Labour’s anti-Semitism row reached boiling point this week thanks to a leaked recording from a meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee. In it, Corbyn ally Peter Willsman suggests that Jewish ‘Trump fanatics’ are behind ‘duff’ accusations of Labour anti-Semitism and warned that ‘they can falsify social media very easily’. This comes at a particularly bad time for Jeremy Corbyn as Willsman is currently standing for re-election on to the NEC and is one of nine Momentum-backed candidates, known as the #JC9 (see Mr Steerpike’s guide to the candidates here).
Moderate Labour MPs – including deputy leader Tom Watson – have been quick to condemn the comments along with a number of pro-Corbyn pundits who have called on Willsman to resign. However, not everyone is so bothered. Corbynista MP Chris Williamson took to social media to proclaim that he had just voted for the #JC9, with Willsman’s name top of his ballot paper. Labour high command don’t seem that concerned either. As things stand, Willsman is not under investigation as his apology has been deemed enough. Meanwhile, two Labour MPs – Dame Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin – are under investigation for incidents in which they questioned Labour’s new anti-Semitism code (which falls short of the internationally recognised definition).
If further action is taken against Hodge and Austin, this could finally be the trigger for Labour moderates to take drastic action. You don’t have to be a ‘Trump fanatic’ to see that something doesn’t add up. Corbyn once said: ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.’ Has he got anything he wants to tell us?