The Guardian has removed a letter submitted by “prominent members of the Jewish community” in support of Chris Williamson after questions were raised about the authenticity and views of some of the signatories.
Published on Tuesday morning, the 100 people behind the document said they were “all Jews” who believed the “mass media have ignored the huge support” for the Labour MP, “both within and beyond the Labour party”.
It added: “We regard Chris as our ally: he stands as we do with the oppressed rather than the oppressor.”
Williamson is currently facing a fresh threat of expulsion after the party’s ruling body decided to reopen a probe into his alleged anti-Semitism.
But shortly after the letter was published, questions were raised about some of the names behind it.
Anti-racism group, Hope Not Hate, was forced to clarify that they had never heard of one signatory who had claimed to be part of their organisation.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews (BDBJ) later lodged a formal complaint to The Guardian.
In a statement emailed to HuffPost UK, the BDBJ said: “The Guardian was misleading and inaccurate in its description of the signatories, some have been suspended or expelled from the Labour Party and one of whom has called for Zionists to be exterminated.
“Some of the signatories do not represent the organisations they claim to (for example Hope Not Hate) and many other names are completely unknown and unverified, certainly not ‘prominent members of the Jewish community’.”
Other signatories included Ed Anser, an actor and 9/11 conspiracy theorist who believes one of the towers destroyed during the terror attacks was brought down by “controlled demolition”.
Another, Elleane Green, was earlier this year exposed as sharing Facebook posts claiming Israel was responsible for 9/11 and the the creation of ISIS.
One name which later appeared to have been removed from the list of signatories was Michael Morgan, who the BDBJ said has called for Zionists to be exterminated, stated that “Rothschild funded” various wars, and claimed that the Jews killed Jesus.
In a statement, a spokesperson for The Guardian said: “We have taken down the letter pending investigation.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated Sally Eason was suspended from the Labour Party. She in fact resigned in 2016.