WitchHunt : The Silencing Of pro-Palestinian UK Labour Party Activists

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The film has faced severe censorship, including a bomb threat which successfully canceled one preview.

A story about Israel’s alliance with the global far-right that Israel’s supporters would rather you not hear.

Posted March 20, 2019

 

Acclaimed British directors Mike Leigh and Peter Kosminsky have praised WitchHunt.

Leigh said it “exposes with chilling accuracy the terrifying threat that now confronts democracy.”

Kosminsky said it “packs a powerful punch” and is “telling a story we just aren’t hearing at the moment.”

Last month, left-wing member of Parliament Chris Williamson was suspended as a Labour Party member – after a long campaign by Israel lobby groups against him.

Williamson had booked a room in Parliament on behalf of the group Jewish Voice for Labour so that WitchHunt could be screened.

But it was canceled after the Labour leadership came under severe pressure by right-wing and pro-Israel Labour MPs.

Unless Williamson’s Labour suspension is reversed before the next election, the move will make it hard for him to return as an MP.

Manufactured outrage

A source in Parliament told The Electronic Intifada that the ringleader of much of the outrage against Williamson was Ruth Smeeth.

Smeeth is a former professional Israel lobbyist who, since becoming an MP, has continued to receive donations from prominent Israel lobby funders.

A few days before his suspension Smeeth announced to a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party that a room had been booked to show the film.

This caused the sound of “250 voices doing a sharp intake of breath,” according to our source.

Smeeth told the gathered MPs that she didn’t know who’d booked the room, but threatened that, “I can assure you that I will find out.”

According to our source in Parliament, Smeeth’s announcement to the Parliamentary Labour Party resulted in howls of outrage, including “Shame!”, “Disgraceful!” and, sarcastically, “Well done Chris!”

None of these MPs had even seen the film, as it had not been released at the time.

Their “outrage” was down to the central role in the film played by Jackie Walker.

Far-right alliance

Walker is a Black and Jewish anti-racist activist.

Her opposition to Zionism, Israel’s state-sanctioned ideology, plays a key role in the film, as does her likely expulsion by Labour later this month.

But WitchHunt takes a far wider view than Walker’s case alone.

It puts the entire, years-long, manufactured “Labour anti-Semitism crisis” campaign into its correct global context.

As the film’s narrator argues in its conclusion, the fact that far-right European governments and parties today are growing ever closer to Israel shows a “convergence of fascist and neo-Nazi groups with hardline Zionists.”

As a worrying UK example of this, the film cites anti-Muslim fascist leader Tommy Robinson’s recent trip to Israel and funding by anti-Palestinian groups.

“This natural alliance may now be part of a more coordinated common cause” of the far-right and Zionism around the world, the film’s narrator argues.

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor with The Electronic Intifada. He lives in London. Biography here.

This article was originally published by The Electronic Intifada

                                                                 =See Also==

Are You Racist? | George Galloway | Oxford Union

 

 

 

 

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