Ken Livingstone: Could someone explain this to me?

On the one hand we have Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, known for a life long of campaigning against racism and anti-semitism.

On the other hand we have Oliver Finegold, a reporter of the Evening Standard. The Evening Standard is a sister paper of the Daily Mail, the paper that supported Mosley’s British Union of Fascists in the 30s. This context is important.

So Finegold approaches Livingstone after a party at City Hall. Livingstone does not like newspaper people. He asks Finegold whether he’s a “German war criminal”, referring to the Daily Mail issue mentioned above. Finegold obviously has to contribute that he’s Jewish. Livingstone replies: “You’re just like a concentration camp guard. You’re just doing it because you’re paid to, aren’t you?”

All of a sudden, the whole of London is trying to put pressure on Livingstone to apologise. Could someone please explain to me why he should do this? What has a personal insult got to do with the rest of the world? Is it not his right to decide whether or not to apologise for a personal insult? I understand that there are limits to what one is allowed to say, but in this case I don’t see how these limits have been transgressed. Perhaps the seriousness of this is getting lost in translation.

I’m probably going to get in trouble for this, but I really don’t understand how the moment someone calls “anti-semitism”, the whole world seemingly automatically sides with that person, no matter the circumstances. I personally think that there might be too much emotion and too little reason involved.

I would honestly appreciate any rational enlightenment. Thank you.