not be forced to apologise as he has made it quite clear that he stands by his comments - a forced apology would be empty and meaningless. He is a public figure and must learn to endure 'flak' from the media; he must also learn that freedom of speech does not give him the right to flaunt the rules relating to his behaviour as a public official. He should be barred from holding his position as mayor.
Alan Glenister, Bushey UK

I don't think Ken's comments were meant in anyway to be anti-Semitic. Instead they were an attack on the right-wing press that regularly supplies its readers with a diet of racism and bigotry. He is right not to apologise.
Michael Contaldo, London, England

Ken's arrogance will sooner or later be the downfall. Perhaps if he engaged brain before mouth then he might actually do some good.
Charles, Crawley

Give it up Ken, you have bigger fish to fry!
Pete Nightingale, Reading UK

I think this has been blown out of proportion. Livingstone likened a reporter from a paper that supports what he perceives as fascism to a fascist. That he chose to do so through Nazism and that the man was Jewish doesn't change that perception and nor should it lead to a withdrawal of a comment. A Jew can do as much wrong as anyone else and being Jewish does not stop you from being a fascist, hounding a man with a different political perception or working for a right wing paper. As a Jew that reporter should be questioning his own work and the ideology that he has aligned himself to rather more than his dissatisfaction with a few words uttered by a man he was bothering late at night.
Anna, UK

A man in public office being subjected to scrutiny from national and local newspapers read by the people who he leads? Whoever heard of such a thing? Of course he should apologise. Giving anyone such a disgusting and cheap insult is despicable, but the fact that this journalist was Jewish makes matters worse
Ed, London UK

This is a personal attack on one of Britain's most intelligent and genuinely honest politicians
Dave Godfrey, Swindon
Ken seems to have made a personal attack on an individual. I cannot think of many people less likely to be anti-Semitic than Ken Livingstone. He has already said that any apology would not be genuine on his part, so what would be the point? And in doing so, surely this would be even more of an insult to the Jewish people. I think this is a personal attack on one of Britain's most intelligent and genuinely honest politicians rather than a genuine concern about anti-Semitism.
Dave Godfrey, Swindon

Whinge whinge whinge. This country is getting to a stage where no one can say anything without offending someone. I thought freedom of speech was allowed these days? Livingstone has nothing to apologise for.
Rachel, Suffolk

I don't think Livingstone's joke was meant to be racist, but it was certainly offending and he should apologise. Immediately.
Stan, Norfolk

It is fast getting to the stage where you cannot say anything negative towards Jews without someone waiving a "red card" and screaming "anti-Semitism". As I understand it Mr Livingstone was pursued relentlessly by this individual, and eventually snapped back. If what he had said had been said to anyone but a Jew, then it would have passed un-noticed. I for one hope he stands by his guns and refuses to apologise.
Andrew Taylor, Nottingham, UK




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