Cineaste Ken Loach and other British prominent artistic and academic figures have expressed support to MP Chris Williamson, as he is challenging his suspension decided by the Labor Party’s committee over anti-semitism claims.
Williamson, 62, a close ally of party leader Jeremy Corbyn, said earlier this year that the party had been “too apologetic” over the years under the numerous claims of anti-Semitism from conservative opponents.
The party suspended him in February, but on June 27 the decision was overturned, and two days later Williamson was suspended again following a heavy backlash from Jewish organizations.
Ken Loach declared that “Chris Williamson defended the party’s record against the ‘scourge of anti-semitism.’
“At no point did he say that those guilty of antisemitism should not apologize,” added the film maker. “It is absurd that he was charged in the first place. He has now been cleared after due process, when all the evidence was examined and following independent legal advice. A group of Labour MPs and party grandees objected to this decision and, as a consequence, the party has re-opened the case. This is not justice, it’s bullying.”
A journalist at The Canary, Kerry-Anne Mendoza, also showed support, denouncing that “the party caved under pressure after two days of hostile media coverage organized by opponents of Jeremy Corbyn.”
“It made a political decision to do away with its own procedures and reimpose the suspension, which is unprecedented in Labour’s history,” she added. “The party may have acted unlawfully and against its own rule book, which is why Chris has been forced into legal action.”
As members of the Campaign for Chris Williamson, they are also raising funds to cover the legal costs. The Campaign includes Israeli and British prominent artistic and academic figures such as film director Mike Leigh, musicians Brian Eno and Roger Waters, journalist John Pilger, actor Miriam Margolyes and comedian Alexei Sayle among others.
In the past, Corbyn has been criticized simply for his outward support of Hamas and the Palestinian struggle for a state.