What's wrong with Chris Williamson?
Here are just a few of the things. I'm starting with some that have nothing to do with antisemitism. And the antisemitism issues I'm including having nothing to do with Israel-Palestine, so please don't tell me that all Williamson has done is criticise Israel. Some of this was in my older posts about him (here and here). A lot of the material is via Twitter, because Williamson is a prolific tweeter, but Williamson blocked me on Twitter on Holocaust Memorial Day this year, so I also drew for the antisemitism section on Twitter threads by Marlon Solomon and Barny Skinner and Daniel Sugarman's article.
I want to start with Williamson's politics. The #IStandWithChrisWilliamson online army see him as being under attack because he represents the left of the party. How does that claim stand up?
1. The time Williamson entered into coalition government with the Tories and drove through privatisation
Chris Williamson entered politics in his thirties via local politics in Derby, eventually becoming leader of Derby council. How did that go? He formed an alliance with the Conservatives, demolished council flats to make way for a 5* hotel, and supported PFI initiatives for housing, which he later said did not deliver value for money.
2. The times Williamson didn't vote with the left
Williamson himself abstained on the 2014 immigration bill that enshrined the hostile environment and was the most recent legislation that led to Windrush. He voted for the bombing of Libya, and counter-terrorism operations in Iraq.— libcom dot org (@libcomorg) February 26, 2019
Williamson likes to describe himself as a life-long anti-racist, but he didn't vote against the racist immigration legislation that led to the Hostile Environment and Windrush. He also - with Kate Hoey, Ruth Smeeth and John Mann - rebelled against the Labour whip in several of the recent EU debates, voting against the interests of EU migrants.
3. The time Williamson promoted a Syrian war crimes denier
For me, one of the most unforgivable things Williamson has done, last summer, was promote Vanessa Beeley, a war crimes denier and fake news merchant. Here is an extract from Oz Katerji in the New Statesman on this incident:
Williamson, who was attending the Beautiful Days festival, tweeted of his “privilege” in meeting Vanessa Beeley, a blogger who described meeting the Syrian regime’s war criminal president Bashar al Assad as her “proudest moment” and has waged a relentless campaign of lies and distortion to promote the Assad regime abroad... Responding in kind to Williamson’s endorsement, Beeley said in a Facebook post “Hats off to Chris Williamson, Labour MP - a genuine human being.”...
Williamson’s tweet provoked immediate condemnation, drawing a strong response from James O’Brien, who called Williamson a “disgrace” and referred to Beeley as “Assad’s very own Alex Jones.” The Washington Post’s Middle East correspondent, Louisa Loveluck, responded to Williamson’s endorsement of Beeley’s “reporting” with: “Beeley has justified the use of incendiary weapons against civilians, recycled and championed debunked conspiracy theories, and described a meeting with Assad as her proudest moment. This is cheerleading, not reporting.”Noting that Beeley has viciously slandered the late Jo Cox (Beeley "has shamelessly accused her of being a “warmongering Blairite” and “al-Qaeda advocate” endorsing a policy of “wholesale devastation” on Syria.) Oz argues that the Labour Party has a choice between being the party of Jo Cox or the party of Chris Williamson.
At the festival, participants were asked to vote between the position put forward by Peter Tatchell, in support of democracy in Syria and in defence of Syrian civilians being bombed, or for Peter Ford and Vanessa Beeley, in support of the Syrian government. Williamson voted for Ford. In voting for the Beeley/Ford position, Williamson is not just calling attention to alleged media distortion of the conflict; he endorses the dictatorship.It is not "guilt-by-association" to say that Chris Williamson attacked Jo Cox - he VOTED for Vanessa Beeley's attack on Jo Cox. https://t.co/xhwD6GBcCD pic.twitter.com/vrg2Y6d7Al— Paul Canning (@pauloCanning) August 21, 2018
Williamson may not have known this when he tweeted about the "privilege" of meeting her, but Beeley herself has some dodgy form: saying that "Zionists rule France", describing Israel's treatment of Gaza "a Holocaust", saying Human Rights Watch is run by "a Jewish organisation called the Washington elite", and has defended well-known antisemites such as Gilad Atzmon (more on him below) and Alison Weir.
Vanessa Beeley said that Human Rights Watch was a "Jewish organization called the Washington Elite." https://t.co/2sCEjHv6ok this is who the Labour MP @DerbyChrisW praised.— joey ayoub/ابن بالدوين (@joeyayoub) August 21, 2018
4. The times Williamson promoted fake news about chemical weapons in Syria
Yesterday Labour MP Chris Williamson appeared on RT & gave credence to Russian propaganda White Helmets faked Douma footage. Russia’s “evidence” is ripped from a film called “Revolution Man” https://t.co/tsiHwzWqbR— Victoria Freeman (@make_trouble) April 18, 2018
As Katerji put it when writing about Williamson's support for Beeley, "This is not Williamson’s first dalliance with pro-Assad trutherism, having voiced doubts over allegations that Assad was responsible for the gas attack on Douma while addressing a protest outside parliament in April 2018."
More recently, Williamson has taken up a particular version of Douma trutherism: that the chemical attack was a managed massacre by rebels and the civilians White Helmet civil defence first responders, and that this is somehow proved by a dubious document (read all about it here) leaked from the OPCW chemical weapons watchdog, probably via Russia, to some pro-Assad activists in the UK called the "Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media", with which Beeley is connected.
Williamson is so obsessed with the "leaked document" that he has asked several questions in parliament about it, worded in completely dishonest ways. The theory holds that chemical weapons in Douma were not dropped from above but staged by Syrian rebels or their civilian first defenders, the White Helmets, i.e. that the rebels massacred dozens of their own family members. In my view, this conspiracy theory is borderline Islamophobic, based on the idea of Syrian rebels and civilians in rebel territories as savage, bloodthirsty jihadis.
(Incidentally, Williamson's views on Douma are shared by Nick Griffin, the Nazi former leader of the BNP. One of Griffin's many tweets on Douma was to promote the exact same "leaked OPCW report" nonsense, from syriapropagandamedia.org, the pro-Assad "Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media", the exact same source of Williamson's recent interventions.)
Leaked #OPCW report confirming that the #Douma "poison gas attack" which led to Britain & the USA bombing #Syria was yet another #WMD hoax. As the drums beat for war against #Iran , why believe ANY elite tales that 'justify' war? https://t.co/mOdwiGMYBS— Nick Griffin (@NickGriffinBU) May 19, 2019
Another thing about Williamson is his active dissemination of bizarre conspiracy theories, like the laughable one Russian & alt-right media promote about something called “Integrity Initiative” which they think’s taken over UK politics. Hence these kinds of wacky tweets: pic.twitter.com/ZcNLzBeUMq— Bob From Brockley (@bobfrombrockley) February 28, 2019
5. The times Williamson promoted an antisemitic right-wing pro-Kremlin Spanish conspiracy theorist and then bought into a Russian conspiracy theory about why people don't like the Spanish conspiracy theorist
One of the many bizarre conspiracy theories Williamson has promoted is one about a Scottish-based thinktank called the Integrity Initiative (II), which receives some UK government funding, that was involved in the campaign to stop a right-wing colonel called Pedro Baños from being appointed a national security advisor in Spain. Williamson picked up the story from Russian media outlets like Sputnik after Russia apparently hacked the thinktank; he claimed Integrity Initiative's involvement constituted "foreign interference" in Spanish politics - a meme Russia promotes because it muddies the water over their intervention in the Trump election and the Brexit referendum. The fact is, though, that Baños is a weird crank in the David Icke mold, and suspiciously obsessed with Jewish financiers like the Rothschilds and Soros, and is a strong supporter of the Kremlin - all in all, a serious liability as a national security advisor. Williamson became so obsessed with the case that he asked question after question about it in parliament, wasting parliamentary, ministerial and civil service time with his personal crusade.Chris Williamson's pinned tweet, it's from when he doorstopped the Integrity Initiative to defend Spanish colonel Pedro Baños. Baños missed out on an appointment due to claims of anti-Semitism, which Williamson blamed on a co-ordinated smear campaign by the Integrity Initiative. pic.twitter.com/CF1ATnsVt0— libcom dot org (@libcomorg) June 27, 2019
This is dangerous, because Williamson has an influence on the Labour Party, so he acts as a gateway between the Kremlin, social media wingnuts and the political mainstream, in the form of Emily Thornberry. Here's Paul Canning breaking it down:Back in December Williamson was gripped by the idea there was a government-funded conspiracy to undermine democracy via the Integrity Initiative. He asked loads of questions in Parliament about it/2 pic.twitter.com/SuH4TwrGbw— Dave Rich (@daverich1) June 12, 2019
Thornberry promoted a conspiracist campaign led in the UK by Chris Williamson MP, furthered with the help of people like the notorious Kremlinophile American writer Max Blumenthal, about an organisation called the Integrity Initiative. Thornberry's claim was that Integrity Initiative was set up to 'attack Corbyn'. It was based on three tweets by the Initiative to its 2000 followers – one of which was only retweeted because I did it.
The claims were ludicrous... Thornberry's comments in the Commons [didn't] pick up on the many criticisms of the Initiative from those actively engaged in countering Russian disinfo. Instead they played to the crowd.
The campaign against the Initiative is based on an obvious attack by Russia which aims to establish a counter, 'I'm rubber you're glue', narrative that it's actually the West that's promoting disinformation. The subject of the attack is an organisation funded by government precisely to counter Russian disinformation. Something which a Labour government would supposedly support, surely?Williamson's the parliamentary questions about II, as with Douma or others about the UK's Russian language soft diplomacy, are essentially being asked on behalf of President Putin, which is kind of scary.
Those central to the online promotion of the 'conspiracy' narrative, most of whom are also coincidentally truthers on Syria and on Salisbury, said that their real objection was that Integrity Initiative had 'contributed to narrowing the range of public discourse so as to marginalize reality-based evaluation of policy options for relations with Russia and evidence-based assessment of events in which Russian involvement is alleged.'
An unsurprising thing about @daverich1’s thread is that the defence of the right-wing racist Baños was enthusiastically taken up by the fake news rag The Canary and Stalinist Morning Star and, more depressingly, by Novara.https://t.co/bUH1p8hxOO pic.twitter.com/mHeo2JAkQV— Bob From Brockley (@bobfrombrockley) June 12, 2019
6. The time Williamson promoted conspiracy theories about the Skripal poisoning
Another conspiracy theory Williamson has shared, again picked up by alt-left media like The Canary, is that it wasn't the Russians who used chemicals against the Skripals in Salisbury. As with Douma and Baños, it's a conspiracy theory that lets Russia off the hook for its crimes, and so gets amplified by Russian media too.
THE FAR RIGHT
7. The time Williamson has enjoyed the company of Breitbart journalists
In April this year, Williamson went on Russian alt-media site 21st Century Wire with George Galloway and Lee Stranahan. Who is Stranahan? Wikipedia:Chris Williamson MP hanging out with George Galloway and Lee Stranahan (currently Sputnik, formerly Breitbart). pic.twitter.com/PQmqAFo8E5— libcom dot org (@libcomorg) April 18, 2019
Stranahan met Andrew Breitbart while working on assignment in 2010. The two men quickly became friends, and Breitbart converted Stranahan to conservatism, became his mentor, and hired him to work at Breitbart News. Stranahan has also described Steve Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, as being his mentor... During the 2016 presidential election, while working for Breitbart News, Stranahan communicated with Russian hackers via Guccifer 2.0 to leak illicitly obtained material about the Democratic Party. Stranahan claimed on Twitter in March 2017 that he had introduced Guccifer 2.0 to Roger Stone. Stranahan, managed to obtain material from Guccifer 2.0 about Black Lives Matter. Stone and Stranahan, who was then assisting him, disputed that Guccifer 2.0 was a front for Russia during the 2016 election. An article by Stone on this issue appeared on Breitbart News; Stranahan has said he was the piece's ghost writer. In July 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian agents and described Guccifer 2.0 as a Russian government front. Mueller's indictment referred to an unnamed reporter who had conferred with the Russians about the timing of a leak; Stranahan has confirmed that he was the journalist concerned8. The time Williamson promoted a bow-tied Holocaust revisionist
In his articles in the alternative media and in his parliamentary speeches, Williamson regularly cites the lawyer Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, famous for, among other things, his love of bow ties.
As Paul Canning puts it:
de Zayas is the former UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order. McInnes told the Commons that this 'UN expert' had called sanctions on Venezuela a 'war crime', a statement which drew an audible response. de Zayas and his 'war crimes' claim is a major theme of Chris Williamson's routine, whose Commons outing on Venezuela featuring de Zayas has been heavily promoted by Corbynite social media in marked contrast to Thornberry's effort in the very same Parliamentary session. Williamson appeared on TV numerous times spouting falsehoods about Venezuela....
de Zayas is a Holocaust denier and is a 'huge fan' of the German far-right party the AfD. He's reportedly worn blackface. He's currently saying that Venezuela's electricity blackouts are because of the gringos.De Zayas has been praised by the Holocaust revisionist Institute for Historical Review, and his Holocaust writings have been published by the far right Taki's Magazine. His Wikipedia page documents his far right activism:
He's also being mentioned in a Parliamentary statement by the Labour Party.
De Zayas is a registered Republican voter, although he supported Bernie Sanders in 2016.Writing in 2018, he has criticised "Antifa" activists, saying "They engage in 'hate speech' against those who cite the Bible to oppose the imposition of gender and LGBT ideologies"; and has described a "new wave of totalitarianism is sweeping through Germany with the collusion of the mainstream media" originating in the 1968 student revolts, which leads the "mainstream media" to be biased towards topics such as "multiculturalism" and against groups such as Pegida. He is close to the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Germany, for instance joining the board of trustees of their "'Desiderius Erasmus Foundation' thinktank in 2018 and speaking to their parliamentary group in 2019 on the dangers of "globalism".His page also documents his Holocaust revisionism, his work on the "genocidal" expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe which has been used to relativise the Nazi genocide - work which has been condemned by Holocaust scholars and championed by the far right.
|de Zayas with the AFD's Jürgen Braun at a lecture evening of the AFD parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, March 2019|
Which brings us to...
SUPPORTING HOLOCAUST DENIAL
9. The time Williamson signed a petition defending a Holocaust denier
In late 2018, Williamson signed a petition defending Gilad Atzmon, tweeted the petition, then deleted the tweet, and later wrote a half-arsed non-apology. (Atzmon had been banned by Islington council from playing there in the Blockheads. Not sure I approve of this ban, as when he is playing saxophone in someone else's band he hasn't got a platform for his politics. But given how toxic he is, I'm not going to complain about him being considered a pariah.)Since then I've learned that Atzmon, a former Israeli soldier, is not confined to the jazz world. I am told that in various blogs and in speeches he has adopted antisemitic language.— Chris Williamson MP #GTTO (@DerbyChrisW) December 21, 2018
I wasn't aware of this until after I tweeted the petition.
If you don't know who Atzmon is, here's over 13 years' worth of my blogposts about him. The short version is he is an Israeli-born jazz musician who long ago renounced his Jewishness, became a Holocaust revisionist and antisemite. Atzmon has promoted Holocaust denial, blamed the Grenfell fire on “Jerusalemites” who were “following mitzvot”, and suggested that Hitler’s actions against the Jews were a “direct response to the declaration of war on Germany by the worldwide Jewish leadership.” He is not only denounced by anti-fascists like Hope not Hate but also by anti-Zionists such as As’ad AbuKhalil, Michael Rosen and Tony Greenstein.
Williamson's apology reveals he is either more stupid or more dishonest than we already realised but either way confirming he doesn't care at all about racism against Jews. Because either he saw a petition complaining about someone being accused of antisemitism and just assumed the accusation was false without bothering to research it (in which case he is remarkably stupid and irresponsible, as well as automatically assumes accusations of antisemitism are always false) or he's lying.
In August 2018 Williamson had already defended Cyril Chilson, a dedicated follower of Atzmon, who Williamson said should not have been expelled from Labour.
On the left is Chris Williamson MP claiming Cyril Chilson should not have been expelled from the Labour Party for antisemitism.— Marlon Solomon (@supergutman) August 12, 2018
On the right is Cyril Chilson chatting to one of Britain's most notorious antisemites about "Jew funding" of The Tories. pic.twitter.com/BYVu3v8Iug
In October 2018, as Rosa Doherty describes, "While his colleagues were sending messages of condolences to the Jewish community, the Derby North MP shared a link from the far-left blog Skwawkbox of an article titled: “Board of Deputies president accused of using an antisemitic trope.” He wrote: “Well, well blow me down with a feather.”" (This was not the only time Williamson gratuitously attacked the Board, the representative body of British Jews. A few weeks earlier he attacked them because of the wording when they were condemning Orban's antisemitism.)
11. The bunch of times Williamson said that antisemitism is made up by Jews to damage Jeremy Corbyn.
One of the many people kicked out of the Labour Party defended by Williamson is Scott Nelson. In late 2014 and again in late 2015, Nelson tweeted: “Deaths of workers abroad caused by appalling conditions working for Jewish companies”. Defending this a couple of days later, he tweeted: “Jewish ancestors created those companies. These companies have Jewish blood. My ancestors were Irish, so I have Irish blood”. He added that: “Pointing out the Jewish ancestors of Tesco and M&S and the human rights abuses of workers abroad doesn’t make me an antisemite.” After his (actually very prompt) removal from the Labour Party, Nelson supported UKIP, but he continues to be a well-known rallying point for antisemites and cranks on the margins of the Corbyn scene. He has continued to post offensive things, e.g. calling Israel similar to the Nazis, calling the Jewish Labour Movement "toxic parasites" while defending Ken Livingstone, repeatedly blaming "the Israel Lobby" for the "witch hunts" against himself and Corbyn, calling people who make allegations of antisemitism "lower than vermin", and publishing a defence of the Holocaust denier Alison Chabloz.Continually endorses Scott Nelson: suspended for delights, including but not limited to, saying "Tesco has Jewish Blood". Williamson publically denied Nelson said such a thing and then when shown that he had, waved it away, saying Nelson had apologised, basically get over it. 4/ pic.twitter.com/HNXFcif1Iv— Marlon Solomon (@supergutman) June 1, 2018
Williamson has retweeted Nelson more than once. When picked up on this by a leftist in 2018, Williamson replied "I am sure he said no such thing. These smears are so wrong, let's please stand together to beat racism and replace of [sic] this abysmal Tory Govt with a Corbyn-led Labour Govt to build a society and an economy that works for the many not the few". So, absolute certainty that an allegation of antisemitism (easy to verify) was not true and a smear. When presented with screenshots, Williamson abruptly changed course, saying Nelson "repeatedly apologised for those comments. He is opposed to all forms of racism and bigotry and he never called for a boycott [of "Jewish companies"]. Please give him a chance." So, the smear wasn't a smear after all but the guy said sorry so it's OK. This is kind of like "He didn't kill anyone at all and to suggest it is evil but anyway he said he was sorry and only killed one person so give him a chance."
13. The times he's diminished the significance of racism against Jews
14. The times he's defended people justifiably accused of anti-Jewish racismAfter news surfaced about the goings on at Oxford University Labour Club - which included a Jewish student being summoned and told that Auschwitz was a "cash cow" - this was Williamsons response... 11/ pic.twitter.com/BOb26kgikL— Marlon Solomon (@supergutman) June 1, 2018
Later, when Pete Willsman's NEC candidacy was disowned by the left when a recording of an antisemitic rant by him in which he daubed Jews with being right-wing Trump supporters, Williamson defended Willsman.
After a recording comes out of NEC member Peter Willsman's calling antisemitism "manufactured" which refers to "Jewish Trump fanatics" - Williamson tweets his unconditional support.— Marlon Solomon (@supergutman) July 31, 2018
He is playing to a gallery of antisemites & the silence about this is deafening. pic.twitter.com/vWY3rt1jfm
Then, in cahoots with Skwawkbox, fresh from their "Jewish War Against Corbyn" tweet and months of antagonism towards the Jewish community - Williamson actually starts trying to spin for Willsman. pic.twitter.com/rY7OqJ4rmm— Marlon Solomon (@supergutman) July 31, 2018
In perhaps his worst piece of "Jew-baiting" the next day, Williamson doubles down, putting Willsman's name at the top.— Marlon Solomon (@supergutman) July 31, 2018
This is so egregious it's almost applaudable. pic.twitter.com/O4rxSAs8hj
In response to Peter Willsman's comments about Jews, for which Momentum dropped him from the slate; Williamson "liked" this tweet from a well known Twitter account who regularly spreads antisemitic conspiracy theories. pic.twitter.com/KDzXVZ9KC3— Marlon Solomon (@supergutman) November 14, 2018
Willsman is not the only person with an antisemitism allegation who Williamson has stood by. Maybe some of these by themselves could be defended, but standing by all of them constitutes a pattern. Here he is standby Miko "people should be free to debate the Holocaust, yes or no" Peled:A sample of the tweets Williamson like on his TL after he told Labour members to vote for Peter Willsman in response to his rant about Jewish Trump fanatics manufacturing antisemitism. pic.twitter.com/ZlqPl0LDOF— Marlon Solomon (@supergutman) November 14, 2018
With Miko Peled at #Lab18 - Peled made the papers at last year's Labour conference for comments which included his call for the no-platforming of Zionists (most Jews) in same manner as "Neo-Nazis" - he also has made other well publicised dodgy anti-Jewish statements. pic.twitter.com/NZEmdgZDqz— Marlon Solomon (@supergutman) September 29, 2018
15. The times he retweeted antisemites
Anti-Nazis United has documented the many, many borderline (and worse) antisemitic accounts Williamson has promoted. "They vary between simple misanthropes, conspiracy theorists to the odd antisemite or 3+. Some are very happy in the company of neo-Nazis or promoting material from Holocaust denying propagandists. The common theme is that all express contempt for Jews in one way shape or form."
One of the worst was Sonia Mata, a Holocaust denier who says the Talmud promotes paedophilia.
Pleased to speak alongside Nicaraguan Ambassador Guissell Morales-Echaverry, Marcos Garcia from @VenezEmbassyUK & @sianlou82 today to express my support for self determination in Latin America and opposition to Trump's attacks. Great to see @Marcwads & @ken4london in attendance pic.twitter.com/gHd48hB2hb— Chris Williamson MP #GTTO (@DerbyChrisW) June 9, 2018
This was in June, right in the middle of some of the worst violence in Nicaragua and just before Chris Williamson stood beside Vanessa Beeley. https://t.co/wxaiyzmNpo— Paul Canning (@pauloCanning) December 21, 2018
16. The times Williamson told lies to defend authoritarian governments in Latin America
Williamson is regularly on British and Russian media outlets defending governments like Maduro's in Latin America. One of the most jaw-dropping of such moments was in January this year, when Venezuelan starvation was so intense that thousands were fleeing the country daily, and Williamson said to the BBC that they were not "genuinely" starving.
Another lie Williamson told the BBC was that the poor voted for Maduro in big numbers in the last election.Williamson: 'What are they going to say when hundreds of thousands of people are genuinely starving.'— Paul Canning (@pauloCanning) January 29, 2019
The other guests: 'What!'
Williamson: 'That situation will get far worse if there's a civil war.' pic.twitter.com/oHIQYRzKi1
Another was that Maduro is housing the poor.The real absolute BS doozy from Williamson is him claiming 'poor people turned out in huge numbers for Maduro is the elections last year'. The government's own electoral authority said turnout HALVED, experts believe it was actually half that again. pic.twitter.com/gME06We6HQ— Paul Canning (@pauloCanning) January 29, 2019
And a final lie Williamson told on TV is that "none other than Jimmy Carter" endorsed Maduro's election.I see that Chris Williamson is promoting a venanalysis piece claiming that Venezuela is housing millions. When Maduro made the same claim 9 days ago I had some comments 👇 ht @Daniel_Sugarman https://t.co/0VyJkxsYkE— Paul Canning (@pauloCanning) January 14, 2019
FAKE NEWSAs Chris Williamson has claimed on TV that "none other than" Jimmy Carter has endorsed Venezuela's elections, have a look at what the Carter Foundation said about the 2017 election: https://t.co/B8SUuknOak— Bob From Brockley (@bobfrombrockley) January 29, 2019
17. The bunch of times Williamson has promoted fake news websites
As one blogger puts it, "Williamson promoted pro-Corbyn media outlet Skwawkbox, who wrote about the ‘Jewish war on Corbyn’. IPSO, the press watchdog ruled they are officially a fake news outlet. As well as writing about antisemitic conspiracies, Skwawkbox were also accused of bullying MPs who attended the ‘enough is enough’ rally against antisemitism . Williamson calls Skwawkbox ‘superb’." He is also of course a regular with The Canary, which is at least as bad.
18. The time Williamson shared a fake Nelson Mandela quote
I said I wouldn't include things related to Israel-Palestine, but I thought this was both minor and telling. In 2017, a week after he called allegations of antisemitism in the party "proxy wars and bullshit", Williamson tweeted a fake Mandela quote, and then later deleted it. The quote itself - comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa - is not actually antisemitic. But why it's telling is that it shows the milieu where Williamson moves, a world where fake news and fake memes circulate. Williamson, who has flip-flopped from Blairism to Corbynism and embraces all sorts of cranky positions, lacks the political education or critical imagination to distinguish truth from fact or to recognise antisemitism.
As I've strayed on to Israel/Palestine, it's worth saying that, while Williamson's defenders say he is being attacked because he supports Palestine, Williamson is not recognised as a pro-Palestinian activist by most people who really are active in Palestine solidarity work.
(As @willuminare points out, Chris Williamson has never said the words “Palestine” or “Palestinian” in a parliamentary debate, and the word “Palestinians” just once.) pic.twitter.com/jdWm19Ne0i— Bob From Brockley (@bobfrombrockley) February 28, 2019
I'll leave you with Williamson's endorsement by Nick Griffin, Nazi former leader of the British National Party. Obviously, you can't blame Williamson for this, but you have to ask why Williamson has become a poster boy for fascism. A Labour Party with Williamson in it, which Nick Griffin calls "a clean, radical party", is a party unbearable for Jews and anti-racists to be near. If you think Williamson should be in the Labour Party, that's what you are supporting.