Defend Chris Williamson

JVL statement on Chris Williamson

A number of student Labour clubs in London have joined what appears be a coordinated campaign of boycott targeting a left Labour MP and a London constituency party.

Jewish Voice for Labour urges Labour-supporting students to resist attempts to enlist them in divisive and damaging attempts to harm leading supporters of party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Almost identical tweets from clubs at UCL, Birkbeck and LSE make the defamatory and unfounded allegation that Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North, is an antisemite. They state that they will not campaign on behalf of Cities of London and Westminster Constituency Labour Party until it withdraws and apologises for an invitation to Williamson.

An additional tweet from KCL turned out to have been posted without authorisation of the Labour Society which apologised and said it had no intention of boycotting the CLP.

Labour List has taken up and elaborated upon the attacks, saying that student societies were reacting to news that members of the CLP had been invited to a meeting featuring a presentation by Chris Williamson MP.

It said “Chris Williamson has been criticised by Jewish groups and activists for sharing platforms with expelled Labour members such as Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker.”

For the record, the expulsion of Tony Greenstein, a life-long Jewish anti-racist campaigner, was not on the grounds of antisemitism. Jackie Walker, a Black Jewish socialist, has not been expelled. She is fighting against her suspension which has been accompanied by more than two years of being publicly vilified, without any justification, as an antisemite.

Chris Williamson is one of shamefully few prominent Labour figures who have had the courage to stand out against a wave of malicious and dishonest attacks on the left. Charges of antisemitism have to be taken seriously and guilty individuals dealt with. Misusing such allegations to undermine political opponents works to the detriment of the struggle against rising far-right racism, of which the fight against antisemitism must be a part.

Jewish Voice for Labour urges students wanting to support the anti-racist movement backing Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist politics to embrace doughty fighters for equality and justice such as Chris Williamson. JVL welcomes debate with all shades of pro-Labour opinion on campus.






Comments (6)

  • Patricia says:

    Why is only one form of hateful bigotry singled out for special attention? Surely that in itself is bigoted. The labour party, and brave principled politicians, like Chris Williamson, have never wavered in their condemnation of all forms of hateful bigotry. If we are going to have definitions of single forms of bigotry here is one LFI would be guilty of – very guilty.

    [JVL web editor writes:
    The full text of a statement “Anti-Palestinian-ism is hatred towards or prejudice against Palestinians as Palestinians” was submitted as part of this comment. We have removed it because of length, but you can find it in this article on Mondoweiss Towards a definition of anti-Palestinian racism.]

  • Terence says:

    I am deeply sorry that Chris Williamson has been targeted in this way. He is a Labour MP that I have great respect for. I am sure he will continue to speak out in his principled way in defense of other Labour Party Members shamefully vilified. And I wholeheartedly agree that these attacks only serve the Far Right. History surely is knocking on our skulls.

  • George Wilmers says:

    A damper will only be put on this escalating scurrilous campaign of libel against leftwing antiracists when one of the victims has the courage and the means to sue for defamation in a well publicised legal action. This could and should be crowdfunded, and I believe JVL could have an important role in facilitating and publicising such an action. Ideally however the defendant in such an action should be a high profile abuser rather than a naive or manipulated student society.

  • dave says:

    What on earth is wrong with these students? The received wisdom is they start off left and maybe go right when older, but this lot looks to have started on the right. The mystery is what they doing in Labour.

  • Anne Tanner says:

    “what kind of values do you share, Mr. Corbyn, with those terrorists, what kind of Labour party values do you share with those inhumane people?”

    Can’t get my head around that !! I try to avoid arguments like that! The statement above is blinkered and wrong in so many ways!!

    It’s not just Zionists that accuse Jeremy of being a “terrorist sympathiser”. I think it was the Daily Mail that made the accusation in the context of the IRA!!!

    Jeremy Corbyn believes in peace, he opposed injustice and persecution anywhere he finds it.

    Anyone taking a basic Socialist view of the history of the Palestinian /Zionist conflict will support the Palestinian cause! This is because Palestinians have had their land stolen from them and because they suffer appalling treatment from the Israeli authorities.

    It’s quite simple, Palestinians occupied that land for hundreds of years before 1948. Now almost all of that land is occupied by Israelis.

    This is unjust. To say so is NOT Antisemitic, it’s certainly anti-zionist.

    I am a retired teacher, if I had to break up a fight in the playground I asked who started it. I think it’s appropriate to ask the same question here.

    I should point out that I am not equating this dreadful conflict with a playground fight except that they are both conflicts and Israel/Palestine needs conflict resolution.

    Jeremy believes in peaceful conflict resolution, he stood for it in Ireland and in Israel/Palestine.

    That does not make him a “terrorist sympathiser “!!!

  • Paul Wright says:

    Good on you for posting this.

Comments are now closed.