Tom Watson’s response to the display of solidarity for Jeremy Corbyn is priceless

Tom Watson and Jeremy Corbyn
Fréa Lockley

On 4 August, Labour deputy Tom Watson broke ranks to criticise Jeremy Corbyn in the Observer. So on 5 August, thousands stood in solidarity with Corbyn and a “ResignWatson” hashtag went viral.

Watson’s response was priceless:

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But thousands challenged his apparent support “for people who are facing prejudice and hate”.

One too many

Amid a growing row about antisemitism in the Labour Party, Corbyn made a clear statement on 3 August. He said that antisemitic views “have no place in the Labour party”. He also said that, even if this only exists in “0.1 per cent” of the Labour membership, “one is too many”. And he went further:

Our party must never be a home for such people, and never will be. People who dish out antisemitic poison need to understand: you do not do it in my name. You are not my supporters and have no place in our movement.

But rather than rallying behind this statement, Watson told the Observer that Labour would “disappear into a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment”. He called for an immediate end to disciplinary action against Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin. Watson also demanded that Labour should adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition and examples of antisemitism, saying:

I have made no secret of the fact that… we should adopt the full IHRA definition and should do it without delay.

But Corbyn has actually only challenged one example in the IHRA. As he explained:

Our actual differences are in fact very small – they really amount to half of one example out of 11, touching on free speech in relation to Israel. It is unfortunately the case that this particular example, dealing with Israel and racism, has sometimes been used by those wanting to restrict criticism of Israel that is not antisemitic.

Watson’s statement did nothing to support Corbyn. So thousands stood in solidarity and openly challenged Watson.

#ResignWatson

#ResignWatson gathered momentum fast:

And in response to Watson’s tweet, people were swift to explain why they thought he should resign:

Many pointed out that criticism of Corbyn is damaging to Labour at a critical time:

Many others, meanwhile, took the time to point out that supporting Palestine does not make people antisemitic:

And these key points were shared by many others:

Some pointed out that one of the IHRA authors supports Corbyn’s caution:

But as the so-called ‘Twitterstorm’ gathered pace, several other points were raised about Watson.

Move along, nothing to see here…

Many people pointed out that Watson has received large donations from Sir Trevor Chinn.

Chinn is vice president of the Jewish Leadership Council, which has openly criticised Corbyn. He also supported [paywall] Tony Blair. Since 2017, Chinn has donated £20,000 to Watson.

Other tweets suggested Watson was also funded by Max Mosley, Labour Friends of Israel and Sir David Garrad. As The Canary previously reported, Mosley is the son of Oswald, founder of the British Union of Fascists (BUF) and has, so far, donated £500,000 to Watson.

Some posed Watson a simple question about these donations:

And others questioned his previous praise for Mosley:

Citizen media

As attacks and criticism continue in the mainstream media, thousands have taken to social media in the past week to support Corbyn. Watson’s response suggests he really doesn’t ‘get’ how strong this solidarity is.

The voice of the many is roaring loud and it shows no sign of stopping.

Get Involved!

– Check out Jewish Voice for Peace and Jewish Voice for Labour and campaign with Free Speech on Israel.

– Support the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. Also, find out more about the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, and see previous Canary articles on Israel and Palestine.

– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured images via Rwendland-Wikimedia/Rwendland-Wikimedia

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