Labour MP Chris Williamson blames Israel for interfering in UK politics

He was barred from running as a Labour candidate in next month's election after being suspended in February for alleged antisemitism.

Suspended Labour MP Chris Williamson has resigned from his position in the party (photo credit: JOHNWHITBY/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Suspended Labour MP Chris Williamson has resigned from his position in the party
Labour MP Chris Williamson, whom the party suspended in February for claiming it has been “too apologetic” about antisemitism, has resigned.
His decision on Wednesday followed a party announcement that he would be barred from running as a Labour candidate and would not be reinstated.
In his resignation letter to the Labour Party, Williamson blamed the Israeli government for interfering in UK politics, and accused the Jewish Labour Movement and other Jewish groups of being behind the “witch hunt” against him.
“Perhaps the most tragic element of this witch hunt is that unbeknownst to many loyal members, it has been led by those who shroud themselves in the banner of socialism,” he said, charging that “Labour Party officials have capitulated to the Jewish Labour Movement – formerly known as Po’ale Zion – an organization revived in 2015 at the same time as the State of Israel launched a diplomatic strategy to delegitimize Palestinian activism on the Left and normalize Zionism in our movement.
“As I made clear to the NEC [National Executive Committee] in April,” he said, “this witch hunt primarily serves the objectives of the far-right activists – including members of Britain First and the Jewish Defence League – who led the campaign for the Labour Party to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism and its examples.”
Although Williamson was readmitted back into the party in June, he was suspended again two days later after a backlash from the Jewish community and Labour MPs. He announced in August that he was suing the party over its decision to re-implement his suspension.
Williamson also wrote in his resignation letter that he was “dismayed that Labour Party officials have enabled and executed what I believe to be a witch hunt against hundreds of socialists loyal to Jeremy Corbyn and his transformative, socialist, anti-imperialist worldview. Many of the victims of this witch hunt have been Jewish socialists, whose anti-Zionism is anathema to the apartheid apologists apparently influencing Labour foreign and domestic policy.”
Williamson made it clear that he will stand as an independent candidate in the upcoming election on December 12.
Jewish groups slammed the letter highlighting its antisemitic tropes.
The Jewish Labour Movement said that it shows why Williamson “should have been kicked out of the Labour Party a long time ago, [and] not allowed to walk away. His racist resignation letter employs the antisemitic trope that the Israeli government is meddling in British politics to manufacture antisemitism through the Jewish Labour Movement. To link us – the group that lobbied for the IHRA definition of antisemitism to be adopted in full – to far-right groups is yet more conspiratorial crankery.”
Jewish Labour chairman Mike Katz said that Williamson “should have been expelled from Labour a long time ago, not allowed to walk – another failure of the Party’s broken complaints system. He’s no progressive – and his resignation letter, full of conspiratorial antisemitic lies, shows that. Good riddance.”
Well-known blogger David Collier tweeted that Williamson’s letter shows he has “learned nothing” since his suspension in February. “‘Witch hunt,’ ‘smear,’ ‘unfounded accusations,’ ‘normalize Zionism,’” he wrote. “My word Chris – all the letter shows is that you have learnt nothing and continue to blame the Jews for everything your own actions have brought down on you.”
Young Labour UK national chairwoman Miriam Mirwitch tweeted that Williamson’s resignation letter “is disgraceful. Not only is he standing against Labour, he has made antisemitic false claims against the Jewish Labour Movement. @JewishLabour is the oldest affiliated Socialist Society. It’s not influenced by any foreign government.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews lauded the decision to bar Williamson for standing as an election candidate.
“The NEC ruling to bar Chris Williamson MP from standing again in Derby North is the correct one,” said board chairwoman Marie van der Zyl. “However this is not enough. Labour’s leadership must now stop dragging their feet, and act immediately to expel from the party this disgraced politician, who has baited the Jewish community for far too long.