Corbyn ally resigns, cites 'witch hunt'

Labour lawmaker who was suspended and then readmitted will run as independent in December 12 election.

Elad Benari,

Chris Williamson with Jeremy Corbyn
Chris Williamson with Jeremy Corbyn
Reuters

A key ally of British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn who has downplayed the party’s anti-Semitism problem has resigned, JTA reported on Thursday.

Labour lawmaker Chris Williamson quit on Wednesday following the party’s decision not to have him run as a candidate in the December 12 general election. He plans to run as an independent instead.

Williamson was infamously suspended from Labour in February after he claimed the party had been "too apologetic" over a tide of anti-Semitism allegations against it.

The suspension came after video footage emerged of Williamson telling a meeting of the left-wing Momentum activist group, "We have backed off far too much, we have given too much ground, we have been too apologetic."

Williamson was readmitted to Labour in June only to be suspended again two days later following backlash over his readmission.

In his resignation letter, Williamson made a series of innuendos suggesting that scrutiny of Labour’s anti-Semitism problem is traceable to Zionist Jews or Israel, or both, according to JTA.

He wrote that the Jewish Labour Movement, one of the party’s oldest chapters, was “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.”

He added that he is a victim of a “witch hunt” that serves “far-right activists,” including the Jewish Defense League.

One of the officials who criticized the decision to readmit Williamson back in June was deputy Labour leader Tom Watson, who himself stepped down on Wednesday.

Dozens of Labour members have been suspended over their anti-Semitic statements in recent years.

Corbyn himself has been accused of holding anti-Semitic views by senior UK Jewish leaders and has also been criticized for calling Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends" as well as for outright refusing to condemn those two terrorist organizations.

Much of the criticism against Corbyn is over his playing down the anti-Semitism in his party and alienating Jews, though Corbyn insists he is not an anti-Semite.




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