Chris Williamson has provoked fresh outrage by booking a room in Parliament on behalf of Jewish Voice for Labour for a screening of suspended Jackie Walker’s new film.
Jewish News can reveal the film will be shown in a committee room of the House of Commons next Monday, just days before Labour’s official Jewish affiliate Jewish Labour Movement is due to consider its future in the party.
Some members are pushing for disaffiliation after 98 years over what many see as the leadership’s failure to adequately tackle antisemitism.
JLM last summer called for the whip to be withdrawn from Williamson for a pattern of behaviour that has included repeatedly sharing platforms with suspended and expelled activists and retweeting from accounts with hardcore antisemitism.
He was also one of the few high-profile figures to continue to publicly support Pete Willsman’s efforts to be re-elected on to the NEC after the latter’s Jewish Trump fanatics rant was revealed.
Ruth Smeeth, who raised the issue of the room booking at last night’s parliamentary Labour Party meeting, told Jewish News: “It’s outrageous that a member of Parliament is giving a platform to an organisation that seems more intent on characterising the antisemitism crisis within the party as smears rather than being part of solution.
“Giving these people and Jackie walker a platform at the home of British democracy is a complete and utter disgrace. I’ll be complaining to the Leader of the Labour Party and the house authorities.”
Walker – who was suspended from Labour after saying that “many Jews were chief financiers of the slave trade” and then again over remarks during an antisemitism training event at party conference more than two years ago – is currently awaiting a disciplinary hearing.
In the film, she suggests she is a victim of a politically-motivated witchhunt as part of an effort to attack the Labour leader. It also features condemnation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, which Labour adoptee with all its accompanying potential examples following a row last summer.
Among those to appear in the film are several figures from JVL, which has played down the extent of antisemitism in Labour and staged a counter demo to the Enough is Enough rally.
In a letter to party officials last year calling for the whip to be withdrawn in August, JLM chair Ivor Caplin reflected on a 2017 meeting with Williamson. “He was presented with examples, fully explained the pervasive and widespread antisemitism that stains our party and appeared to show contrition for his remarks. His actions since then prove this to not be the case.
“JLM believe that he has already been warned regarding his behaviour, which, to date, includes repeatedly sharing platforms with expelled and suspended members of the Labour Party, claimed those speaking out against antisemitism within our Party were Tories in disguise, and regularly denying that antisemitism exists within Labour.”
Euan Philipps, spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism said: ‘These actions show how the Labour Party is now bringing antisemitism into the heart of British democracy.
“There should be no place for someone with Jackie Walkers views in our Parliament, and it is extremely concerning that Labour is facilitating the broadcast of her hate-filled rhetoric via the showing of her offensive film.
“We seem to be witnessing further evidence of a party that has completely lost its moral compass, and where once again antisemites are being celebrated while those campaigning against antisemitism are being abused and ignored.”