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Suspending Chris Williamson - The Fury And The Fakery

On June 26, the Labour Party lifted the suspension of pro-Corbyn MP Chris Williamson, triggering a maximum effort propaganda blitz designed to reverse the decision.

Williamson had been suspended on February 27, after footage emerged of him responding to claims of institutionalised anti-semitism in the Labour Party. This is what Williamson said:

'The party that's done more to stand up to racism is now being demonised as a racist, bigoted party. I've got to say I think our party's response has been partly responsible for that because in my opinion... we've backed off far too much, we've given too much ground, we've been too apologetic.'

He added:

'We've done more to actually address the scourge of anti-semitism than any other political party, any other political party. And yet we are being traduced.'

Anyone watching the film can see that Williamson was passionate about combating the 'scourge of anti-semitism', was emphasising his pride in the Labour Party's historical commitment to that cause and was frustrated by the failure of the Labour leadership to adequately defend that commitment. The blogger Jewish Dissident captured the reality exactly:

'Whether one agrees with Chris or not, it's hard to think of a single comparable instance where an innocuous comment of this sort has led to such a risible media circus, or to such a sustained campaign of personal and political vilification.

'The treatment of good old Boris, our next Prime Minister, makes for an interesting contrast. The man who is apparently destined to lead our country has a clear track record of actual, as opposed to bogus, racism and bigotry. He's the man who has talked about "watermelon smiles" and "piccaninnies", described women as "hot totty", professed his inability to distinguish between burka-clad women and letter boxes, and derided gay men as "bumboys".'

Jewish Dissident noted further:

'Every single one of Johnson's vile, bigoted comments has been allowed to pass by the media and the Westminster establishment. Because, after all, it's just "good old Boris" talking.'

And this really is the point - occasional comments and opinion pieces may express revulsion, but propaganda blitzes are not launched at Johnson, with half of his own party and all the opposition party, and all corporate media, shrieking for his head.

Johnson commented on Williamson that it was 'shameful that Labour have reinstated this key Corbyn ally back into their party after his appalling remarks. We must never allow these apologists for anti-Semitism anywhere near government'.

This warning appeared in an ITV website article that also contained damning criticism from Labour MP Margaret Hodge, Labour MP Stella Creasy, Amanda Bowman, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Gideon Falter, chief executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, and anti-racism campaign group Hope Not Hate, with three pictured tweets highlighting and repeating their accusations. These six sources were not balanced by a single comment of any kind defending Williamson. This unarguably constitutes a form of extreme propaganda, rather than balanced journalism.

ITV could have turned for a comment to Jewish Voice for Labour, which said it welcomed the lifting of Williamson's suspension, and criticised the media focus on the MP's opponents:

'There is huge support for Chris within and outside the party and this had not been reflected in the media coverage.'

As we have previously noted, a key feature of a propaganda blitz is that accusations are accompanied by expressions of incandescent moral outrage:

'The rationale is clear enough: insanity aside, in ordinary life outrage of this kind is usually a sign that someone has good reason to be angry. People generally do not get very angry in the presence of significant doubt. So, the message to the public is that there is no doubt.' (David Edwards and David Cromwell, 'Propaganda Blitz', Pluto Press, 2018, p.6)

Thus, Labour MP Margaret Hodge, a key Corbyn opponent, said of the decision to lift Williamson's suspension:

'It is appalling, outrageous and unacceptable that he should be allowed back into the party. It's a cynical move... and we will have Jew haters sitting as Labour MPs under Jeremy Corbyn.'

Thus, also, columnist Rod Liddle, who wrote in the Sunday Times under this title:

'Unless you're anti‑semitic, walk away from Labour — it stinks from top to bottom'

As we will show below, this is a completely fake claim. In true McCarthyite tradition, Liddle observed that Williamson, who is the democratically elected MP for Derby North, 'looks, facially - to me at least - like a man called Reinhardt who has just been discovered hiding out in Argentina and might, if you shouted "Heil Hitler", have great difficulty controlling the actions of his right arm'.

Liddle expressed his revulsion at 'the fact that the Labour Party nowadays finds Jew-hating an agreeable and potentially vote-winning sideline and is riddled with it, from top to bottom', concluding:

'That Williamson is anti-semitic I have no doubt. But compared with Jeremy Corbyn he is an exemplar of anti-racist progressivism.'

At the other end of the supposed media 'spectrum', in a piece titled, 'Of all the hills to die on, why on earth has Labour chosen Chris Williamson?', Guardian columnist Marina Hyde described Williamson as an 'annoying prick in a black polo-neck' who looks like a 'boil-washed Terence Stamp'. Hyde lamented 'Williamson's long history of highly problematic statements'. Significantly, she did not cite from, or link to, any such long, ugly history. Apparently parroting Jon Lansman, Chair of Labour's Momentum group, Hyde commented:

'It's notable that the returning Williamson didn't even bother with a non-apology apology.'

It's unlikely that Hyde cared, or even knew, that Williamson had published a long, gracious message in February that began:

'A personal message and sincere apology from me regarding my recent remarks on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.'

He added:

'On a personal level, I have been an anti-racist all my life. As a former member of the Anti-Nazi League, I participated in direct action to confront foul anti-Semites in the streets... It pains me greatly, therefore, that anyone should believe that it is my intention to minimise the cancerous and pernicious nature of anti-Semitism.'

These are not the words of a 'Jew hater'. In addition to this apology, after he was briefly reinstated to the Labour Party, Williamson reaffirmed his commitment to fighting 'racism in all its forms', saying he would like to 'work in tandem' with the Board of Deputies of British Jews as 'allies'.

Our July 4 ProQuest national newspaper search of articles appearing in 2019 found:

'Chris Williamson' and 'anti-semitism' = 608 hits

'Chris Williamson' and 'anti-nazi' = 5 hits

Examining the results more closely, it turns out that the fact that Williamson literally fought on the streets against anti-semites as part of the Anti-Nazi League has been mentioned twice in UK national newspapers this year.

More than 150 Labour MPs and peers – the infamously pro-war, Blairite section of the party – added to the propaganda blitz by protesting the decision to readmit Williamson in a statement led by the bitterly anti-Corbyn deputy leader Tom Watson.

Also in perfect accordance with our propaganda blitz theory, the propaganda coup de grace was supplied by leftists Owen Jones of the Guardian and Ash Sarkar of the ostensibly 'alternative' Novara Media. Williamson's suspension was lifted on June 26. That day, Sarkar tweeted:

'This outcome is indefensible.'

On June 27, having presumably missed Williamson's earlier apology, Jones wrote:

'Chris Williamson could always show he's learned why he's caused distress and then acted on that: I'm yet to see evidence of it.'

One day later, Williamson was suspended again. Jones recently claimed that Williamson 'causes relentless immense damage to the left'. 

Asked if he would 'stand with Chris Williamson', leftist singer Billy Bragg responded this week:

'Can't do that Daniel. Labour needs to resolve the issue of anti-semitism within the party. Right now Williamson is part of the problem, not the solution.'

We asked Bragg what specifically had led him to this conclusion; he did not reply.

Read more: Suspending Chris Williamson - The Fury And The Fakery

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