The letter that follows was published very briefly on the Guardian‘s website, and then removed.
It was written by left-wing Jews who support the case that Chris Williamson, himself a long-term supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, is not the anti-Semite that his enemies have claimed he is.
Its removal is a statement of opposition to both Mr Williamson and Mr Corbyn.
Apparently the person who had organised the letter had sent the wrong list of signatories. This allowed the right-wing, unelected Board of Deputies of British Jews to demand that it be censored.
One wonders what these people are afraid of.
Here’s the letter in full – fortunately Pride’s Purge was able to save a copy and publish it, so we can all see what these good people had to say. I’ll omit the list of signatories, apart from those who drafted the letter.
Jewish Statement: Reinstate Chris Williamson
We the undersigned, all Jews, are writing in support of Chris Williamson and to register our dismay at the recent letter organised by Tom Watson, and signed by parliamentary Labour party and House of Lords members, calling for his suspension.
Chris Williamson did not say that the party had been “too apologetic about antisemitism”, as has been widely misreported. He correctly stated that the Labour party has done more than any other party to combat the scourge of antisemitism and that, therefore, its stance should be less apologetic. Such attacks on Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters aim to undermine not only the Labour party’s leadership but also all pro-Palestinian members.
The mass media have ignored the huge support for Chris both within and beyond the Labour party. Support that includes many Jews. The party needs people like him, with the energy and determination to fight for social justice. As anti-racist Jews, we regard Chris as our ally: he stands as we do with the oppressed rather than the oppressor. It should also be noted that he has a longer record of campaigning against racism and fascism than most of his detractors.
The Chakrabarti report recommended that the party’s disciplinary procedures respect due process, favour education over expulsion and promote a culture of free speech, yet this has been abandoned in practice. We ask the Labour party to reinstate Chris Williamson and cease persecuting such members on false allegations of antisemitism.
Noam Chomsky MIT, Norman Finkelstein Lecturer and writer, Ed Asner Actor, Prof Richard Falk Princeton University, Leah Lavene, Jenny Manson Jewish Voice for Labour and more than 100 others.
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