By Beila Rabinowitz
December 15, 2006 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Known as "Red" Ken for his leftwing extremism, the London Mayor has invited Dr. Daniel Pipes to debate him at a conference billed as - "A World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations?"
The event is scheduled to take place on January 20th at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Center. The unusual confrontation is sponsored by the Mayor's office and is taxpayer funded.
According the event brochure Livingstone envisions London as "a multicultural city...creating a new concept of world civilization that corresponds with a globalised world."
Dr. Pipes views the fault lines of the current conflict "not so much a clash of civilizations as a clash of civilizations v.s. barbarism."
Livingstone, with his track record of ad hominem, anti-Semitic and physical attacks, appears to be engaging in a colossal act of hubris, hoping to best Dr. Pipes' dispassionate intellectualism with his own brand of ideologically bound, vocal excess.
This is not to diminish Livingstone's rhetorical skills which have been honed throughout his political career.
Last year Livingstone caused an uproar when he responded to a Jewish reporter's question by telling him "you are acting like a concentration camp guard..." He successfully turned back calls for him to resign in the wake of this outburst on the grounds that he made the remarks while leaving a private party.
In 2002 he was accused of pushing a man off a balcony and "manhandling" a pregnant woman, fleeing the scene before police arrived
According to the victim's account of the balcony toss, "Ken...was going ballistic...we were trying...to restrain him...the last memory I have is of Ken lunging toward me...I came to briefly in the ambulance..."
Despite accusations of having lied about the incident in a 9 page statement that he delivered before the 25 member London Assembly [a mayoral monitoring body] Livingstone emerged unscathed.
In 2004 Livingstone stoked controversy when he invited radical Islamist cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi to London. A photograph shows him gazing adoringly at the sheik - who is known for issuing a fatwa sanctioning female suicide bombers and explaining why Muslims must wage jihad against the West.
When presented with the evidence of Al-Qaradawi's support of terrorism, Livingstone blasted the information "as coming from the Mossad."
Instead, the Mayor's office issued an official 50 page report portraying Al-Qaradawi as a moderate and defending his visit.
Nothing demonstrates Red Ken's identification with radical Islam as well as his response to the London bombings which he blamed on the foreign policy of the UK, saving his outrage for the fact that the targets had been workers instead of "Prime Ministers and presidents."
Livingstone's ability to blend support of Islamism into his own socialist ideology has earned him the adoration of his radical Muslim constituents. As evidence of this consider that at an "ask the Mayor" Q&A event last March an audience member who identified himself as a "member of the Central Mosque at Wembley" gushed:
"I follow prophet Mohammed and then follow of Ken Livingstone, the most socialist person on this planet..."
His remarks were greeted by applause.
The January debate should therefore prove raucous if not informative. Dr. Pipe's, whose scholarship on the Middle East is internationally renown should prove a difficult opponent for Livingstone, whose style of argumentation is limited by rigid Marxist constructs and strewn with personal invective. All of which might suggest that considering the London Mayor's wake of excess, the event may simply descend into bad political theatre.
©1999-2007 Beila Rabinowitz, PipeLineNews.org, all rights reserved.