The Oxford University Labour Club has become one of 30 University Labour organisations to sign a letter in condemnation of MP Chris Williamson, after he tweeted in support of a musician condemned for expressing anti-Semitic views.
Gilad Atzmon, a jazz musician, was prevented from performing in Islington alongside The Blockheads by the local council, which is held by Labour. Williamson tweeted a petition calling for his reinstatement.
The letter called on the party leadership to “withdraw the whip from Chris Williamson until he listens to the concerns of the Jewish community and properly educates himself about antisemitism.”
The letter, written by the Edinburgh University Labour Club, read: “Today Chris Williamson’s actions have again shown a complete lack of respect for the Jewish community. He repeatedly platforms and supports antisemites and takes no responsibility for his actions. We wholeheartedly condemn this.”
Mr Williamson later tweeted: “I was asked to share the petition after being told that a ‘jazz musician who plays with the Blockheads has been banned by Islington Council merely because of his pro-Palestinian views’. Clearly I shouldn’t have taken that at face value.
“Gilad Atzmon was undoubtedly banned because of his deplorable anti-Semitic views, which have nothing to do with the Palestine solidarity movement and certainly nothing to do with me. I am truly sorry.”
Disabled Students Officer and the Social Secretary of OULC, Isabella Welch, told Cherwell: “Following the motion OULC passed condemning anti-Semitism within the Labour Party as a whole at our Trinity General Meeting, the Labour Club Executive Committee decided without objections that the logical extension of this motion was to sign the open letter condemning Chris Williamson, along with nearly thirty other university Labour Clubs across the country.
“An apology from Williamson is not enough, as he has consistently shown an inability to learn from past mistakes. Only a withdrawal of the whip from Williamson will allow the Labour Party to send an appropriate message to the many who have been offended and hurt by his actions.
“It is the ethos and a foundational value of the Labour Party to stand up against all forms of racism, and we as a university Labour Club are disappointed that the Party leadership has not yet taken suitable action against Williamson.”
The national Labour Party leadership has yet to respond to any condemnation of Williamson.