Peter Willsman supporters behind #ResignWatson hashtag 

Peter Willsman supporters behind #ResignWatson hashtag 

Left-wing Labour activists urging the deputy leader to quit also supported the re-election of veteran NEC member

Peter Willsman
Peter Willsman

Large numbers of Labour activists who tweeted the #ResignWatson hashtag to call for the party’s deputy leader to quit also support the re-election of Peter Willsman to the Labour National Executive Committee – despite his vile outburst against British Jews.

Research carried out for Campaign Against Antisemitism by technology journalist James O’Malley and Daniel Allington, a senior lecturer in social and cultural Artificial Intelligence at King’s College London, shows 10 percent of #ResignWatson tweets and retweets were sent from Twitter accounts featuring the #JC9 hashtag, used to endorse the re-election of Willsman and eight others to the NEC, despite his claim that “Trump supporting Jews” are behind the party’s anti-Semitism scandal .

The hashtag #ResignWatson trended on Twitter after a newspaper interview in which he said Labour faced a “vortex of eternal shame” unless it properly addressed anti-Semitism.

The researchers said: “We analysed all available tweets and retweets featuring the #ResignWatson hashtag from the beginning of the campaign through to Monday morning (6 August). While many did no more than to allege disloyalty on Mr Watson’s part, a worrying minority attacked Mr Watson simply for his support for Israel or his receipt of donations from Sir Trevor Chinn, a member of the Jewish Leadership Council.

“Some 9.8 percent of #ResignWatson posts came from accounts with names carrying the #JC9 hashtag. Some evoked multiple anti-Semitic stereotypes, e.g. by referring to ‘Israeli blood money’ or describing Israel as a ‘fascist child murdering apartheid regime’.

They added: “Much of the activity was directly linked to high-profile individuals known to have been expelled from the Labour Party. Former MP George Galloway retweeted the #ResignWatson hashtag no fewer than 27 times to his 288,000 followers. Scott Nelson – a Jeremy Corbyn supporter thrown out after posting anti-Semitic messages – created 28 tweets featuring the hashtag. These were retweeted a total of 3,975 times, accounting for about 4.7% of total hashtag activity. It is people like Mr Nelson and Mr Galloway who are allowed to shape the agenda when media organisations treat trending hashtags as news.”

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