Labour MP Chris Williamson and Baroness Jenny Tonge condemned for response to synagogue shooting

While colleagues sent messages of condolence, the Derby North MP shared a link a to a story attacking the Board of Deputies


Labour MP Chris Williamson has been criticised after he tweeted a story attacking the Board of Deputies, hours after 11 people died in a shooting at a synagogue in the US city of Pittsburgh.

While his colleagues were sending messages of condolences to the Jewish community, the Derby North MP shared a link from the far-left blog Skwawkbox of an article titled: “Board of Deputies president accused of using an antisemitic trope.”

He wrote: “Well, well blow me down with a feather.”  

The Jewish Labour Movement said Mr Williamson was “an absolute disgrace to our party.” 

Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North in Essex, described Mr Williamson’s behaviour as a “new low.”

Mr Williamson, who is one of Jeremy Corbyn's biggest supporters in parliament, later retweeted the Labour Leader’s message of condolence, but only after his tweet had attracted strong criticism.

Eleven people died and six others were injured when a man entered the Tree of Life Synagogue and opened fire on Saturday morning.

The shooter entered the shul, which is in the city's Squirrel Hill neighbourhood, at around 10am local time, during a baby-naming service.

The Anti-Defamation League said it was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in US history.

Baroness Jenny Tonge was also criticised for her response to the shooting.

On Facebook, she asked her followers if it ever occurs to “Bibi and the present Israeli government that it’s actions against Palestinians may be reignighting antisemitism?”

She added: “I suppose someone will say that it is antisemitic to say so?”

Michael Dickson, executive director of  Stand With Us, a prominent Israel education organi­sation said: “The rock cold heart of Baroness Jenny Tonge was on display for all see.”

He said: “Following the slaying of Jews in synagogue at prayer, she excuses the motivation of the murder, never missing an opportunity to defame the world’s only Jewish country. A heartless, obsessive, hate-filled person.”

Labour MP Jess Philips said she was “appalled by the blatant propaganda and antisemitism on display" by members of the Commons and the Lords. 

She said it displayed "no heart at all for murdered innocent people. I'd say I was shocked but I'm not.”

In 2010, Baroness Tonge was sacked as the Liberal Democrats' health spokesperson in the House of Lords after demanding an investigation into allegations that IDF aid workers in Haiti were harvesting organs.  

In 2016, she was suspended from the party after she hosted an event at the House of Lords where audience members compared Israel to Isis terrorists and suggested Jews were to blame for the Holocaust. 

She subsequently resigned and is now an independent.

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