Was it that bad-tempered an exchange?
I don’t remember much of it, to be honest. I had a list of things I wanted to mention:
- That I’m not a Holocaust denier, obviously. The first I knew of this was when I bought the Sunday Times yesterday (February 4) and saw the headline. “Hang on – is that me?”
- That the accusation comes from a comment in an article from 2016, that was off-topic – meaning the person making it was trying to entrap me into some kind of anti-Semitic remark not related to the subject under discussion.
- That the claim that I said I “don’t know” whether the Holocaust happened was a mangling of my response to that comment. I had been asked why the SWP had referred to “thousands” instead of “millions” of deaths in a pamphlet, and why it had not mentioned Jews at all. I didn’t know the answers to any of those questions because I’m not in the SWP; it’s not my party.
- That the claim that I said Tony Blair had been influenced by a “Jewish cabal” was a similar mangling of my words. I had been presented it as a claim by Tam Dalyell (I noticed Mr Ferrari trying to suggest I shouldn’t mention other people, which shows his understanding of the context!) and replied that anybody hearing such a claim without evidence might have cause to be concerned. But of course, the person making the claim should produce evidence to back up the claim. Without that, it is meaningless.
- I also wanted to acknowledge something put to me on Twitter yesterday, that the language used is an anti-Semitic trope, as they’re described. That’s as may be, but that was the language that was put to me, and I notice nobody has taken the commenter to task. If I had changed the words, I would have been changing the meaning of what was being put to me, and that would not have been acceptable.
- I wanted to mention my defence of Ken Livingstone, and the fact that he was unfairly attacked in 2016 when he discussed anti-Semitism claims. Note that I don’t defend his 2017 comments as I have not seen evidence to support them.
- I wanted to take issue with Labour’s dispute resolution system, which squeezes defendants out of their own cases and makes it almost impossible to defend against a negative report from party officers.
- And I wanted to point out that the attack on me is not only libel but an act of violence, intended to persuade people that I can’t be trused and put me off reading This Site, thereby cutting off an important source of income and impoverishing me.
How well did I do? I’m afraid you’ll have to visit the LBC page and listen to the interview to find out. I did, and was surprised to hear some of Nick Ferrari’s comments for the first time. He must have been trying to interrupt me but I couldn’t hear him very well.
Notice that my voice is removed from the beginning of the clip, when Mr Ferrari is listing things I’m supposed to have said. For the authentic experience, insert my voice saying, “No I didn’t!” after every assertion – you can hear my voice fading in after the third.
Oh, and a welcome by-product of the exchange seems to be that people are donating to the site. Gratitude goes out to everyone who has donated so far; if you haven’t, and want to, the “Donate” button is below the article text.
(When listening to the interview, please bear in mind that I’ve got quite a bad cold at the moment, so my voice sounds strange and you may hear me breathing in an odd way. Normally I have the voice of an angel, of course.)
Nick Ferrari was involved in a heated row with a Labour activist who had been accused of denying the Holocaust.
The Sunday Times reported that Mike Sivier was being re-admitted to the party, provided he attends a workshop about anti-Semitism.
However, during a testy exchange with Nick, Mr Sivier revealed he had turned down the option as he is innocent of the accusations against him.
However, the Labour activist did admit that the party has a problem with anti-Semitism.
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