Where to start? Chris Williamson has been shooting up the list of my least favourite MPs for some time. Now the Jewish Labour Movement has called for him to be suspended from the party following his failure to challenge antisemitism, including the accusation that Corbyn’s critics are ‘foot-soldiers for Israel’. This is a revealing little detail.
He added that some in the party had “allowed their passion to run away” and expressed themselves in “a light which could be perceived as antisemitic… I don’t believe they are antisemites.”
Imagine substituting ‘racist’ or ‘Islamophobic’ for antisemitic – would he ever come out with such a statement?
On the topic of giving (undue) benefit of the doubt, I was less critical of the Labour code on antisemitism than many here. However recent revelations/reminders confirm that people were right to be sceptical about the way the revised guidelines dealt with Nazi/Israel parallels. (The document equivocated over whether or not these were antisemitic.) This particular detail strongly resonates, of course, with that 2010 event hosted by Jeremy Corbyn – “Never Again for Anyone — Auschwitz to Gaza”.
This brief twitter exchange is telling:
Corbyn, incidentally, was keen to erase the word ‘Holocaust’ from ‘Holocaust Memorial Day’, the day on which this grotesque event was held.
At a recent Barnet Momentum meeting it was claimed that security outside synagogues and other Jewish buildings was a tactic to ‘generate an atmosphere of insecurity” because “Zionists” want to “exploit and generate the fear of antisemitism”’
It gets worse, if possible.
One participant claimed there were people in the Labour Party “whose allegiances lie with a foreign government”, while another suggested attempts to dispel the row over antisemitism in Labour and win back the support of Jewish voters amounted to “appeasement”.
Several also spoke in defence of a local activist who had written about the “over-representation of Jews in the capitalist ruling class” and plotted how to block efforts, led by a Jewish councillor, to have the person’s application for Labour membership rejected.
Even Corbyn allies are beginning to ask questions:
On WhatsApp, Mr Lansman questioned why Labour had chosen to investigate Dame Margaret Hodge but not Pete Willsman, who ranted about “Jewish … Trump fanatics”.
There have been a few reports of antisemitic members, and even elected representatives, of the Labour Party being reinstated following suspension.
Here’s one example:
and here’s a report of how former PPC Michelle Harris has now apparently been told she has no case to answer, and a reminder of why we thought she did. She is now claiming that the accusations were fraudulent and photoshopped. If so, it would be good to have complete clarification from Labour in order to demonstrate how it is – or isn’t handling – the issue.
Finally, here is a good piece on Labour’s antisemitism problem from Helen Lewis.