Chris Williamson warned of 'dark forces' undermining Corbyn, as councillor joked about 'Jew process'

Exclusive: Shocking recording reveals Cllr Jo Bird joked that 'due process' should be dubbed 'Jew process'


MP Chris Williamson - suspended from the party last week for saying Labour had been "too apologetic" on antisemitism - was recording saying "certain dark forces" are using their "power" and "contacts in the media" to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Williamson was speaking at a meeting of Labour supporters backing Marc Wadsworth, who was expelled from the party last year over he reduced Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth to tears in a confrontation with her at the launch of the Chakrabarti Inquiry in 2016.

In audio leaked to the JC of the meeting, Jo Bird, a Labour councillor, drew laughs and applause with a series of shocking remarks, including joking the term "due process" should be dubbed "Jew process".

Listen to the recording below

Speakers in order: Cllr Jo Bird, an unnamed Labour member suspended over alleged antisemitism, Chris Williamson and Marc Wadsworth

Mr Wadsworth can be heard telling the audience in Manchester, many of whom identify themselves on the recording as Labour members, that the fight against his expulsion from the party is also about "your right to stand up to the forces that oppress the Palestinians."

A Labour member is loudly applauded when she vows she will "not be silenced" after saying the party had suspended her on "pathetic allegations of antisemitism."

The recording of the Justice4Marc meeting was made last year by a then-Momentum member who has since become so disgusted by the antisemitism in Mr Corbyn's party that they quit the party last week.

The two-hour meeting, which was introduced by Anyanna Ndukwe, from Grassroots Black Left, then featuring a talk from Cllr Bird, who was elected to Wirral Council last August.

Revealing she is a member of the fringe, pro-Corbyn Jewish Voice For Labour group, Ms Bird defends Ken Livingstone, who appalled the Jewish community with his claims Hitler supported Zionists.

Cllr Bird says: "Ken Livingstone did good in many, many ways..."

She next says that JVL is calling for Labour to "pause" disciplinary hearings into antisemitism "until a due process has been established."

After being clapped, Ms Bird then jokes: "It's what I call a Jew process." 

Many in the audience laugh at this.

Next, discussing allegations of racism, Cllr Bird, who says she is Jewish, suggests "privileging one group over another is divisive."

Turning Labour's "For The Many Not The Few" election slogan, she says "privileging" antisemitism is in her words "Bad for the many - as well as bad for the Jews."

There is a brief silence among the audience before laughter can again be heard.

She also adds: "Seriously, one of the things that does worry me is the privileging of racism against Jews, over and above - as more worthy of resources than other forms of racism."

Cllr Bird ends her contribution by repeating an attempt by a colleague to alter the words of the famous post-Holocaust poem "First The Came For.." by the German Lutheran Pastor Martin Niemöller.

In her version, the poem no longer features the famous "First they came for the Jews" line which instead is replaced by Ms Bird with "Then they came for the anti-Zionists."

"They came for the socialists, but they couldn't get us because we were having a party, the Labour Party," she says, to loud applause and laughter.

The suspended Labour member says she is facing "pathetic" Jew-hate allegations and expresses surprise that, at an interview about the claims against her, party bosses "surprise, surprise produced some more evidence - they are obviously patrolling my Facebook page."

The woman is loudly cheered as she said she had not joined the Labour Party to be "cowered into silence."

Speaking next was Mr Williamson who tells the meeting: "What we want to do is not just win an election - we are in the process of changing the course of history. That’s what is at stake. 

"And that’s why certain dark forces are using their power, using their contacts in the media, in order to undermine this project. 

"In order to take out key allies like Marc and others from the struggle. And we cannot let it stand."

Accepting that activist Mr Wadsworth was a divisive figure amongst some in the party, Mr Williamson adds: "Some people might find it a bit difficult to show solidarity with Marc for fear of being implicated, you know criticised and demonised. 

"Well, I don't give a s**t about that."

He also claims: "Many people in the Jewish community ... who said to me that antisemitism was being weaponised.

"I think some people have weaponised it, I agree with that, that's pretty clear when you look at the comments."

Mr Williamson continues: "Good god, it's like 1984 and the Ministry of Truth or the Stasi or something."

Mr Williamson can be heard praising Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby as a "great trade unionist" and supporter of Mr Corbyn.

Meanwhile Mr Wadsworth, who had accused Labour's Ms Smeeth of working ‘hand-in-hand’ with a reporter from the right-wing media to damage the Labour leader at the launch of a report on antisemitism in the Party, can be heard saying the fight to have his expulsion lifted is also a fight against Israel.

He also praises Ms Williamson as the most "sterling, stalwart, socialist MP I h come across in 30 years".

Discussing his confrontation with Ms Smeeth at the launch of the Chakrabarti report into antisemitism in 2016, Mr Wadsworth also suggests Mr Corbyn agreed with his remarks at the time about the lack of black and asian faces present at the launch.

He says: "To his credit Jeremy came back and said 'You are right, we need to get our house in order'. But where was that reported?"

Dave Rich, the Community Security Trust's deputy communications director, said Mr Williamson had engaged in "dog-whistle conspiracy talk" at the meeting.

Jonathan Goldstein, chair of the Jewish Labour Council, said Mr Williamson's "dark forces" remarks were "an example of a deliberate pattern."

He added:"The propagation of conspiracy theories deliberately and maliciously scapegoats and targets the Jewish community.

"A party which shows zero tolerance to racism should not have a man like this in their party - let alone representing it."

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