This is utterly vile: On the day 11 people were murdered in a synagogue in Pittsburgh – apparently by an adherent of the political far-right, bandwagon-jumpers claiming to speak for British Jews were lining up to accuse left-wingers in the United Kingdom.
Authorities in the US have alleged that 46-year-old Robert Bowers burst into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and gunned down 11 people who were there for Shabbat – the Jewish sabbath, just before 9.54am (EDT) on Saturday, October 27. Six others were wounded.
Bowers was arrested after a short gunfight with police. He has been charged with 29 criminal offences, including 11 federal hate-crime charges. The 11 counts of using a firearm to kill carry a maximum penalty of death.
Other charges include obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death, weapons offences and seriously injuring police officers. The FBI was investigating the shooting as a federal hate crime.
According to The Guardian, “The suspect appeared to have far-right views… Social media accounts in the name of Robert Bowers contained antisemitic rants.”
In the UK, someone apparently connected with those who have been accusing Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the Labour Party of anti-Semitism used a sock-puppet Twitter account to launch a false-flag attack against Labour.
In response to a tweet by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing sorrow at the attack, this account tweeted: “YOU BROUGHT THIS ON YOURSELVES.”
The person behind the tweet was an apparently-nonexistent entity calling itself Dean Brown (@DeanBrownLab), who was described by anti-Corbyn Twitter account ‘Left Over’ as “a former Labour Party staffer, is a
@jeremycorbynsupporter and a member of both @UKLabour and @PeoplesMomentum”. No such person exists.
The account appeared to have been created to post the tweet, and bears similarity to another account – @WesBrownLab – that fooled Yvette Cooper last year. “Wesley Brown” self-described as “Special Adviser to RT. Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP” – but nobody of that name has ever worked for the Labour Party, let alone as an advisor to Mr Corbyn.
You can read the full details on the Skwawkbox blog. Notice that the accounts listed at the end of the ‘Left Over’ tweet belong to people (or groups of them) who have been regular features of the campaign to use false accusations of anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn and his (genuine) supporters:
— The SKWAWKBOX (@skwawkbox) October 29, 2018
Saddeningly, left-wing comedy talent David Schneider joined in by attacking “the left’s and Labour’s failure on anti-semitism” – with reference to two tweets, neither of which could be said for sure to come from Left, or Labour, sources. He tweeted:
People who condemn All Lives Matter and their attempt to shut down Black Lives Matter but who, when it comes to Jews, tell me: “yeah but All Lives Matter”. Or who, like LibDem peer Jenny Tonge, blame Israel for the attack on American Jews. pic.twitter.com/Q7kFKWMm6U
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) October 28, 2018
The author of the first tweet he mentioned was this person:
yes-disgraceful-but would you condemn the fucking atroicites in Palestine-fucking idiot https://t.co/8nIqzyBnXH
— Philip Mathew (@PhilipM67375789) October 27, 2018
Maybe I didn’t go far enough into his timeline to find out, but while I see plenty of socially-conscious retweets, I don’t see a lot of evidence that this person is a committed lefty, let alone a Labour supporter. I’m prepared to be contradicted on that one. As for the reference to a separate matter in a different country – well, we’ll come to that.
Jenny Tonge is, of course, a Liberal Democrat and therefore neither left-wing nor a member or supporter of the Labour Party.
Yet Mr Schneider tweeted:
At the core of the left’s and Labour's failure on anti-semitism is the inablilty to separate out Jews and Israel. Most anti-semitism on the left may be unwitting or due to ignorance but it is still anti-semitism. And it contributes to a mistrust of Jews that helps the far right.
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) October 28, 2018
(For clarity, Mr Schneider is wrong where he says anti-Semitism may be unwitting, and needs to clarify what he means by “due to ignorance”. Anti-Semitism is hatred of Jews, because they are Jews – and people can’t hate unwittingly or because they don’t know what is considered to be hatred in this instance. Even the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism states that A-S only “may” be evidenced by apparent correlation with the examples it quotes.)
Here’s a left-wing response to the Pittsburgh synagogue killings:
The massacre of Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue is a sickening atrocity, an act of murderous hatred against all Jews. Thoughts and solidarity with Jews in Pittsburgh, the US and everywhere.
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) October 27, 2018
This is the consequence of the rise of fascism in western democracies. Governments have role modeled appalling behaviours and language, which is read as a permission to hate. https://t.co/HJs4BwjS5s
— Revolution Breeze #PCPEU (@suejonessays) October 27, 2018
This is the Skwawkbox response:
Just heard about the horrific synagogue attack in Pittsburgh. Thoughts and sympathies are with the victims and their families. Words fail.
— The SKWAWKBOX (@skwawkbox) October 27, 2018
Angela Rayner is Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary:
'What disgusting human being thinks it’s ok to open fire on innocent people at a synagogue? My thoughts are with everyone hurt and affected by this vile despicable act of violence. https://t.co/WnTMywnbJV
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) October 27, 2018
John McDonnell is Labour’s Shadow Chancellor:
I send my condolences and deepest sympathy to the Jewish community. This was an appalling crime of devastating brutality and desecration. https://t.co/MPBR3ojL52
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) October 27, 2018
And Jeremy Corbyn is Labour’s leader, of course – and a man who has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism too many times to count:
My thoughts are with those killed or injured in this horrific act of antisemitic violence, and with their loved ones. We must stand together against hate and terror.https://t.co/3fpyISfJM0
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 27, 2018
All have given the dead and wounded of the Pittsburgh shooting the respect they deserve.
Guardian journalist Christina Patterson on sky news papers review said Jeremy Corbyn encourages antisemitism in the labour party when discussing the Pittsburgh shootings. One of the worst slanderous attacks i have heard by a journalist on tv against Corbyn. See it on SKWARKBOX
— Texmac10 (@Terrymc1939) October 28, 2018
Fox News got in on the act, over in the States:
Fox News host: ‘Anti-Semitism from the left’ is the real cause of hateful attacks on Jewshttps://t.co/H4FozdALbU
— Raw Story (@RawStory) October 28, 2018
This is despite the fact that the man accused of the killings is said to be a neo-Nazi.
I mentioned David Schneider’s condemnation of people who linked the Pittsburgh incident with Israel’s attacks on Palestinians. He believed they were inappropriate, so I hope he will join with other right-thinking people in condemning the way Labour’s Chris Williamson was dogpiled by Twitter users for retweeting a link to a Skwawkbox article about the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews using apparently anti-Semitic language.
This completely separate story was linked with Pittsburgh by the dogpilers, for no reason other than that they broke on the same day. Here’s Mr Williamson’s tweet – the dogpiling starts immediately:
Wow, well blow me down with a feather. https://t.co/pi8LCtQqv7
— Chris Williamson MP #GTTO (@DerbyChrisW) October 27, 2018
‘Left Over’ and the accounts mentioned in its tweet, the five UK journalists who linked the Pittsburgh killings with Jeremy Corbyn, Chris Williamson’s dogpilers and – sadly – David Schneider are all responsible for an anti-left, anti-Labour, anti-Corbyn-and-his-supporters smear that is all the more disgusting because of its context.
All should make public apologies immediately. Some should face disciplinary procedures for false reporting.
But we all know that’s not going to happen, don’t we?
Not while anti-Semitism is the one accusation people can make against political figures without any need for proof whatsoever.
I know far too much about such matters myself. I was accused of anti-Semitism by fake crusaders similar to those listed above, and suspended from the UK Labour Party, nearly 18 months ago. After a botched decision by the party’s National Executive Committee that heard no evidence from me, I will finally have a chance to state my innocence next month.
I am also appealing for people who support justice to help fund legal action against my accusers. If you are willing to help, please visit my JustGiving page and donate what you can.
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