The pro-Corbyn campaign group, Momentum, has produced a short video posted on Twitter about antisemitic conspiracy theories titled “The conspiracy behind conspiracy theories” narrated by Michael Walker.
The video might seem to be an admirable attack on some of the lies that are spread about Jews, many of which were popularised by the Nazi propaganda effort, but its narrator, Mr Walker, has expressed some very problematic views in the past about Jewish conspiracies.
Mr Walker, who is a regular contributor to Novara Media, a pro-Corbyn social media outlet, sent out a series of tweets last year alleging that Jewish community organisations were conspiring to cause Labour’s antisemitism crisis as some way of suppressing critics of Israel.
On 1st August 2018, Mr Walker tweeted that: “Many members are genuinely scared of talking about what’s going on. They can see many of the attacks on Corbyn are politically motivated, that many mainstream Jewish orgs have strong ties with Israel, and that part of this row is to suppress Palestinians and their advocates.”
On 5th August, he tweeted again, this time to say: “Corbyn denies calling [Jewish Labour MP] Ellsman [sic] the Rt Hon Member for Tel Aviv, but even if he did, that’s unlikely to be antisemitic. It’s fair to point out ties to Israel if someone repeats Israeli govt talking points, it needn’t have anything to with whether or not they’re Jewish.” Under the International Definition of Antisemitism, adopted by the British Government: “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations” is antisemitic. The Labour Party adopted the Definition with a caveat in September last year.
The next month, on 4th September, Mr Walker tweeted in response to Labour’s adoption of the definition, that: “If true, this is a complete abdication of responsibility by Labour and represents us selling out the Palestinian cause. Multiple Palestinian civil society organisations and QCs have warned IHRA will have a chilling effect. Saying ‘it won’t be chilling’ doesn’t make it so.”
After being challenged on Twitter, Mr Walker decided that rather than apologising for his tweets, he would instead suggest that they were simply poorly worded, tweeting: “Tbh [to be honest] — some of my tweets last summer I might have worded differently if it were today. I’ve come to take the problem of AS [antisemitism] in Lab[our] more seriously after initially seeing it primarily as a smear. But happy to discuss any of the substantive issues.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has referred Labour to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for investigation, because the Party’s leaders clearly have no intention of addressing antisemitism themselves.
In the past six months, eleven MPs have quit the Labour Party over its institutional antisemitism.