Labour’s Clive Lewis calls for everyone to acknowledge both antisemitism and the smears

Clive Lewis

Labour MP Clive Lewis has called for everyone to acknowledge both antisemitism in Labour and the smears against the party.

“A given”

Speaking to The Canary at Glastonbury festival, Lewis said:

Is it possible to chew gum and walk at the same time? Yes. It’s possible that there is antisemitism and racism in our party. And it’s also possible that there are some people who will utilise that for their own ends… That is, I think, a given.

The debate over Labour and antisemitism has bubbled over recently after the party resuspended Chris Williamson MP. But Lewis stopped short of defending Williamson, saying:

Chris Williamson is a Marmite character. I know Chris personally. After his last suspension, I spoke to Chris because I had Jewish comrades who are pro-Corbyn, socialists, who… took issue with what he said. They found it difficult.

Other pro-Corbyn Jewish Labour members, however, think differently. Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), for example, regards the campaign against Williamson as “hostile” and “personal” – and more about Williamson’s politics than what he has actually said. Speaking to The Canary, a JVL spokesperson challenged “people supposedly on the left of the party” calling for Williamson to go, saying:

If they retain the illusion that throwing yet another left winger to the wolves will appease Jeremy’s enemies, they are following a disastrously misguided course.

Remainers must have an “ecosocialist” offer

In conversation with The Canary at Glastonbury’s Left Field, Lewis also tore into the failures of the 2016 Remain campaign:

The people who led the last campaign, with all due respect, we tried it last time and it was basically a combination of ‘you’ve never had it so good’ and ‘under Europe our GDP would increase by this much’. Well, as someone once heckled at a meeting, ‘that’s your GDP, not my GDP’. Because… as a measure of well-being – of equality and social and economic justice – it fails. So ultimately… that GDP increase from being inside the European Union, well some people did very well from it, but lots of people… haven’t seen their… living standards increase; they’ve seen it decline. And I think that’s where those who led the campaign got it wrong last time. So the offer this time has to be, I think, an ecosocialist one.

With that in mind, he said:

A second referendum won’t solve the problem in and of itself

In other words, Lewis is arguing that Labour’s transformative programme must be front and centre of any referendum campaign. Otherwise, the dry centrism of the Labour right and the Lib Dems risks bringing about the same failure for Remain as in 2016.

And when it comes to antisemitism, Lewis is calling out both antisemitism and the people using antisemitism allegations “for their own ends”. This is vital.

Featured image via Rwendland/ WikiCommons

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  • Show Comments
    1. Yes I admire Clive but he must have the guts to stand up to Watson Hodge Streeting Mann Ruth Smeath Anne Ryan and tell them to stop undermining the LP under JC . These people have to be confronted . They want any MP that is left to be got rid of one way or another. They have be confronted where there is real A/S it must be confronted, but so are false accusations, which are disgrace and do more to undermine the real A/S out there. JVL and people like Neom Chomsky Ken Loach have pointed this out .
      It has to recognised That criticism of Israel and its policies is not A/S . There is a fear among LFI that a Corbyn Gov will stop sending arms to Israel unless it abides by certain standards. That is the bases of a lot of weaponization of A/S to try to undermine Corbyn and LP. real A/S must be dealt with but also false accusations are a form of McCarthyism and must be confronted.

    2. I have never seen an example of antisemitism in the Labour Party that was not a criticism of Israel. Not one. If there are any let’s see it and I will point out that it is not antisemitism but a criticism of Israel!

    3. the only thing that will satisfy Watson and his ilk is Corbyn’s resignation…and if the new leader isn’t a fully paid up member of the Blair Rich Project the attacks will continue…the only way to sort this mess is the de-selection of them all…you can’t make an omlette without breaking a few eggs…

    4. Yes I agree I think while these MPs continue to undermine the LP and Corbyn with more often that not false claims of A/S there will be problem for anybody who supports Corbyn or that is left of centre. These MPs must be considered for deselection . It is time for members to start to fight back against the likes of Watson .

    5. The problem in Politics today, across the world not just the UK, is that the electorate are fed up of the politics of the last 40 years.
      Middle class, public school educated careerist’s in hock to the Global Company’s telling lies to them, using the Financial collapse of 10 years ago to attack their public services, while the Elite carry on with their snouts in the trough, regardless of the pain THEY have caused and actioned upon the masses.
      Hence the rise in in Populism and the danger of the likes of Trump, Farage Le Penn etc, this how Nazism began.
      Labour should go back to it REAL roots of a century ago and fight inequality and unfairness where ever it raises it’d ugly head.

    6. Well I never thought I’d see the day when one-time darling of the left Clive Lewis would play the part of “there’s fault on both sides” Trump. And it’s as offensive and disgraceful coming out of Lewis’ mouth as it was with Trump. The only real difference is that Trump is clearly a very stupid man, who rarely thinks before opening his mouth. Norwich South, you have a fake lefty.

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