The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) has lambasted Chris Williamson’s “racist” resignation letter for employing “the antisemitic trope that the Israeli government is meddling in British politics.”
Williamson handed in his resignation letter from Labour on Wednesday evening after being a member for nearly 44 years and announced his decision to stand as an independent in Derby North.
The decision came hours after Labour’s ruling body opted not to endorse Williamson as a candidate in next month’s general election after his suspension from the party over the antisemitism row.
Williamson was first suspended in February after footage emerged of him telling activists Labour had been “too apologetic” in its response to criticism of its handling of antisemitism.
In his letter, Williamson accused Labour officials of enabling and executing a “witch hunt against hundreds of socialists loyal to Jeremy Corbyn and his transformative, socialist, anti-imperialist worldview.”
“Many of the victims of this witch hunt have been Jewish socialists, whose anti-Zionism is anathema to the apartheid apologists apparently influencing Labour foreign and domestic policy,” he wrote.
The Derby North politician went on to accuse party officials of “capitulating” to JLM, one of the party’s oldest affiliate groups.
He claimed the group was “revived in 2015 at the same time as the State of Israel launched a diplomatic strategy to delegitimise Palestinian activism on the left and normalise Zionism in our movement.”
He argued that the “witch hunt” serves “far-right activists – including members of Britain First and the Jewish Defence League.”
The resignation letter sparked criticism, with JLM saying Williamson had “shown why he should have been kicked out of the Labour Party a long tome ago [sic], not allowed to walk away.”
The group added that the “racist resignation letter employs the antisemitic trope that the Israeli government is meddling in British politics to manufacture antisemitism through the Jewish Labour Movement.”
“To link us, the group that lobbied for the IHRA definition of antisemitism to be adopted in full, to far-right groups is yet more conspiratorial crankery,” JLM added.