Labour NEC member Pete Willsman doubles down on demand for 'evidence of widespread antisemitism'

The JC exposed his rant last year in which he called Jews 'Trump fanatics'


The member of Labour’s governing body, whose rant about Jewish “Trump fanatics” was exposed by the JC, has resurfaced and doubled down his demand for “evidence to support this ridiculous assertion” that antisemitism is "widespread" in the party.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pete Willsman wrote a series of tweets about the latest meeting of the National Executive Committee, to which he was re-elected last year despite his rant, in which he called his critics "empty-headed".

“At the NEC I asked for evidence to support the accusation that anti sem in the Labour Party is ''widespread and severe'," he tweeted at 1.35am.

"To ask such a question is not anti sem. Will my empty-headed critics please show me where the evidence is to support this ridiculous assertion.”

Last July, the JC published a recording of Mr Willsman speaking at an NEC meeting, just after 68 rabbis from all religious denominations signed a public letter condemning Labour antisemitism.

As the recording revealed, Mr Willsman shouted: “Some of these people in the Jewish community support Trump. They are Trump fanatics and all the rest of it…

"So I am not going to be lectured to by Trump fanatics making up duff information without any evidence at all.

“So I think we should ask the 70 rabbis where is your evidence of severe and widespread antisemitism in this Party?’”

Mr Willsman went on to ask people in the room: "Let me ask you a question, how many people in this room have seen antisemitism in the Labour Party?

“Put your hands up…  one, two – you’ve had antisemitism in the Labour Party? I’m amazed. I’ve certainly never seen it.”

Among those in the room were Jon Lansman, the Jewish head of the pro-Corbyn Momentum campaign group, and Jeremy Corbyn, who reportedly did not react to Mr Willsman's rant.

Adam Langleben, a former Labour councillor in Barnet and senior member of the Jewish Labour Movement, responded to Mr Willsman’s latest tweets.

He wrote: “Actually @PeterWillsman - the reference to the 68 Rabbis, including my own, as 'Jewish Trump fanatics' & accusing them of fabricating what they have been told by their congregants was the serious issue. Your tweet shows ZERO contrition. Have you completed equalities training yet?

This was a reference to Mr Willsman claiming he qould complete such training, after his rant was exposed.

Mr Langleben said that the 68 rabbis "represent congregations ranging from ultra Liberal to ultra Orthodox and over 30,000 Jewish households”.

Despite widespread outrage over his comments including from a number of Jewish communal organisations and Labour MPs, Mr Willsman escaped any punishment by Labour.

Party General Secretary Jennie Formby told the Jewish Labour Movement that he had written her an apology for his comments.

Although Mr Lansman was present during Mr Willsman’s remarks, Momentum did not drop Mr Willsman from its slate until a few days after the JC published the recording of his rant - two weeks after it happened.

Mr Willsman was re-elected to the NEC, although he received the fewest votes out of all those elected.

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