The storm engulfing the British Labour Party intensified after new remarks emerged from Chris Williamson – the MP suspended from the party last week for saying Labour had been “too apologetic” on anti-Semitism — claiming that “dark forces” are using their “power” and “contacts in the media” to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
His remarks were widely condemned for evoking anti-Semitic tropes of powerful Jews controlling the political and media landscape.
The remarks were recorded as Williamson spoke at an event last year in support of controversial Labour activist Marc Wadsworth, who was expelled from the party for reducing Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth to tears at the launch of Labour’s much-criticized Chakrabarti Inquiry on anti-Semitism, The Daily Mail reported.
The MP for Derby said: “Some people might find it difficult showing solidarity with Marc, for fear of being implicated, criticised and demonised.
“Well, I don’t give a s***. Certain dark forces are using their power, using their contacts in the media, in order to take out key allies like Marc and others from the struggle.” Williamson also suggested that the anti-Semitism dispute had been “weaponised” by enemies of the Labour leader.
In an audio tape leaked to The Jewish Chronicle, Labour councillor Jo Bird drew laughs and applause from the audience at the same event with a series of shocking remarks. Bird suggested that the term “due process” should be dubbed “Jew process” and also swapped Labour’s slogan, “For the many not the few” to “For the many as well as bad for the Jews.”
The councillor ended her speech by altering the words of the famous post-Holocaust poem “First They Came For..” by the German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller. Bird replaced the line “First they came for the Jews” with a mocked version of the original, saying, “Then they came for the anti-Zionists.
“They came for the socialists, but they couldn’t get us because we were having a party, the Labour Party,” she said to loud applause from the audience.
In related news, senior Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge has accused members of Corbyn’s inner circle of interfering in the outcome of disciplinary cases to reduce sanctions imposed on individuals accused of anti-Semitic behavior. Those individuals are often linked to the Labour leader, including Williamson and Wadsworth.
“Last week Corbyn reassured me categorically that his office never intervened in antisemitism complaints. @ObserverUK whistleblower account clearly shows Corbyn’s office have intervened. Either Corbyn has intentionally misled me or his staff have misled him,” the MP said on her Twitter account.
[Photo: Chris McAndrew / WikiCommons ]