Our message to the NEC

We urge NEC members to resist calls to overturn the decision of the disciplinary panel which on June 26 lifted Chris Williamson’s suspension from party membership.


We do so on three grounds

1. The central contention for which Chris Williamson has been pilloried is simply false. He never said that the party had apologised too much for antisemitism. On the contrary he did say, rightly, that Labour has done more than any other party to address what he called “the scourge of antisemitism” and should be proud of its record, not apologetic when grossly caricatured as “riddled” with antisemitism. This is evident from the publicly available video of the meeting in Sheffield upon which the unjust charge against him is based.

2. Chris Williamson is accused of “a pattern of behaviour” deemed offensive by some people – but this is not proof of antisemitic conduct. There is no single, unified “Jewish community”; there are many Jewish voices. For our part, nothing Williamson has said or done justifies such extreme, abusive statements. There is no hint that he has set out gratuitously to offend, nor that his behaviour has breached our antiracist laws.

Noam Chomsky one of the greatest progressive thinkers of our time commented on 4th July on the Williamson case:

“The charges against Chris Williamson are a case in point. There is nothing even remotely antisemitic in his statement that Labour has ‘given too much ground’ and been ‘too apologetic’ in defending its record of addressing ‘the scourge of antisemitism’ beyond that of any other party, as he himself had done, on public platforms and in the streets.”

3. Since publication of the Chakrabarti Report, commissioned by Labour in 2016, the party has appointed a new General Secretary, committed to overhauling the party’s disciplinary machine in the light of its recommendations, to ensure speed, due process and natural justice. A start has been made.

Under this new regime Chris Williamson had a hearing from a disciplinary panel with powers delegated to it by the NEC. It decided to lift his suspension. The people who are crying out for the ruling to be reversed – that is, to line Williamson up for expulsion – have never complained about panel decisions when others have been found guilty under the same rules and procedures. Some of those demanding political interference in the decision about Williamson are the very same people who have complained of political interference from LOTO in the disciplinary process, making public allegations that, whatever their intention, bring the party into disrepute.

For these reasons we call upon the NEC to draw a line under the deployment of antisemitism allegations in a manner that is intensely damaging to our party and its members. We should be advocating for the policies a Corbyn-led Labour Government will put in place for the benefit of the mass of British people. Not overturning our own disciplinary decisions to serve a hostile political agenda.

Comments (11)

  • TM says:

    Yes. That’s a very clear statement which I support wholeheartedly. And now I’m off to lobby the NEC with, hopefully, many others. A political climate where Hunt can make the vilest of smears against JC; Hodge and co. continue to weaponize antisemitism is a climate the Far Right must revel in. The NEC must surely realize that truth now, based on clear evidence, is essential for all our futures.

  • Dinag Stuart says:

    Well said!! I only hope the NEC see sense because I feel a lot of members will feel very let down if Chris is expelled or even disciplined. Some may even leave the LP.

  • S H says:

    Well done JVL. The spineless NEC should now do the right thing and reinstate their reinstatement of our great socialist comrade and friend Chris and then reinstate all those that have been expelled because of the hysteria whipped by bloody Hodge and her nasty horrible little doom gang.

  • Mark Francis says:

    Perhaps people like Tom Watson (who rose to prominence witch-hunting a paedophile ring which does not now seem to have existed) would rather see a Tory Government than a Corbyn Labour Government. There is a place for such people, but it is not the Labour Party.
    When Shai Masot said he wanted to take down Tory MPs they had the backing of their party & the Israelis backed off. This has got traction due to collaboration from Labour MPs who resent the membership’s reference for Corbyn.

  • TP says:

    Please watch Gideon Levy talking about how Corbyn represents hope for Peace and Justice and how the antisemitism smear campaign is aimed at destroying him and prospects of Peace.

  • Sara says:

    What pathetic Hunt said about Jeremy Corbyn was absolutely shocking, vile and should have received widespread condemnation but of course it didn’t. The British media is complicit in smearing the Labour Party and repeating really horrible lies about our peaceful party.

  • S H says:

    Islamophobia is rampant & institutionalised in the Tory party, Brexit Party & UKIP but the press ain’t interested. By continuously talking about Labours issue with it’s 0.08% of antisemitic incidents, it’s made to look like it’s at epidemic levels. Do your bloody jobs NEC and defend our party.

  • Jessica Leschnikoff says:

    Sadly also, this is about too much power in too few hands… I refer to the failures of our electoral processes, and the internal organisation of the Party’s units… why are serving members of the NEC also serving as members of Momentum’s NCG… why are there NEC members occupying roles on several committees of the NEC… why do socialists societies have only one NEC member and some of the Unions have two NEC members (not an expression of their size)…

    All of this is an indicator of an organisation that needs to look closely at cronyism, conflict of interest and structural / cultural ethics… Flatten the structures, bring the leadership teams much closer to the members, create authentic transparency and accountability and draw far more representation from members instead of relying so heavily on the PLP and Counsillor networks. That would be a start… and have a sodding org chart with role names and reporting structures so the public AND members can see who should be talking to whom!

  • TM says:

    It was such a positive lobby of the NEC yesterday; a good crowd with some excellent speeches including our JVL. Thank you. It’s great to actually do something for Chris (and all the others) and not just feel squashed under the relentless Right Wing attack on the membership. It became clearer to me yesterday that the drive is to rid the LP of all JC supporters; stop the movement to democratize the party and restore total power to the PLP.
    And yes, I felt the blow of yesterday’s decision however predictable it may have been. There’s a certain cruelty in all this. All these dedicated LP anti racists with such long track records that should put all these accusers to shame hounded out of our Party. To leave what? I can only look forward to the deselection of MPs who have so shamefully used anti antisemitism to protect the Establishment against crucially needed socialist policies. And shame on those who call themselves ‘left’ who have either stood by silently or joined the fray. Wake up. You think you won’t be next?

  • different frank says:

    Guardian Deletes Open Letter Defending Chris Williamson
    Document signed by noteworthy Jewish artists and intellectuals removed “pending investigation”
    https://off-guardian.org/2019/07/09/guardian-deletes-open-letter-defending-chris-williamson/

  • Andrew Hornung says:

    The South East Regional Office is saying that resolutions commenting on individual cases – the Chris Williamson case is obviously what they have in mind – are not the competent business of CLPs. On the basis of this, resolutions in support of CW are likely to be ruled out of order. How should JVL supporters react to this? Is the SERO “ruling” supported by the General Secretary?

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