Watson’s towering hypocrisy over antisemitism

When the news of Ken Livingstone’s one-year suspension from the Labour Party was announced earlier this week, there was a predictable outcry from those who would have preferred a show-trial with a foregone conclusion to an actual hearing that listened to evidence and made a judgment based on it.

On the part of many, it was an absolutely cynical move. Unite challenger Gerard Coyne disgracefully betrayed the two Unite members on the disciplinary panel simply for doing their job, in order to try to smear his opponent Len McCluskey by association.

Many Labour MPs were part of the uproar – including one Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the Labour Party.

watson sky liv

Tom Watson speaking to Sky News

Mr Watson almost fell over himself in his haste to get in front of news cameras to attack the verdict and ‘sentence’ and speak of his ‘shame’ over his party’s decision, telling the any who’d listen that:

it shames us all.

He went on:.

It was clear that Watson assumed Corbyn would side with Livingstone and was hoping this would undermine the party leader – but he had to change his tune, embarrassingly, when Corbyn called for a further investigation into Livingstone’s remarks made during and after the hearing:

Bad enough for Watson that he was outflanked. But what he won’t enjoy having highlighted for him is his complete hypocrisy on the antisemitism issue.

Afzal Khan is Labour’s candidate in the Gorton by-election triggered by the death of Gerald Kaufman. Watson has been in Gorton to campaign for Khan – a relatively ‘moderate’ candidate and this week Khan tweeted his appreciation of his ‘old friend’:

And here’s a hasty smartphone recording, just in case the tweet is taken down:

In case you don’t have sound, Watson says,

I’m with our candidate Afzal Khan, I admire him, I respect him, he’s a fantastic campaigner.

Afzal Khan is currently a Labour MEP (Member of the European Parliament). He’s also a man with a complicated history.

In 2002, Khan spoke at a protest against the Iraq war and told his audience:

We talk about Saddam being an evil dictator, we all agree about that. But what about the other dozens of dictators who America calls their friends? And what about that man of peace [the then-Israeli leader] Ariel Sharon? Who makes mockery of the word peace. Who’s been committing genocide against the Palestinian people.

Mr Khan later apologised for those remarks but in 2014 he sent a tweet that linked to an article comparing Israel to the Nazis, with the preface:

The Israeli Government are [sic] acting like Nazi’s [sic] in Gaza

According to campaign groups, comparing Israel’s actions to the nazis is inherently antisemitic. Whatever your view on that, it would be fair to say that it’s a comment at least as problematic as Ken Livingstone’s admittedly insensitive and ill-advised remarks that have been interpreted as him saying the nazis supported zionism – an interpretation that many Jewish Labour supporters insist was unfair.

It should be noted that this article is not calling either Khan or Livingstone antisemitic. But the hypocrisy of Tom Watson on the issue is clear-cut.

If he thinks it will damage Corbyn and the left – who have already been tarred with antisemitism smears for which even a parliamentary committee full of anti-Corbyn members had to conclude there was no evidence at all – Watson is full of righteous indignation.

But to support a ‘moderate’ Labour candidate, he’s happy to talk of his admiration and respect for an ‘old friend’.

What that says about the man and his motivations is not hard to work out.

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11 responses to “Watson’s towering hypocrisy over antisemitism

  1. Reblogged this on Sid's Blog and commented:
    Tom Watson is ultra-moderate in everything he does. I can say that without fear of contradiction
    Coughs quietly

  2. I see Labour are still doing a great job of fighting each other. I left them many years ago because that was all they were doing back then. What a waste of energy that could have been used to get rid of the Tories!

  3. Any truth in the rumour that Tom is going to Jerusalem to re-enact the passion? I’m told he is playing a certain disciple. May is heading that way too. She wants to sell nails to the Romans

  4. This article is so interesting and makes me wonder what the hell Watson is doing in our Party and how difficult it is for JC etc. I hope the people of this Manchester constituency read this article.

  5. Tom Watson had to resign from government for getting involved in the expenses debacle. He was hauled over the coals for habitually using all his food allowance in Parliament. He was named as the man at the heart of overthrowing Tony Blair. His track record is abysmal and yet he is voted in as deputy leader. That says a hell of a lot about the people who want to support a man with a record like this. Its time the choosing of the short-list for leader is decided by the whole membership. Then a ballot on the short list by all members as to who is leader. That is the only way to have a Party where everyone is given equal rights because they are equal members. MP’s need to be able to self nominate with a seconder and a proposer as anyone can be from a list of available people from an official approved candidates list for Councillor.

  6. Watson and Eagle are back sabre rattling for bombing Syria now – with no evidence that Assad was behind the chemical attack, just buffoon BoJo’s blustering.

    In the wrong party? Yes.
    Lessons of the recent past learned? No.

  7. CORRECTION: Replace the word “Hitler” in the second paragraph of my previous comment with “the Nazis”. Hitler was initially critical of the Haavara Agreement, but supported it from 1937-1939 (when it was scrapped at the start of World War 2).

  8. Is it just me or does Watson remind anyone of a dodgy, less liked and respected and less useful version of Ray Winstone? Of course Ray is an actor and plays all sorts of characters including bad ones. Whereas Watson just has bad character

    • OMG, he does look like Ray Winstone now that you mention it!
      He looks as though he’s starring in a period piece set in the 60’s, because he wears big 60’s style glasses; not that there’s anything wrong with that (they suit him).

  9. tom who isnt it time he left its they were bring the party into disrepute oh dear

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