Last night two former Shadow Ministers – Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Diane Abbott – were caught attending a Zoom Conference in which antisemitism within the party was denied without challenge from her, Ken Livingstone was defended and former Labour Councillor Jo Bird claimed some party members had died as a result of disciplinary cases. Also in attendance was Jackie Walker, whom even Corbyn found too antisemitic to remain as a Labour member…
The chat, organised by the Labour Representation Committee was watched and photographed by journalist Lee Harpin, who claims at one stage Jo Bird alleged, “BAME disciplinary complaints were ‘deprioritised’ while antisemitism complaints were ‘prioritised’.” Another attendee visible is Tony Greenstein, who was also expelled from Labour for ‘Antisemitic bullying’ and called Israel “Hitler’s bastard offspring“. While Diane’s participation is unsurprising at this stage, is Sir Keir happy for one of his new intake to be sharing a virtual platform with such cranks, in contravention of the pledge to the Board of Deputies he signed?
UPDATE: A Labour spokesman tells The Jewish Chronicle, “This is being made clear to the Labour MPs who attended the call in the strongest possible terms and they are being reminded of their responsibilities and obligations.” That’ll tell ’em…
Fresh from banning burgers, leftie student dystopia Goldsmiths is this summer playing host to “Communist University”, a week of lectures put on by the Communist Party of Great Britain. For just £250 (or a “solidarity price” of £300), you too can be treated to a week of communist-inspired lectures from luminaries of the British left, from Tony “Zionist scum” Greenstein to Graham ‘Stop the Witchhunt’ Bash. How long until the People’s Republic of Goldsmiths just goes the whole hog and starts rounding up the bourgeoisie?
Yesterday, Guido reported on the farce of Chris Williamson’s Brighton event being cancelled three times by venue hosts once they learnt of his vile brand of politics. Eventually however, Williamson’s loony followers did find a venue to hear him speak… A car park.
Guido’s co-conspirators who went along found that it wasn’t just Williamson speaking in Regency Square, he also shared a platform with the notorious Tony Greenstein, someone Guido readers will remember for being expelled from Labour after using the term “Zio“, ranting about “Zionist scum” and saying “Gay Zionists make me want to puke“.
If Labour were hoping Williamson would use his period in the wilderness to change his ways, they’ve got a long wait yet…
Chris Williamson’s latest outburst about Labour anti-Semitism is certainly nothing new – Guido has unearthed comments made by Chris Williamson at a ‘Labour Against the Witch Hunt’ fringe event at Labour Party conference this year. Their own report of the event is titled “They can f*ck off”. Not a good start…
According to Labour Against the Witchhunt, Chris Williamson “confronted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism… declaring that he often described Israel as an apartheid state”, denounced the “terrible injustice” done to Jackie Walker and condemned the way Marc Wadsworth had been “demonised as a bigot”, before calling on Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to “wake up” and “confront the rightwing witch-hunters”. Instead of going after the anti-Semites in the Labour Party, Williamson urged the leadership to go after those who were calling it out…
Williamson said that “bullying” would only stop when people stood up to, declaring that “the monster is getting bigger. Stop feeding the beast!” To top it off, Williamson was also sharing a platform at the event with the notorious Tony Greenstein, who was suspended by Labour for “repeatedly using ‘zio’ as a term of derision, stating ‘Gay zionists make me want to puke’ and referring to others as ‘Zionist scum’”. Labour have merely issued Williamson with a “notice of investigation” after his lacklustre apology today, he hasn’t even been suspended during the investigation…
Jeremy Corbyn’s new peer Martha Osamor is embroiled in an anti-Semitism storm after it emerged she mounted an extraordinary defence of some of Labour’s worst anti-Semites. On 15 June 2016, Osamor signed a letter protesting against the suspension of several Labour members who had made virulently anti-Semitic comments. The letter – which itself should be enough to warrant suspension – defended the notorious Tony Greenstein, who was kicked out of the party after Labour’s NCC found him guilty of “repeatedly using ‘zio’ as a term of derision, stating ‘Gay zionists make me want to puke’ and referring to others as ‘Zionist scum’”. Osamor personally backed Greenstein.
The Osamor letter also defended Jackie Walker, insisting her suspension was “applied and publicised in haste, without due consideration”, and welcoming her re-admission to the party (Walker was later suspended again for claiming that Jews financed the slave trade). Osamor thinks Jackie Walker should still be in the Labour Party.
Osamor’s letter remarkably backed Ken Livingstone’s claims that Hitler was a Zionist: “It appears allegations of anti-Semitism are being used to stifle the sharing of information on some of the uncomfortable events that took place during the Shoah”. Osamor specifically called for Momentum activist Marlene Ellis to have her suspension overturned. Ellis called for Ken to be reinstated and dismissed Naz Shah’s call for Jews to be transported out of the Middle East as “not so outrageous within the historical context and involvement of Zionists with Nazis”. And the letter defended David White, the Croydon CLP secretary who was suspended for saying Ken was “largely accurate” to say Hitler was a Zionist. It appears Osamor thinks Ken and his defenders have done nothing wrong.
Osamor’s letter said the suspensions for anti-Semitism “undermine serious discussion and thinking”. What “serious discussion and thinking” about Jews does Osamor want to have? She goes on to claim “Allegations are also being made to silence criticisms of Israel, hamper the work of Momentum activists, and undermine Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn”. This is a viewpoint Corbyn has himself condemned – so why is he putting Osamor in the Lords?
Her letter then compared the anti-Semitism scandal to the McCarthy era and the Salem witch trials. It states:
“We are uncomfortable with the parallel between the suspensions and what took place during the McCarthy era in the United States… Some members of the Party appear to have exploited a somewhat hysterical atmosphere which has been allowed to develop. This is reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, rather than of calm, rational consideration… The current suspensions are perceived as a tool to intimidate activists on the Left which is inimical to the progress of the Labour Party.”
Just three weeks ago, Osamor shared another letter to the Guardian on her Facebook page which claimed Labour’s anti-semitism crisis was “weaponised” by the media to damage Corbyn and Labour ahead of the local elections. Again, this is a position Corbyn has condemned.
If a typical Labour member had said the things in Osamor’s letter, endorsing Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker, Ken Livingstone, Marlene Ellis and David White, they would be suspended. Instead Corbyn has given Osamor a peerage. Labour have been approached for comment. Will they act in light of these new revelations?
UPDATE: Martha Osamor says in a statement:
“I am and always have been implacably opposed to antisemitism and have spent my life as an anti-racist campaigner. As Jeremy has said clearly, raising concerns about antisemitism is not a smear. I welcome Jennie Formby’s recent actions as Labour’s new General Secretary to ensure there is no place for antisemitism in the Labour Party.”
Labour are declining to defend Osamor and have made her put out a statement in her own name. Oh dear…
UPDATE II: Campaign Against Antisemitism condemn Corbyn and Osamor:
“Mr Corbyn has promised action, not just words, against antisemitism in the Labour Party. Today his actions speak louder than ever. By elevating Ms Osamor to the peerage, Mr Corbyn has sent an unmistakable signal to those in the Jewish community who still harboured some hope that he might change. Mr Corbyn is telling us not only that he sees her behaviour as unproblematic, but that he sees it as being worthy of the highest honour and a lifelong seat in the House of Lords. Yet again, Mr Corbyn has sent the Jewish community a two-fingered salute, and the Labour Party has looked on inertly.”
Around 50 Labour MPs are currently making their way to Church House in support of Ruth Smeeth, who is giving evidence against Mark Wadsworth in his anti-Semitism disciplinary. pic.twitter.com/YnWolswpnX
— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) April 25, 2018
Grim scenes ahead of the Labour HQ hearing on Marc Wadsworth, the Momentum activist who abused Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth in 2016. Smeeth had to be escorted to Southside by Labour colleagues and was told to enter her own party headquarters through the back door to avoid pro-Wadsworth protesters. Chris Williamson has turned up to support Wadsworth…
Confirmed Williamson has appeared to support Wadsworth.
— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) April 25, 2018
… Alongside other Corbynistas claiming anti-Semitism is a smear:
Supporter of Marc Wadsworth says anti Semitism is being weaponised in labour to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn pic.twitter.com/bKgUc32aW3
— kateferguson (@kateferguson4) April 25, 2018
The infamous Tony Greenstein, who was expelled from Labour for using the term “Zio”, is outside Labour HQ telling journalists that Israel “should go”:
The state of Israel “should go” says blogger Tony Greenstein, expelled from Labour, who’s protesting to keep activist Marc Wadsworth in the party pic.twitter.com/jVUE1nH5KT
— Dan Bloom (@danbloom1) April 25, 2018
What is Corbyn going to do about this? Will he even say anything about Williamson?