Mike Katz, national chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, on how welcoming back Chris Williamson shows how tragically little the party cares about fighting Jew hate.
In today’s Labour Party, what counts is who you know, not who you hate.
That’s the only lesson that can be drawn from the decision by the Labour Party to lift its suspension of Chris Williamson MP and readmit him to the party.
Let’s not forget why Williamson was suspended in the first place. This was the man who was happy to support and share platforms with people like Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth whom the Party – despite its woeful current state – had kicked out for anti-Jewish racism.
This was the man who, when most other MPs were saying that the Party was facing a real a present crisis of antisemitism that needed swift and concerted action, told a meeting that the Party had been “too apologetic” over the issue.
This is a serial offender who shows no remorse or contrition whatsoever for his Jew-baiting. His readmission shows the Party leadership couldn’t care less for the Jewish community or its Jewish members.
Why was he let back in?
Because the Labour Party disciplinary process has become so rotten, so debased, that the chief determinant of whether you are let off is whether you are seen as politically sound; a fellow-traveller; a good comrade.
Williamson is a major outrider for Jeremy Corbyn and the leadership; saying things that he wants said but doesn’t want to say. Speaking the truth, as they would see it, on the antisemitism ‘witch-hunt’.
And – as noted in yesterday’s reports – Labour has just told sitting MPs it will start its reselection process, presumably because there could be a snap election in the Autumn. Williamson’s Derby North constituency is highly marginal, so the direction from on high was that it was time to get him back in the fold and campaigning.
Apparently a party that calls itself anti-racist, that’s led by someone who calls himself a lifelong anti-racist, thinks it’s fine to ignore anti-Jewish racism if there’s an election to be won.
How sad that it sells such noble principles and traditions so cheaply and so easily.