MP RESIGNS FROM LABOUR CITING JEW-HATE
Labour MP Chris Williamson has been branded a “Jew baiter” after signing a petition last week defending notorious antisemite Gilad Atzmon.
Islington Council banned the jazz musician from performing at one of its venues after a complaint from a member of the Jewish community.
Mr Williamson, the MP for Derby North and an outspoken ally of Jeremy Corbyn, signed the Change.org petition, tweeting a link with the caption “Hands Off Gilad Atzmon — Sign the Petition!”
He later deleted the tweet and posted an apology, saying, “I strongly disassociate myself from Atzmon’s antisemitic views.”
Anti-racist advocacy group Hope Not Hate has said Mr Atzmon is “an antisemite who has promoted the works of Holocaust deniers”, while the Community Security Trust described Mr Atzmon’s book, the Wandering Who?, as “quite probably the most antisemitic book published in this country in recent years”.
Despite Mr Williamson’s apology, the Jewish Labour Movement reiterated its call for him to be suspended from the party.
JLM chair Ivor Caplin said: “Supporting Atzmon is baiting Jews. And Chris Williamson has been baiting Jews in the party for too long unchecked.”
A Labour Party spokesperson said: “Chris Williamson has said he was not aware of Atzmon’s appalling views and rightly apologised for his tweet.”
In the wake of Mr Williamson’s endorsement of Mr Atzmon, thirty two university Labour clubs signed an open letter urging the party to “withdraw the whip… until he listens to the concerns of the Jewish community and properly educates himself about antisemitism”.
It read: “Today Chris Williamson’s actions have again shown a complete lack of respect for the Jewish community. He repeatedly platforms and supports antisemites and takes no responsibility for his actions.
“It’s disappointing that the Labour Party have not yet taken appropriate action.”