This Site’s colleague over at The Critique Archives makes an important point about the behaviour of Labour MP Luciana Berger, who has been whipping up outrage by faking complaints of anti-Semitism.
Ms Berger was the most vocal critic of Peter Willsman’s recorded outburst against Trump-supporting members of the Jewish community who, he said, were “making up daft information without any evidence at all” – referring to accusations of anti-Semitism.
Ironically, he was then subjected to exactly the same treatment. As you can see from the extract below, Ms Berger’s complaint about Mr Willsman contains no evidence at all.
The point is that Ms Berger seems to subscribe to the false interpretation of what’s become known as the Macpherson principle – that an accusation of racist (in this case anti-Semitic) behaviour must be true if the person making it belongs to an ethnic minority.
It is a transparently false assumption. Suppose the police received such a complaint – do you honestly think they would take legal action against the alleged perpetrator without first having investigated the facts of the matter for themselves? They would be laughed out of court. In fact, the case would never even get that far.
But I reckon it is under that principle that Ms Berger made her big mistake – prejudicing the cases of two Labour councillors who have been accused of anti-Semitism.
My concern, as a person who is experiencing Labour’s prejudiced disputes system for himself, is that nobody investigating these cases will care. My own case indicates an automatic presumption of guilt, simply because I have been accused.
(If you doubt that, allow me to remind you of the paragraph on my charge sheet, urging Labour’s NCC to find me guilty, no matter what the evidence shows: “There are current and potential Labour voters of all backgrounds who are watching carefully what the Party does with cases like Mr Sivier’s. Taking definitive action in this case would send a clear and unambiguous message to all of them that Mr Sivier and the views he published extensively have absolutely no place in the party.”)
I agree that Ms Berger has brought the Labour Party into disrepute by publicly accusing other party members and by endangering the (claimed, if not actual) impartiality of the investigation process.
She should be punished for these offences – behaviour for which, let us remind ourselves, there is clear evidence, unlike her own claims about other people.
It will be interesting to see whether Labour’s disputes mechanism actually allows any action against her – or if its bosses wish to declare their own prejudice for all the world to see.
If you wish to report Berger’s appalling behaviour, please e-mail the Labour Party’s complaints office at [email protected]. The more reports the party receive about what Berger has done, the more pressure they will come under to bring her to book.
In her determination to prove that the ‘anti-Semitism-in-the-Labour-Party’ controversy is something more than a semi-fantasy, [Luciana Berger] has overstepped an important line.
Berger was interviewed on 31st July – much too gently as usual – by Shelagh Fogarty on LBC Radio about the deafening furore. In particular, Berger was asked about this week’s kerfuffle over Labour NEC member Peter Willsman‘offensively’ suggesting that some British Jews were disturbingly happy about Donald Trump becoming US President.
Fogarty rightly asked Berger to clarify precisely what was anti-Semitic about Willsman’s words. It was noticeable that Berger did not clarify, beyond waffling in a strident but roundabout way about Willsman’s statements being ‘unacceptable’, which really just put the implication of the question in different words. She also failed to explain why Willsman’s words were even untrue. Which of course they were not; the Board of Jewish Deputies, in particular, were tellingly eager to congratulate Trump on becoming President. Given Trump’s ignorant enthusiasm for Zionism, largely based around trying to please Christian fundamentalists in the USA, that is perhaps to be expected.
Fogarty – again as usual – managed to miss Berger’s evasion completely and moved on. To her credit, she soon asked Berger a question she does not get asked nearly often enough in the mainstream media; what evidence is there that anti-Semitism in the Labour Party really is as widespread as she claims? It was here that Berger overstepped from mere McCarthyite cynicism to a possibly indictable violation.
In so doing, Berger has risked prejudicing the investigations, while increasing public pressure on the party to find the two councillors guilty, irrespective of the investigations’ findings. She is also guilty of a lazy form of fallacious thinking that is as worrying to observe in a national legislator as is her poisonous maliciousness; by assuming that the accusation is evidence, instead of the accusation requiring evidence, she has lapsed into infantile circular reasoning. “I know they must be guilty because they’ve been accused, because if they’ve been accused they must be guilty.”
No, It does not work like that, it must never work like that. The accusation must be followed by evidence. When the accusation is the evidence, we enter a world in which anyone can be accused of anything, and they are automatically guilty. Chaos and endless injustice lie down that path.
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