UK Labour Party’s Readmission of Corbyn Ally Accused of Antisemitism Called ‘Slap in Face’ to Jewish Community
A Labour member of the British Parliament and arch-ally of far-left leader Jeremy Corbyn was welcomed back into the party on Wednesday, following a brief suspension over a remark that Labour had been “too apologetic” over the antisemitism scandals that have plagued its ranks since Corbyn took charge in 2015.
A three-person internal committee decided on Wednesday to reject a recommendation by party officials to refer Chris Williamson — who represents the constituency of Derby North in central England — to the next stage of a disciplinary process.
A vocal supporter of the BDS campaign targeting Israel and a backer of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign — a group which advocates the elimination of the Jewish state — Williamson’s offenses include signing a petition in support of Gilad Atzmon, a notorious antisemite and former Israeli citizen who is based in the UK.
Williamson’s social media behavior has included approving retweets of posts by Sonia Mota, a Holocaust denier and an active defamer of the Talmud, the ancient body of Jewish religious law. Meanwhile, at the House of Commons, Williamson used his privileges as an MP in 2018 to show a documentary by Jackie Walker, an activist who was expelled from Labour because of her antisemitic outbursts.
Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth called the decision to readmit Williamson “disgusting” and said colleagues did not want Williamson in the party. “I am horrified,” she told The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday. “It says a great deal about how seriously we’re taking anti-Jewish hate.”
Smeeth said that she was “not comfortable being in the same room” as Williamson.
A Labour source told The Guardian that the committee dealing with Williamson’s suspension, advised by an independent barrister, had found that the MP breached party rules and issued a formal sanction, though it chose not to refer him to Labour’s highest disciplinary body, the national constitutional committee, which considers possible expulsions.
Jewish Labour Movement National Chair Mike Katz said in a statement: “How dare the Labour Party deny it is institutionally racist against Jews when it decides to take no action against Chris Williamson?”
Continued Katz: “This decision stinks and shows the moral turpitude the party finds itself in.”
The UK Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) commented in a separate statement that Williamson had “shown no remorse.”
“He will offend again and this decision is a slap in the face for the Jewish community,” the JLC said.