A former Labour MP has rejected the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in a ‘Labour Against the Witch-Hunt’ video conference.
Chris Williamson, the former MP for Derby North, spoke on a call by a group calling itself ‘Labour Against the Witch Hunt’, which claims to represent those who have been expelled from the Labour Party for anti-Semitism.
Apart from rejecting the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism, Mr Williamson also claimed that the “Zionist lobby” had “captured” the House of Commons. He attacked fellow left-wing figures and organisations, calling them “useful idiots”, and also defended the former Vice-Chair of Momentum, Jackie Walker, who was kicked out of the party for anti-Semitism.
The footage was released by online news outlet Wolves of Westminster earlier today, including many other segments from the call.
Mr Williamson stated on the Zoom conference that “things really stated to go wrong” for the socialist agenda when Labour’s National Executive Committee, the group that oversees Labour Party policy, adopted the IHRA’s working definition of anti-Semitism. He said that this move was “the first domino”, and that “we’ve seen the consequences of that, of course”.
“We’ve seen the witch-hunt being stepped up inside the Labour Party.”
He then expressed his support for UCL withdrawing their support for the IHRA definition.
Later in the conference, another guest, Tony Greenstein, put forward a motion to reject the IHRA definition and the ECHR report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. The findings of the ECHR eventually led to the removal of Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party, although he was later reinstated but without the parliamentary party whip. Mr Greenstein was removed from the Labour Party on the grounds of anti-Semitism in 2018.
Mr Greenstein said: “What we should do is reject the idea that the EHRC had any right to conduct an investigation into the Labour Party in the first place. The EHRC is not an anti-racist, or an anti-sexist, or any other body.
“It’s a state body – its members, its Commissioners are nominated and put there by the Conservatives. And they’re now putting people in as Commissioners who support the Hostile Environment Policy. They’re not even anti-racist.”
He added that Alasdair Henderson, the EHRC Commissioner who oversaw the ECHR report, had ‘liked’ tweets from “people like Roger Scruton, for example – an out-and-out fascist – who edited the Salisbury Review”, and said that the report was “not worth the paper it’s written on”.
Mr Williamson went on to attack Labour activist Owen Jones, The Guardian and the “optics left”, calling them “useful idiots” who help to “facilitate the enemies of a socialist agenda at home” by “falling over themselves to throw people like me, and Jackie, and others, under the bus”.
In another part of the call, Mr Williamson is seen saying that: “The problem that we have is that the political class has been captured in this country, on both sides of the chamber in the House of Commons.
“All political parties have been captured by the Zionist Lobby, and by corporate capitalism, I regret to say. And that includes, obviously, the Labour Party.” This claim has been linked to anti-Semitic tropes.