Deposed Labour MP founds anti-smear legal fund

Chris Williamson announced on Tuesday he would launch a fighting fund for left-wingers smeared and harassed by false allegations of anti-Semitism.

A former Labour member of the UK’s Parliament, Williamson was pushed out of the party earlier this year.

The legal fighting fund is being established thanks to a crowdfunding campaign and a legal victory by Williamson and his supporters.

“We’ll keep defending our comrades by any means necessary,” Williamson promised in a video posted to social media on Tuesday.

In October, Williamson won a High Court victory against his “re-suspension” by Labour Party bureaucrats in June.

On Tuesday, Williamson announced that the court had awarded him back the vast majority of his legal costs against the Labour Party.

He’d only been able to fund those costs thanks to the generosity of ordinary Labour activists, who donated in a crowdfunder to meet most of the $98,000 required to fund the legal action.

Now that most of their donations will be recouped, they will be plowed back into defending others on the left similarly attacked and smeared as anti-Semitic.

Williamson was hounded out of the party in February, when he was first suspended.

A Labour disciplinary panel let him back into the party in June with a warning. But after outrage by Israel lobby groups and the media, he was “re-suspended” days later – against the party’s own rules.

It was that re-suspension which was ruled illegal by the High Court in October.

Manufactured anti-Semitism

In 2017, Williamson, a supporter of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, condemned the “lies and dirty tricks” around the “anti-Semitism smears” – becoming the only MP to do so.

After that, he was made a prime target by the Israel lobby.

“We’ve seen manufactured anti-Semitism allegations as part of a concerted smear campaign,” Williamson said in his latest video on Tuesday.

“A hostile foreign government has mobilized its assets in the UK – which Israeli diplomats call their ‘power-multiplier’ – in an attempt to prevent a Corbyn-led Labour government,” he said.

This long-running campaign against Corbyn by Israel and its supporters in the UK was successful last week.

After losing the general election, Corbyn announced he would step down as party leader before the next general election in 2024.

In his video, Williamson criticized Labour for failing to fight “interference in our election and calling out this outrageous assault on our democracy” saying the party had “internalized the narrative promoted by the far-right Israeli government.”

Israel and its UK assets “sought to prevent dozens of anti-imperialist socialists from standing for Labour,” Williamson said.

Many Labour activists who sought to run for parliament this year were either forced to revoke previously anti-Zionist statements, or be rejected.

In October, working-class socialist and Palestine activist Colin Monehen was removed from a shortlist of Labour candidates for the election.

As has been endemic since 2015, he had been smeared with “anti-Semitism.”

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People have been suspended from the Party for months without being told why and with no indication of how their case is progressing. Even Kafka would be shocked. Something of an irony, of course, that he was Jewish.
There are, it is claimed, Labour Party staffers who are known supporters of Zionism. Imagine in the 1960s Labour harbouring in its bureaucracy supporters of South African apartheid. It is claimed, for example, that Ella Rose, featured in the notorious Panorama programme and an ex-employee of the Israeli embassy is working for the Party. If this is true, and it may not be, how can it be right? How can someone who deliberately seeks to harm the Party not be guilty of bringing it into disrepute while members who dare to criticise Zionism or the Israeli State are treated like criminals?
Those who make such arguments are accused of conspiracy theory. There is no conspiracy. Israel simply behaves like any unjust, authoritarian regime: it seeks influence wherever it can find it. To point that out is not to claim a conspiracy. Russia seeks influence wherever it can and uses dirty methods. Is to say so to engage in conspiracy theory? There is a simple point however: the Labour Party believes in democracy. It is not an apologist for undemocratic regimes. It does not believe in ethnocracy. It also upholds the powers of the UN which has passed resolution 194 granting the right of return to the Palestinians. The Labour Party can't do that and nurture within its bureaucracy Zionists who are apologists for the Israeli regime. Imagine if at the heart of Labour's bureaucracy were Islamic fundamentalists who were apologists for ISIS? The analogy is potent. Labour opposes ISIS because it is an undemocratic ethnocracy which uses violence to pursue its ends. Israel is an ethnocracy. It is a sham democracy. It was established by terrorism and is maintained by violence towards the Palestinians. Right?

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A dozen of so years ago I read the groundbreaking book, THE ISRAEL LOBBY and U.S. FOREIGN POLICY, by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. Toward the end of the book a self-posed question was made, and I paraphrase, "What would it take to defeat the Zionist/Israel Lobby?" The answer was simple but profound, "A countervailing force". Mr. Williamson is very courageous in establishing The Left Legal Fighting Fund and it will now represent, along side the BDS Movement and other such organizations, a countervailing force to take on and fight against the Zionist/Israel Lobby as well as their smear campaigns. Too, Mr. Williamson is absolutely correct in stating that the Israeli nation represents a hostile foreign government in Britain, (it also represents a hostile foreign government here in the U.S.).
As far as the British press is concerned, they are grovelling sycophants for Zionism and Israel. Misrepresenting Mr. Williamson's victory in court as a defeat for him is a primary example of their inherent neo-liberal, pro-Zionist/Israel philosophy. And, that includes The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, and the disgusting rags that mask as legitimate newspapers such as The Daily Mail, The Sun, et al. Oh, I don't want to forget the Bi Bi C.
And, along with their counterparts in the U.S. with similar neo-liberal philosophies are The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New York Daily News, and The New York Post.
I do appreciate Mr. Williamson using the Malcolm X quote, whether accidentally or intentionally, "By any means necessary."
Finally, if there is any way that I can donate from the U.S. to the Left Legal Fighting Fund please let me know.
The best of luck to Mr. Williamson!

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Whilst all the antisemitism in the Labour Party furore was raging Prince Charles went to Romania on behalf of the UK government to pay his respects at the funeral of the last surviving head of state of an Axis country that took part in the holocaust.

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Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor with The Electronic Intifada. He lives in London. Biography here.