(JTA) — A key ally of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn who has downplayed the party’s anti-Semitism problem has resigned.
Labour lawmaker Chris Williamson quit Wednesday following the party’s decision not to have him run as a candidate in the Dec. 12 general election. Williamson said he will run instead as an independent, according to The Jewish News.
Williamson was suspended this year for saying that Labour is “too apologetic” in responding to allegations, consistently rejected by the party, that it had become institutionally anti-Semitic. In June, he was readmitted into Labour and then again suspended two days later amid a backlash over his readmission.
Under Corbyn, who has called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends,” the Labour Party has become a “safe space for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people,” a British parliamentary committee of inquiry asserted in 2016. Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism is currently being probed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, a government watchdog.
In his resignation letter, Williamson made a series of innuendos suggesting that scrutiny of Labour’s anti-Semitism problem is traceable to Zionist Jews or Israel, or both.
He wrote that the Jewish Labour Movement, one of the party’s oldest chapters, was “revived in 2015 at the same time as the State of Israel launched a diplomatic strategy to delegitimize Palestinian activism on the left and normalize Zionism in our movement.”
He added that he is a victim of a “witch hunt” that serves “far-right activists,” including the Jewish Defense League.