Billy J Wells is an ex-Army musician from Swaffham, in Norfolk. On his Twitter profile he describes himself as a “Wedding and event clarinetist Democratic Socialist and writer Head of PR [at] Prolestar”. He has now expanded his repertoire further to add the role of Labour politician, having proudly announced on 2nd October that he had been selected to represent Bradwell South and Hopton in forthcoming borough elections. His Facebook profile announces that “Jeremy Corbyn got my vote”.
Mr Wells is convinced that there is no evidence for antisemitism in the Labour Party. He says: “This whole saga [antisemitism] has been staged in a bid to put people off voting labour” as well as telling the actress Frances Barber: “You are a bellend…there is no antisemitism it’s just right wing propaganda”. He even thinks that Labour MP John Mann should have been suspended from the Labour Party for remonstrating with Ken Livingstone, after he claimed that Hitler supported Zionism. To Mr Wells, the Labour Party is a pure and virtuous community, being attacked on all sides by enemies who disguise their true motives by accusing people of antisemitism.
Then, with no self-consciousness, he has claimed: “…it’s the super rich families of the Zionist lobby that control the world. Our world leaders sell their souls for greed and do the bidding of Israel. They see the evil but their love for wealth makes them turn a blind eye.” He also asked on Twitter: “How much money and how much power is too much? The greed of the Rothschild family knows no bounds”. He makes several claims that the media is controlled by the “Israeli lobby”, in one instance claiming: “The Zionist Lobby would not allow our puppet government and its media lapdogs to show the truth.”
He has, in addition, shared a post that said: “Don’t give your soul energy to the parasitical Rothschild-Zion-Jesuit-Vati-lunatic nonce controllers. If they want to invade, bomb, kill & Slaughter innocent men, women and children in far away lands for an insane maniacal agenda then let them and their puppet politicians do it, not you”. He believes, despite the disgust of the wider world and of 107 of his own party’s MPs that called out Ken Livingstone’s “insidious racism”, that Ken Livingstone was right to say that Hitler supported Zionism. He also believes that the social media posts that saw Labour MP Naz Shah suspended, and which she later admitted were indeed antisemitic, were not antisemitic; in doing so he quotes the blog of Labour Council Candidate Mike Sivier, who has been suspended for his antisemitic blog posts.
As in the case of Nasreen Khan, exposed only a few days ago, it beggars belief that an individual so obvious and extreme in their use of antisemitic discourse should have been put forward by the Labour Party as a candidate for office, when his statements were broadcast for all to see. Further, as in the case of Moshe Machover, it is clear that the Labour Party itself is not only uninterested in suppressing antisemitism in its ranks, but openly welcomes those who indulge in antisemitic discourse as elected representatives.
What Mr Wells’ case also illustrates so well, however, is the sheer scale of denial that exists within the Labour Party: That an individual so clearly antisemitic under the terms laid down by that party is so passionate in the cause of claiming that there is – simultaneously – no antisemitism in his party, is an exercise of denial and doublespeak that takes the breath away.
Mr Wells’ profile underlines the dramatic way antisemitism has managed to reinvent itself, by posing in the minds of its own proponents, and in the wider community of the Left, as an expression of virtue in itself.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is grateful to sources within the Labour party for providing key information for this post.