Suspended Labour MP Chris Williamson has criticised the IHRA definition of antisemitism, claiming “there is a tradition within the Jewish community to challenge and argue about everything.”
Footage emerged today of the Derby North MP making the claim in a speech opposing the IHRA definition, prompting applause from members of the audience.
The two-minute clip, reportedly filmed in Worksop last year during Williamson’s democracy roadshow tour, was unearthed by investigative reporter Iggy Ostanin and shared on social media.
“The Jewish community isn’t a homogeneous group at all, and indeed the tradition within the Jewish community is to challenge and argue about everything,” he said.
Exclusive: Chris Williamson said the IHRA definition of antisemitism is not “holy writ” because there’s a “tradition within the Jewish community to challenge and argue about everything”. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/wndebuB25C
— Iggy Ostanin (@magnitsky) July 4, 2019
“Richard Cooper, I think it was, from the Jewish Voice for Labour was being interviewed on going underground on [Russia Today] and he said ‘that is our tradition. Since when has the IHRA become holy writ. It’s just nonsense’.
“There are many people in the Jewish community, Orthodox Jews, secular Jews, who are absolutely opposed to the direction of travel, the way in which antisemitism is being used in that sense. Many Orthodox Jews are actually opposed to Zionism as well,” he said.
Williamson was suspended again by Labour last week for remarks about the party’s handling of antisemitism claims two days after being readmitted.