The latest article by the smear campaigners is trying to assert that This Writer is guilty of anti-Semitism because of the behaviour of other people.
The piece by somebody called Gareth Davies has been posted by Anti-Nazis United and claims to answer my own response to the Campaign Against Antisemitism’s (CAA) smear, that was published last month. I provide links to each piece so you, dear reader, can form your own judgement on them.
Mr Davies begins by claiming that, despite stressing that I am not anti-Semitic, I either use or condone anti-Semitic language – and goes on to quote, not me, but a commenter to the blog, paulmabbo. He had written: “Anti Zionism equated with anti semitism. That’s a ‘new’ one.
If they ask to speak to you ask them if they’re Hebrews, or from Judea. Or maybe Khazaria.” He concludes with a smiling emoji.
Apparently the offence is caused by the invocation of the Khazar myth – a claim that modern Jews are descended, not from the 12 tribes of Israel, but from a conglomeration of Turkic peoples who lived in part of what is now Russia.
But Mr Davies has taken the comment out of context. It is a response to an article, by me, exposing the Campaign Against Antisemitism’s complaints against me as a pack of lies. It seems to me – and I’m sure paulmabbo will jump in and comment again if I’m mistaken – that the commenter was mocking the CAA by suggesting that, since there is no factual accuracy to its article, perhaps its’ members’ ethnic origins are not as claimed, either. Note the emoji – it wasn’t a serious suggestion.
My own guilt apparently stems from the fact that I moderated the comment and allowed it to be published. For clarity: I moderate comments to weed out offensive language – swear words and phrases indicating obscenity, and to present personal attacks between commenters (the phrase I use is “play the ball, not the other player”). I won’t tolerate racism, sexism, or attacks on minority groups, including Jews. This comment did not fall into any of those categories. It mocked the CAA, yes, but we don’t know anything about these people. How many of them are Jewish and how do we know?
Next complaint: I ‘liked’ a tweet urging me to “stay strong against ‘the cabal'”.
Look up “cabal” in a dictionary and it is described as “a secret political clique or faction”. Perhaps that does not quite describe the CAA, because its political motive in trying to stop me from being elected to Powys County Council is clear and not secret, but the intention of the person who made that tweet was clearly to support me in resisting the CAA’s lies. Why should I not be grateful?
Next complaint: This indicates that Mr Davies has trawled back through my articles, looking for anti-Semitic language he can use against me. It appears he found only one example that comes even remotely close, in 8,705 published pieces. This was in a reference to Liam Byrne’s employment history: “Work for a multinational consulting firm (Accenture) and then the Rothschild merchant bankers(!)” commenting on my “strange use of an exclamation mark”.
Of course the point I was making was that it seemed odd for a Labour politician to be working for a firm as closely associated with capitalism as the Rothschild company, and that I doubted it was what many people would call a “proper job” – contrast with Alan Johnson, for example, who was a postman, or Dennis Skinner, who was a miner. My guess is that the accusation is about the Rothschilds being Jewish but that had nothing to do with the point I was making.
Next complaint: This one is a reference to Gilad Atzmon and his anti-Semitism. I addressed this in my previous article, and the only way Mr Davies is able to return to it is by “doctoring” a quotation: “Gilad Atzmon, any anti-Semitism of his, and any use of my work by him, are entirely irrelevant… I can’t help what other people do with my work.”
Note the “…”
Quoted properly, the passage runs as follows: “Moving on, the article [by the CAA] attacks me for quoting from a website called Redress Online, because it publishes the work of Gilad Atzmon who, it is claimed, is a notorious anti-Semite.
“I did, indeed, refer to that website – it was the origin of the infamous image of Israel superimposed on the American Midwest. There was no way to state this fact without referring to Redress Online!
“The reasons for the image’s creation are as described in my article and have nothing to do with anti-Semitism but are, in fact, satirical.
“Gilad Atzmon, any anti-Semitism of his, and any use of my work by him, are entirely irrelevant to those facts. I can’t help what other people do with my work – as the Campaign Against Antisemitism article clearly demonstrates.”
That puts it in a different perspective, wouldn’t you agree?
Finally: There is a ridiculously long section connecting me with a blogger and alleged anti-Semite named Alison Chabloz, who I quoted as saying the CAA attempts “to use the law to silence dissenters”. I think that is a reasonable appraisal of the CAA’s behaviour.
However, having had direct contact with Ms Chabloz, I very quickly realised her other opinions were abhorrent – and this is apparent from my response to her final (approved) comment below the article: “If you mock Jews and Jewish power, then your detractors may have a point about you.
“The case against me fails precisely because I don’t attack anyone over their ethnicity or religious views – but for their political decisions.
“Nobody is guilty of any crime because of their heritage.”
In fairness, Mr Davies does at least acknowledge that I do not support Ms Chabloz although, again, he quotes selectively – perhaps to protect a Twitter troll on his side?
I had quoted a person going by the moniker ‘Jeremy Corbin’ (@CorbynSnap) who had tweeted: “I’ve befriended Holocaust Deniers, but identifying with a genuine Nazi on trial is a new record for a #Labour politician!” Then I pointed out that the point being made was inaccurate, because British justice demands that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty.
However, the tweet had raised concerns so I wrote: “So you’re “a genuine Nazi”, apparently. And on trial! I take it both those pieces of information are inaccurate.” I was seeking more information. I got it; I didn’t like it. I expressed that dislike in my next comment, as you can see above. And then I stopped her from posting further comments.
Mr Davies attacks me for not removing her words from the article I had written. I’m not going to remove them. They were put there in good faith and remain an accurate description of the CAA’s activities. Regarding her own character and behaviour, we live and learn. The words I quoted were about the CAA, though – and ring true.
Blog posts are not like news stories, which have a legal duty to be fair and accurate – they are more like the so-called ‘angry columns’ in newspapers, which are opinion pieces in which writers air their views.
The danger is that readers may read a post like that written by Mr Davies and think he is presenting facts – when in fact he is only putting forward his own skewed viewpoint.
None of the claims made against me by Mr Davies are accurate because none of them show anti-Semitism, support for it, or support for anti-Semitic language. His article is dishonest, its evidence false.
But I see people are still linking to it, and the CAA piece, on the social media.
It doesn’t matter how often they repeat these claims, though. They will never be true.
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