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Chris Williamson posts fake Mandela quote linking Israel with apartheid

Labour MP deletes lines from fake Mandela quote tweet after complaints

    Labour MP Chris Williamson is embroiled in further controversy after sharing on social media a notorious faked Nelson Mandela quote that compared Israel to apartheid-era South Africa.

    Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow fire minister – who last week described antisemitism allegations within his party as “bulls**t” – tweeted the quote, which was made up by an anti-Zionist website, as part of an announcement that he had joined a “Picnic For Palestine” event in his Derby constituency last Saturday.

    The tweet displayed a photo of Mr Williamson alongside pro-Palestinian activists and included the full version of the quote which has regularly been attributed to Mr Mandela by anti-Israel campaigners.

    The quote was revealed as fake in 2007 by Joel Pollack, an American political writer, who found that it was actually written as a spoof memo by Arjan El Fassed, a co-founder of the anti-Zionist Electronic Intifada website.

    The MP's tweet, which featured a fictitious 'quote' from Nelson Mandela
    The MP's tweet, which featured a fictitious 'quote' from Nelson Mandela

    After posting his latest attack on Israel on his Twitter feed on September 2 Mr Williamson received a stream of complaints on his social media feed.

    He later removed the quote and replaced it with a shorter, genuine Mandela quote which did not compare Israel to apartheid-era South Africa.

    MPs demanded that Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, take urgent action over Mr Williamson over his interview in last week’s Guardian newspaper in which he said antisemitism claims within the part where smears used by those attempting to “weaponise” the issue for political reasons.

    Mr Williamson said: "I’m not saying it never ever happens but it is a really dirty, lowdown trick, particularly the antisemitism smears."

    A closer look at the Mandela 'quote.'
    A closer look at the Mandela 'quote.'

    On Sunday Stoke-On-Trent MP Ruth Smeeth confirmed at the Jewish Labour Movement conference that she would be raising the issue “with the Chief Whip, and with the leader of the Labour Party."

    Ms Smeeth – who has faced death threats and was forced to move house following antisemitic incidents – will call for action against Mr Williamson at Tuesday’s meeting of the PLP.

    The Board, the JLC and the JLM all issued statements condemning Mr Williamson.

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