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July 31, 2018 3:52 pm

UK Jewish Leader Demands Expulsion of Labour Official Who Went on ‘Disgusting Rant’ Against Jewish Critics of Corbyn

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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A young protester holds a placard at a demonstration organized by the British Board of Jewish Deputies to oppose antisemitism in the Labour Party at Parliament Square in London, March 26, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Henry Nicholls.

The head of the Board of Deputies of British Jews has called for a prominent Labour party official to be “summarily expelled” after he went on a “disgusting rant” against Jewish opponents of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

At a meeting at which Labour notoriously approved a bowdlerized version of the international definition of antisemitism to the outrage of the Jewish community, Labour’s National Executive Committee member and secretary of the Campaign For Labour Democracy Peter Willsman went on a tirade against people who have accused Corbyn of antisemitism.

During the rant, reported by The Jewish Chronicle, Willsman can be heard saying that Corbyn’s opponents “can falsify social media very easily.”

He charged, “Some of these people in the Jewish community support Trump — they are Trump fanatics and all the rest of it. So I am not going to be lectured to by Trump fanatics making up duff information without any evidence at all.”

Willsman also dismissed a message from a group of rabbis expressing concern about antisemitism in the Labour party, saying, “So I think we should ask the 70 rabbis where is your evidence of severe and widespread antisemitism in this party?”

“Let me ask you, let me ask you a question, how many people in this room have seen antisemitism in the Labour Party?” he continued. “Put your hands up… one, two — you’ve had antisemitism in the Labour Party? I’m amazed. I’ve certainly never seen it.”

The Jewish Labour Movement made a formal complaint about Willsman’s tirade, but General Secretary Jennie Formby told Willsman he would not be investigated. This is in sharp contrasts to several MPs who have criticized Corbyn and are currently under party scrutiny.

In a Twitter thread, Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl addressed the revelations, saying, “Now Peter Willsman’s disgusting rant against Jewish community & rabbis has been made public by @JewishChron, & what seems to be lying exposed about what he did & didn’t say, he should be summarily expelled.”

“Was Jennie Formby there to hear what was said?” she asked. “If yes, why did she let Willsman off so lightly?”

Pointing to the double standards applied to critics of Corbyn, van der Zyl wrote, “Why has it been so easy to clear Willsman after his slurs against the Jewish community, but anti-racist MPs @MargaretHodge & @IanAustinMP are still being put through the ringer?”

“Was Jeremy Corbyn there to hear Willsman?” she queried. “If so, what form did his professed ‘militant opposition’ to antisemitism take when he heard it?”

Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger, who has been subjected to considerable abuse due to her opposition to antisemitism in the party, said of Willsman’s tirade, “Sickening to listen to this. The fact that it took place in a meeting of @UKLabour’s sovereign body the other week after all that’s happened is a disgrace. Blaming any other minority group wldn’t be tolerated – why is the Jewish community treated this way?”

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