BY RUTH LEVINE
It might be amusing for the tiny fraction of Communists and antisemites in the UK that the MP Chris Williamson has been allowed back into Labour after an investigation into comments he made about the party’s handling of anti-Antisemitism allegations. It is not amusing for the majority of Jews like me, who have one eye on the exit door to the UK if by some terrible quirk of fate the Corbynites seize Downing Street.
Seeing Lisa Forbes win the Peterborough by election scares me. Seeing Brighton Kemptown Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle hosting the Houthi, Ahmed Alshami, at a recent Stop the War Coalition meeting scares me – the Houthis’ slogan reads: “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam.” But seeing the likes of Williamson being allowed back into the Labour Party really scares me.
It is not the memes floating around the Web about Williamson looking like Voldemort which have me worried. Nor the memes of him dressed as a camp guard at Nazi concentration camps. It’s the genuine hatred I see in Williamson that scares the hell out of me and, alongside Labour’s other antisemites, I am sure you can understand why my daughter (who works for the BBC) and I are looking, along with many Jews we know, to escape to America or somewhere else if Labour get in – we have looked at Iceland and we considered Israel and we decided we were probably more suited to Iceland than Israel funnily enough, mostly because of reasons associated with climate.
It’s Williamson’s record that scares me and so many other Jewish Brits:
When Labour became embroiled in a toxic series of rows over antisemitism during 2018, Williamson repeatedly shared platforms and spoke in defence of members expelled or under investigation over accusations of anti-Jewish hatred. Williamson tweeted in defence of Ken Livingstone after he was forced to resign for repeatedly saying Zionists had collaborated with Hitler, describing the former London mayor as a “towering figure” who fought “all forms of racism”. Williamson has campaigned for the reinstatement of Marc Wadsworth, who was expelled for abusing Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth at a public event, saying that decision “offends natural justice”. Last summer, Williamson continued to support Pete Willsman in his attempt to get elected onto Labour’s national executive committee, even though he was dropped from Momentum’s slate after he had been recorded saying that Jewish “Trump fanatics” were making false claims of antisemitism in the party. Willsman was elected anyway. Then the incident that prompted Williamson’s suspension – his claim at a meeting of Sheffield Momentum that Labour had been “too apologetic” about antisemitism – he appears to have been loudly applauded by those present.
Chris Williamson is a fanatic, as he has proven with his animal rights balaclava antics. It’s one thing being antisemitic but when you mix that antisemitism with the mad eyes of fanaticism then that is the cocktail that enabled fascism. And I do not believe I am imagining seeing what my grandparents who died at Belsen saw in the eyes of their murderers. I see the same mad eyes and dismissive psychopathy in Chris Williamson.
Maybe I am wrong? Maybe the voters of Derby North, which remains a highly marginal seat, know a different Chris Williamson? I fear not. I fear, as a British Jewish old lady in 2019, despite generations of British pupils taught History in our schools, that Williamson is one of several Labour cadres who would allow horror to enter their desired revolution.
I cry. I cry a lot about my daughter and my grandchildren, as to whether they have a future here in Britain. I cannot see Corbyn as Prime Minister but eventually, even after a Boris boom, there must surely be a Labour Prime Minister waiting around the corner? Who will they be? What will they do with the Russell-Moyles and the Williamsons? Labour already seems lost and I hold nothing but disdain for Jon Lansman who pulls so many strings behind the scenes – he puts aside his Jewishness, as he’ll put aside anything, just to see his Labour get power.
I am no Jewish activist. I’m a Brit with a great love of this country. I abhor what has happened to the Labour Party as much as I detest the antisemitism I see amidst the far right (a tiny rump of Brits who fortunately have no political party sitting on the green seats of Westminster). I am writing this article because it’s no use being passive. I abhor hatred of any kind towards any groups in society. We have to stand up to these people. The German people did not realise what was happening, and then it was too late.