The youth wing of the Jewish Labour Movement has applauded four London university Labour societies for saying they won’t campaign for the local party because it invited Chris Williamson MP to speak.
Left-wing students at London School of Economics (LSE), University College London (UCL), King’s College and Birkbeck all pulled rank after the Westminster Constituency Labour Party (CLP) invited the Derby North MP to an event on 27 November, in which he was due to give a presentation and answer questions.
Williamson is a key ally of Jeremy Corbyn and spent the summer touring the country campaigning for MPs critical of the Labour leader to be more easily deselected. Corbyn’s harshest critics have included Jewish MPs and MPs who support Israel.
In August the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) asked Labour to remove the whip from Williamson, after he appeared to dismiss news on the party’s antisemitism crisis as politically-motivated smears, and to defend those suspended for allegedly antisemitic comments, including former Momemtum activist Jackie Walker.
As news of his pending appearance reached universities, reaction was strong, with UCL Labour calling Williamson “an anti-Semite”.
Liron Velleman, the JLM’s Youth and Students officer, this week said it was “really important and heartening to see… Labour clubs standing alongside their Jewish comrades and taking action when others in the movement are failing to do so”.
He added: “JLM youth and students call on Cities of London and Westminster CLP to listen to young members, quickly change their tune, cancel the event and apologise for inviting Chris Williamson.”
Other student Labour societies around the country, including as far north as Edinburgh, took to social media to express support for the London societies.
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