Joint political Statement on anti-Semitism in Calderdale.
As local political leaders we stand united in our commitment to tackle all forms of discrimination, whether it is homophobia, racism, Islamophobia or anti-Semitism.
On Saturday 3rd August the Calderdale Trades Council has invited Chris Williamson - an MP who has been suspended for remarks about how the Labour Party has handled anti-Semitism - to speak at a meeting in Hebden Bridge. The topic on which Chris Williamson has been invited to speak is the Labour Party’s handling of anti-Semitism. An extract from their advertisement for this event reads:
“Corbyn and McDonnell’s backtracking over delivering Brexit, on accepting the redefinition of anti-Semitism demanded by the IHRA and the witch hunt against Corbyn supporters and expulsions of members with records of decades of anti-racist activity raises the question that if Corbyn will not stand up to the right in his party - and the media pressure now, how will he stand up to the advocates of capitalism if Labour wins the next General Election?”
We believe this event seeks to undermine the IHRA's internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism. We also believe it seeks to dismiss cases of anti-Semitism as a witch hunt. Inviting an MP suspended for saying Labour has been ‘too apologetic’ about anti-Semitism to this event sends out a harmful message that anti-Semitism is not to be taken seriously.
We believe this event will contribute towards creating a hostile environment for Jewish members of our community. That it will damage community relations in our Borough. As local politicians, we have a duty to take strong public stances against discrimination and we condemn the decision of the Calderdale Trades Council to host this event. We ask them to consider disinviting this speaker.
Craig Whittaker MP for Calder Valley
Councillor Scot Benton Leader of Calderdale Council Conservative Group
Councillor James Baker – Leader of Calderdale Council Liberal Democrat Group
Mark Pittaway – Chair of Calderdale Liberal Democrats
Councillor Colin Peel – Change UK