Pete Willsman's rant about Labour antisemitism branded 'racist by any measure'

Board of Deputies, JLC and CST demand the party expel he is revealed to have claimed 'Israeli embassy' was 'whipping up' crisis


The Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and Community Security Trust have written an open letter urging Labour to immediately expel Pete Willsman, after he ranted about the "Israeli embassy... whipping up" the party's antisemitism crisis.

Mr Willsman, a member of Labour's governing National Executive Committee, was suspended on Friday morning after a recording was published of him saying the embassy was behind an open letter last year, signed by 68 rabbis, that attacked Labour antisemitism.

It comes after his rant about Jews being "Trump fanatics and all the rest of it" at an NEC meeting last year was published by the JC.

"Pete Willsman must be immediately dismissed from Labour’s National Executive Committee and expelled from the Labour Party," the Board, JLC and CST's letter to party General Secretary Jennie Formby said.

It accuses him of an "antisemitic slur" by "accusing religious leaders from across the Jewish community of not only being liars, but of acting as a fifth column for a foreign state".

"It plays directly to age old accusations of Jewish conspiracy, treachery and dual loyalty. It is racist by any measure," the letter says.

"It is also, ironically, one of the behaviours described as antisemitic in the definition of antisemitism that Labour’s leadership very grudgingly adopted last year, but have still failed to include anywhere on the Party’s website.”

The letter notes "how efficient Labour’s disciplinary processes can be when there is the will to make them so", a clear reference to the immediate expulsion of Alastair Campbell after he admitted voting for the Lib Dems.

In the recording of Mr Willsman's latest rant, revealed by LBC, he tells Israeli-American author Tuvia Tenenbom "off the record" that: "It's almost certain who is behind all this antisemitism against Jeremy. Almost certainly it was the Israeli embassy.

"They caught somebody in the Labour Party. It turns out they were an agent in the Israeli Embassy. My guess would be, they are the ones whipping it all up."

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson said the recording "shows how serious the problem of antisemitism is in our party".

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