Demonstrators take part in an antisemitism protest outside the Labour Party headquarters in central London, Britain April 8, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/SIMON DAWSON)
The UK Labour Party has suspended MP Chris Williamson after the emergence of a speech he gave last year in which he described people who had supported a Jewish MP after antisemitic comments were made against her by another MP as “white privileged.”
Those comments, published by the Jewish Chronicle, were made last September, but Williamson said this Tuesday night that the Labour Party, which has been mired in numerous incidents of antisemitism in recent years, has been “too apologetic” over the issue.
Not satisfied with this, Williamson also booked a room in the British parliament to screen a documentary next week called Witch Hunt produced by Labour member and prominent activist Jackie Walker about her suspension from the Labour Party for stating that Jews were behind the transatlantic slave trade.
In the speech obtained by the Jewish Chronicle, Williamson is heard stating that the Labour Party’s response to claims of antisemitism “has been really, really, really poor – we’ve tried to reason with people who are completely unreasonable,” and said that “people have weaponized” the allegations.
Williamson said that he had “never witnessed antisemitism” in his 42 years as a Labour Party member despite the dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of antisemitic comments and opinions from Labour Party members in recent months and years, although he said he had witnessed other forms of racism.
Speaking about the hearing for Labour Party member Marc Wadsworth, Williamson said of those supporting Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth “We had 40-50 white privileged parliamentarians marching down to try and influence a disciplinary hearing into a black guy.”
The UK Board of Deputies, a communal umbrella organization, said that Labour had taken “the right decision, if long overdue,” and thanked Deputy Labour leader MP Tom Watson and other Labour MPs “who had to push the party leadership to take this matter seriously.”
A Labour Party spokesperson said that “Chris Williamson is suspended from the Party, and therefore the whip, pending investigation.”
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