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CAA Poll Draws Notable Critics (01/09/2017)

A Labour MP and the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council have been rebuked by Jewish community members for criticizing a recent CAA poll that suggested 1/3 of Jews have considered emigration

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Jeremy Corbyn (right) with Derby North MP Chris Williamson (source: Sky News)

Two public voices have been criticized by Jewish community members for their response to the recent survey, which found that a third of British Jews have considered leaving the country in recent years.

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism-commissioned poll released in August also found that 80% of respondents believed that the Labour Party is “harboring anti-Semites” within its party.

In an interview with the Guardian, Shadow Fire and Emergency Services Minister Chris Williamson called the accusations of anti-Semitism within Labour “a really dirty lowdown trick” and claimed, “Many people in the Jewish community are appalled by what they see as the weaponisation of anti-Semitism for political ends.”

The Derby North MP added: “It is pretty repellent to use that to attack somebody like Jeremy Corbyn, who has spent his whole life fighting for social justice and standing up for the underdog.”

Almost immediately following the interview’s publication on Monday, the Board of Deputies asked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to consider removing Williamson from his post.

“The Jewish community would expect a Labour MP and shadow minister like Chris Williamson to show solidarity with those suffering racism within his own party rather than blame the victims”, said Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl.

Williamson is one of the most outspoken pro-Corbyn ministers in Labour, so the idea of sacking him must not sit well with Corbyn.

Williamson was also criticized last month for suggesting that female-only carriages be introduced to the train systems in order to cut down sexual assaults, which have been on the rise since 2012. The leader of the train driver’sunion and fellow MPs said such a policy would normalize the attacks.

“It was poo-poohed, but these statistics seem to indicate there is some merit in examining that”, said Williamson about the idea that was originally pitched by Corbyn in 2015.

Meanwhile, the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, Simon Johnson, posted a video on the JLC’s website last Friday in which he appeared to criticize the reasoning behind conducting the poll, saying, “It is beholden on organizations to never sensationalize anti-Semitism.”

The video was rebuked by a number of community members while praised by others, according to the Jewish Chronicle. It has since been taken down from the website.

“The JLC’s position on the report has not changed. However, the video was removed in the interest of communal relations”, said a spokesperson for JLC.


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