NATIONAL NEWS
Constituents turn anger on Jewish MP

JEWISH constituents last night launched a three-pronged attack on their co-religionist Labour MP Fabian Hamilton.

They blasted the MP for Leeds North East for:

* FAILING to condemn Jew-baiting MP Chris Williamson, who was suspended and then readmitted to the Labour Party.

* INVITING to Parliament a Jordanian MP accused of making antisemitic comments.

* POSTPONING a meeting with the Leeds Jewish community on three separate occasions.

Leeds Jewish Representative Council president Lisa Baker has twice raised concerns with Mr Hamilton about his apparent support for “those within your party who speak anti-Jewish rhetoric”.

She initially wrote to him on July 1 to ask about his failure to condemn Williamson.

Ms Baker stated: “I am writing to you on behalf of us all to give you an opportunity to explain why you are not standing with your colleagues to condemn hatred and arguing for your Jewish constituents.

“We look to you to represent us and we feel you are failing us.”

Mr Hamilton responded: “I also know Chris William- son personally and have worked with him over a number of years.

“What he said was wrong and very foolish, but I do not think his re-admittance to the Labour Party is an attack on the Jewish Community in my constituency or across the country.”

After last Wednesday’s broadcast of the BBC Panorama documentary, which exposed major failings in Labour’s disciplinary process, Ms Baker sent Mr Hamilton another letter.

She wrote: “It is said we are judged by the friends that we keep. It is your choice to be friends with Chris Williamson, but I have not read anywhere a public statement by you condemning his words and actions.

“You say you wanted to give the opportunity for due process to work within the Labour Party’s internal disciplinary process, and I shall pass no comment on the effectiveness of this following Wednesday night’s programme.”

Ms Baker also asked the Leeds Jewish community as to whether the Rep Council should give Mr Hamilton a platform to speak.

It came after he cancelled three proposed meetings with the community.

Two-thirds of people who voted in Ms Baker’s online poll said Mr Hamilton should be allowed to address the Rep Council.

The 54-year-old was also attacked for meeting a Jordanian MP who once called Israel a “Jewish tumour”.

According to Yahya al-Saud, he and other members of the Jordanian parliament’s Palestine Committee met Mr Hamilton at the House of Commons, where they discussed stopping Israel’s “racist” practices towards the Palestinians.

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, al-Saud has called for the liberation of “our holy places from the plundering Jews” and said he is “a slave to whoever takes me to Palestine as a fighter”.

Campaign Against Antisemitism blasted Mr Hamilton’s meeting with al-Saud as “disgraceful and extremely troubling”.

Programme manager Binyomin Gilbert told the Jewish Telegraph: “It is disgraceful that Fabian Hamilton, on behalf of the Labour Party, warmly welcomed Yahya al-Saud and his delegation to the House of Commons.

“A person with such vile views should be shunned and not feted at the seat of British democracy.

“For Mr Hamilton to honour such a man, particularly at a time when his party is plagued by both confirmed and alleged cases of antisemitism, and is currently under investigation by the EHRC, it is as incomprehensible as it is offensive to the Jewish community.”

Mr Hamilton tweeted that he was “appalled” to learn of al-Saud’s comments.

He said he totally rejected “any suggestion that I somehow support what he said simply because this MP was part of the delegation”.

Board of Deputies vice-president Amanda Bowman said: “We would urge him and others to be more careful with due diligence about who they honour with an audience in Parliament in future.”

Meanwhile, more than 60 Labour peers this week took a full-page advert in The Guardian which accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of “allowing antisemitism to grow in our party and presiding over the most shaming period in Labour’s history”.

The signatories, who included former government minister Jack Cunningham, Peter Mandelson and Peter Hain, added that Mr Corbyn had “failed the test of leadership” over antisemitism.

The 64 peers argued that the tactic of Mr Corbyn’s office and his followers was to “deny the truth of the message and shoot the messengers”, making reference to complaints raised by party members and whistleblowers.

And Labour peers could hold a vote of no confidence in Mr Corbyn’s leadership over his response to claims of antisemitism in the party.

It followed the sacking yesterday of Brexit minister Baroness Hayter for comparing the “bunker mentality” around Mr Corbyn’s leadership to the “last days of Hitler”.

She was also critical of Mr Corbyn’s inner-circle, which she claimed had refused to give the party’s ruling National Executive Committee key information on party finances, membership figures and antisemitism data.

Mr Corbyn was criticised by Jewish Labour campaigners after he met controversial charedi activist Shraga Stern for lunch in Westminster.

Mr Stern has aggressively opposed changes to government policy on the teaching of LGBT issues in schools.

A Jewish Labour Movement spokesman said: “It is a shame that the only representatives of any part of the Jewish community that Corbyn is prepared to listen to are those from its most reactionary sections.

“Shraga Stern has been an inveterate campaigner against children being taught that LGBT people exist.

“His views and tactics do not represent the vast bulk of the Jewish community.”

Labour staff yesterday voted for a motion which condemned the party’s response to the Panorama programme.

Represented by the GMB trade union, staff voted 124 to four for a motion that demanded the party apologise and affirm support for whisteblowers, after Labour hit out at “disaffected” ex-staffers who spoke to journalists about the party’s antisemitism crisis.

The union demanded that Labour commit itself to a position of “support for whistleblowers regardless of where they work and to always condemn attempts to label them as politically motivated”.

It also called for an urgent review into the party’s staff hiring process suggesting it is unacceptable that individuals are “being hired who attempt to minimise antisemitism or dismiss it as a smear.”


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