Socialist Campaign Group MPs – including Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Dan Carden – have spoken at a rally in Liverpool at which an elected local councillor was filmed joining in with a chant from the crowd of “From the river to sea – Palestine will be free.”
Sam Gorst, Labour councillor for Liverpool’s Cressington ward, was spotted joining in the chant – which has long been associated with Islamist terror group Hamas and the call for Israel’s elimination – as he joined an anti-arms industry demo on Saturday.
Gorst, previously investigated by Labour over antisemitism claims, was seen holding a banner and joining in with the chant as protesters marched towards the designated assembly for the speeches, many of who carried Palestinan flags.
Dame Louise Ellman, the former MP for Liverpool Riverside, reacted furiously to Gorst’s involvement in the inflammatory chant.
“I was appalled to see a Labour councillor singing Hamas chants about annihilating Israel,” Ellman told Jewish News.
“This brings the Labour Party into disrepute.”
The demo was held to protest against the staging of an arms fair in Liverpool in October, which is set include arms manufactuers from across the globe.
But the main focus point for many on the demo was the alleged presence at the forthcoming fair of the Israeli-based defence electronics company Elbit.
Other Labour MPs to express support for the protest included Luciana Berger’s replacement in Wavertree – Paula Barker, and Louise Ellman’s successor Kim Johnson.
One of the main orgainsers of the event was Audrey White, an activist facing an investigation into antisemitism claims, who was filmed leading chants of “Starmer out!” ahead of the speech given by former Labour leader Corbyn.
At one stage White told the crowd of around 750 people that “socialists in or party, like me, like Chris Williamson” were being “witchhunted” as a result of the Labour leadership’s decision to threaten those associated with groups now banned by the party with auto-exclusion.
Corbyn used his speech to attack the West’s policy over the War on Terror, while McDonnell called for Starmer to restore the whip to the former leader when he spoke.
The former shadow chancellor also included a reference to the New Testament in his speech. He recalled how according to Christian bible Jesus had driven the money lenders out of the temple. McDonnell suggested Liverpool follow suit and drive the arms fair out of its city.
Liverpool Riverside MP Johnson later defended her decison to support the demo with the Wavertree MP. She tweeted:”Who organised it is irrelevant. I marched as the MP for Liverpool Riverside, home to many displaced refugees from Syria, Yemen, Libya and now Afghanistan, victims of war and who doesn’t want an Arms Fair in our proud City of Sanctuary. Like everyone there.”
Jewish News has contacted Labour and Councillor Gorst for comment over his involvement in the “From the river …” chant.
Thanks to all comrades showing solidarity to me after some horrible and personal attacks on social media and in the press over the last 24 hours.
My record stands for itself. Bullies will always be bullies. These people usually end up…
— Cllr Sam Gorst ????⚖ (@CllrSamGorst) September 12, 2021
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