Vox Political piece on Rachel Riley’s abusive behaviour provokes – from her followers – abusive behaviour

I knew this would happen. When I wrote my already-hugely-popular article, contrasting Rachel Riley’s statement about getting “extra protection” on Countdown because of death threats with the fact that a teenage girl she abused on Twitter had also received death threats, I stated:

I find myself in a unique position to comment on this as a person who has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism – by some of the people with whom Ms Riley has allied herself – and been shown to be demonstrably innocent. Considering the quality of the debate, I wonder if I’ll be accused again as a result of this article.

And of course I was.

What follows is an attempt at a chronological timeline of the abuse I have received on Twitter since that article was published less than 12 hours ago (at the time of writing). I’ll try to provide a commentary indicating some of the common abuse issues they highlight.

I think Mike Allen Jones was the first to weigh in:

https://twitter.com/mikeallenjones/status/1089234839591636992

[Note – May 19, 2019: It seems Mr Jones has changed his name since he originally posted this tweet. I wonder why?]

“Anti-Semitic”? “Trolls”? “Racist party leader”?

None of these claims can be taken at face value. How does this person know that they are “anti-Semitic trolls”? How does he know that they are members of a political party (note that he doesn’t say which one)? And how does he know they are “emboldened by a racist party leader”?

These are claims without evidence. As I have made clear in recent posts, these should never be taken at face value because that is how lies gain traction. Any claims of fact must be supported with evidence.

Still, I misunderstood. I thought he was suggesting that the teenage girl mentioned in the article had made violent threats to Ms Riley. Mea culpa. That’s why I made the response I did, to him and to “Rabbi Zvi Solomons”, who responded:

https://twitter.com/RabbiZvi/status/1089343810646224896

https://twitter.com/RabbiZvi/status/1089345695935594496

For the record, I have never denied that anti-Semitism exists in the Labour Party. It exists in all large organisations. My claim has always been that it is not the epidemic that some have claimed it to be. You can trace that attitude right back to 2016, when I first became involved in the anti-Semitism debate.

The same person responded by retweeting the false claims of the so-called Campaign Against Antisemitism, that kicked off the witch-hunt against me that started in May 2017.

They don’t, of course. Anyone checking the claims in the CAA article with the original articles that appeared on This Site will see that the so-called charity has been playing fast-and-loose with the facts.

Here’s @Lifeonacanal with more evidenceless nonsense:

[This person has deleted their tweet. Guilty conscience, perhaps? Unfortunately for them, I made screenshots – it’s a tactic I learned from the witch-hunt crowd.]

This is a person who has previously sent abuse my way, hence the “Still waiting for that high court summons you promised”. I may get around to it one day – if they annoy me enough, and if I find out it would be worth my while to go to the expense of litigation. Currently it seems clear that everyone who matters knows that claims of anti-Semitism against me are false, so it seems I would be unlikely to prove any damage to my reputation. So why bother?

As I never knowingly publish lies, I can’t be still posting any. This was another unevidenced claim that can be safely filed away as a lie in itself.

The comment about being “expelled for antisemitism” refers to the Labour Party’s shockingly shoddy compliance procedure, which I underwent after the party was sent a copy of the Campaign Against Antisemitism’s lies. It culminated in a hearing before a panel of the party’s National Constitutional Committee that I have described as a “kangaroo court” – with good reason, as you can see from this article.

The evidence against me was leaked to The Sunday Times, which published an article full of lies about me – and four other newspapers published copycat pieces soon after (The Mail, The Sun, The Express, and the Jewish Chronicle). All have been forced to publish corrections after press regulator IPSO found these articles to be factually inaccurate in their claims.

I have contacted the Labour Party, saying that the claims have been proved false by an organisation that holds itself to a higher legal standard and I must now be reinstated, but have had no response, so I will reluctantly initiate court action soon.

The “nazi cartoons” are, of course, nothing of the sort. Years ago, I wrote a comic strip called Hard-Boiled Hitler, which turned the Nazi leader, his followers, and his beliefs into subjects of ridicule. IPSO found there was no evidence to support claims that the strip showed I was anti-Semitic and I published an article about it – to put an end to ridiculous claims about it – here.

As for my comment that this person was “lying about the dead” – well…:

Sadly, some people just will not be told:

There were a few tweets that made false claims, which I had to correct, like this:

Some were simply vile:

These are the people who support Rachel Riley. I wonder if she is proud.

The next one at least makes a stab at an argument. But it goes pear-shaped pretty quickly:

https://twitter.com/Majeh19/status/1089252758195224582

“Offence can not be given only taken”? What if someone sets out to be offensive, then? I mean, calling me an “imbecile” was intentionally offensive, I think. The threats to Ms Riley’s safety were part of the abuse, so I stand by my words.

Here’s some more intentionally-offensive abuse:

https://twitter.com/GeoffProfit/status/1089344479675514880

I don’t know why anyone would think I’m an idiot from my reference to Ms Riley as a “serial abuser”. The article makes its evidence clear and, again, this person puts up no evidence to support his own position.

Here’s more of the same, with a sting in the tail:

https://twitter.com/GeoffProfit/status/1089348645311397888

“He’s probably getting paid or something” – an implication that somebody paid me to put up the article; a claim that I’m a paid troll. At worst, this is conspiracy theorising – which is of course what anti-Semitism is. So now we’re seeing a shameful double-standard.

I don’t know what to make of this one at all:

Or this one:

https://twitter.com/ElJefeJew/status/1089339157804130309

She hadn’t what?

As for the questions – no, I haven’t done any of those things. And I’m not a Corbyn shill either. Notice that  – again – no evidence is put forward to prove the wild accusation.

The following was a response to my tweet publicising the article. As it again is an example of the lack of supporting evidence, I asked for further information:

At the time of writing I haven’t checked my Twitter feed for a few hours, but I’m betting there has been no response.

Again, there’s no evidence to support any of the claims here. To put minds at rest, I’m not in Momentum and I’m not an anti-Semite. The rest is opinion.

Then there’s this:

It’s all in the eye of the beholder I suppose.

And then Tracy Ann Oberman turned up, along with her supporters.

I referred to Ms Oberman in my previous article. On the evidence available, it seemed clear to me that she had exhibited harassing behaviour towards a teenage girl with anxiety issues who had politely pointed out that Ms Riley’s claims about anti-Semitism were inaccurate and suggested that she had fallen in with the wrong friends. See the article for more information.

Here’s Ms Oberman’s response:

You’ll see that I have asked repeatedly for information about exactly what the untrue accusation is, and for evidence in support of Ms Oberman’s claim. She has yet to provide any. I cannot say whether anything is untrue or not without seeing supporting evidence, nor is anything I have written libel until it is shown to have been false, and to have: exposed her to hatred, ridicule or contempt; caused her to be shunned or avoided; disparaged her in her business, trade, office or profession; or lowered her in the estimation of right-thinking people generally, to such a degree that it causes serious harm to her reputation.

An offer of amends is a complete defence and barrier to litigation, and I have made it clear that if Ms Oberman puts up evidence which shows me to be in the wrong, I will correct my article and apologise. No such evidence has been forthcoming at the time of writing.

Here’s what she has sent me, along with my responses:

There you go – a call for evidence. She ignored it:

Again, a call for evidence. This one was interrupted by someone called Oz Katerji – presumably a supporter of Ms Oberman:

Mr Katerji was referring to another article by me, on the attacks against supposed chemical weapons factories in Syria. It was supported with evidence. His tweet is not.

His tweet gave Ms Oberman a chance to duck the issue. Her claim that I am “a fraudulent hack” similarly has no supporting evidence, nor is her claim that I’m “unpopular”. And “ten DMs from other journalists saying ‘sue his arse off'”? Meaningless.

Here’s my offer to delete and retract – if I get evidence. But oh, look, actress Frances Barber turns up to distract us all again:

https://twitter.com/francesbarber13/status/1089347300101668864

You would have thought, by now, that a person who had been wronged would have stumped up some evidence to prove it, but no – all we see is more abuse.

Ms Barber continues with an attack on my reputation which is, yet again, unevidenced. Her comment about me calling “women” who are threatened with death ‘serial abusers’ is only half the story. I point out that a young woman who is among the abused has also been threatened with death, as a consequence of having been targeted for abuse. This is not mentioned. Are we to take it that Ms Barber thinks it is reasonable for this girl to receive death threats as a result of Ms Riley’s irresponsibility, but that Ms Riley’s own behaviour is perfectly acceptable?

No answers were forthcoming, though – only more abuse:

https://twitter.com/francesbarber13/status/1089349567437570048

I think the insults were intended to provoke an emotional reaction. I’ll carry on responding with the facts, I think.

And here are some of the comments from Ms Oberman’s followers. I think they were trying to start a dogpile but it doesn’t seem to have got very far. Here’s Mark Worgan:

“Obscene conduct” is a claim made by Shaun Lawson in his Medium.com article which I quoted, and both he and I suggest that both Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman carry out abuse against other individuals. These are matters of opinion. I would say they are views that a reasonable person may hold, based on the evidence available. It is legally possible to defend such views, even if they are motivated by dislike (or even hatred) of another person. So Mr Worgan, here, has not made a solid case against anyone.

Oz Katerji (remember Mr Katerji?) continues as follows:

My claims are not – to the best of my knowledge – either fraudulent or libellous. Evidence is what you are supposed to present when you make any claim of fact (fraudulent or libellous claims, by definition, can’t be supported with factual evidence so I wonder what this person was trying to achieve here). He then gets into a proper knot by claiming that I can’t make a claim and then demand evidence that people disprove them. This person said I was a “war crimes denier”, but provided no supporting facts. I asked for them.

I don’t think I’m ever going to get them.

Ah, but Mr Katerji doesn’t like the evidence in my article, so he dismisses it:

The claim that I am an “active participant in an intimidation campaign that targets Jews” is, I think, an attempt to claim anti-Semitism by me. But an anti-Semite is a person who hates Jews because they are Jews. I don’t hate anybody involved in this particular issue. The reason I wrote the article was to point out the abhorrent behaviour of certain people who should know better.

Still, at least one person accepted his claim unquestioningly. It got her off the hook again.

I had one from Adam Cailler:

This is from someone called Jimmy, who thinks he (she?) is familiar with my professional career:

It’s not an attempt to gaslight me; I’m very secure in my knowledge of my career and have the clippings to prove it. It’s just plain, ordinary abuse.

Finally, here’s Ooowan Jones:

https://twitter.com/owanjons84/status/1089348528638435328

No it isn’t, but he can try reporting it if he likes. Maybe he has. But get this:

https://twitter.com/owanjons84/status/1089349428337668096

He hadn’t even read the article!

That is the quality of the support for Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman: Abuse, lies (or at least unevidenced claims), and threats.

It will probably get worse before it gets better. But these people are bullies, nothing more.

The best thing to do is expose them – so please share this article as widely as you like.

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13 thoughts on “Vox Political piece on Rachel Riley’s abusive behaviour provokes – from her followers – abusive behaviour

  1. Alas Poor Uric

    I’m sorry your are going through all this nonsense again. It’s clear your skills as a debater are vastly superior to your attackers who soon seem to disappear into the mists.

    These crude, unreasoned attacks are a sign of the the times and a Government that encourages dumbed-downess. May’s scandalous statement that ‘the Labour party is rife with antisemitism’ was an ultra-dumbed-down, feckless utterance that tacitly approves this sort of thing.

    Unfortunately we live in an Idiocracy, run by buffoons with no intellectual or moral content.

    Well done Mike, for batting these people off with such clarity and virtuosity.

    As a Jew, I am clear that these people have no real grasp of what anti-semitism REALLY is and have fallen for its weaponisation and use to defame the Labour Party and strengthen neo-liberalism.

    1. Allan Howard

      I have no doubt whatsoever that Rachel Riley and her ‘supporters’ are fully aware that the vast majority of accusations of anti-semitism are false, phoney and contrived and, as such, they know that anti-semitism has been – and IS being – weaponised against JC and the left. And they have absolutely no qualms about being a party to it all and using the very thing that led to the Holocaust to demonise the left and sabotage Jeremy’s leadership. In other words, they are the enemies of democracy, and don’t give a damn about causing concern and consternation amongst many in the Jewish community in the process, and needlass to say, they couldn’t care less about actual anti-semitism.

      1. Bob Vant

        OK…so “…the vast majority of accusations of anti-semitism are false, phoney and contrived.’ Agreed.

        But what about the ones which are real? More importantly, what about the constant denials that there are any?

        And what about “Jeremy’s” (hint of cult of individualism there? is he a close personal mate? does he call round to borrow a cup of sugar?) calling Hamas “friends” when their Charter was viciously anti-semitic? When even he said he shouldn’t have said that, there were lots of “left” online posts telling him not to apologise…..on the same grounds as you put here.

        To say “…they couldn’t care less about actual anti-semitism” is as over-the-top as the allegations our opponents make about us.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’m going to jump in on this if I may:

        Regarding real accusations of anti-Semitism: Labour has a compliance system with very well-defined rules, which actually seems to work well with open-and-shut cases of actual A-S. From my own experience I can say that it falls apart when false accusations are made and people within the party system then pervert it in order to produce an unjust result. In fact, the party’s officers failed to follow proper procedures throughout their handling of my case.

        You suggest there are constant denials that there are any real cases of anti-Semitism but that is not my experience. Are you suggesting party officers and representatives have said this? I’d like to see your evidence if so. If not, then who is making these claims? What are their affiliations and how can you be sure? My impression is that there are a lot of fifth columnists around who claim to be speaking for Labour but in fact have nothing to do with the party. Mr Howard only claimed a majority of accusations are false and I hope you are not trying to say he was denying that there were any real cases.

        You give yourself away with your reference to Mr Corbyn calling Hamas “friends”. It was a diplomatic courtesy at a meeting, nothing more than that. Remember that Mr Corbyn is a firm believer in the power of negotiation to end violence and warfare – and the Northern Ireland peace process supports that point of view. People accuse him of being on friendly terms with the IRA while the Troubles were ongoing, but at least he made no secret of the fact that he talked with the political representatives of that organisation; Margaret Thatcher also spent years negotiating with them, but in secret and with no result.

        That’s Labour. What about the other UK political parties?

  2. Simon Tucker

    The problem of antisemitism is the phrase itself. It has set up a special interest group who apply the term to anyone they don’t like or whose policies they feel threaten their own special view of themselves. It is the problem of special identification by these people for these people to set themselves up against other people, that I have a problem with.

    Having worked in IT for nearly 40 years I have worked with and for people of all sorts of backgrounds, ethnic origin and religions, and my only criteria for judging whether or not I like them or want them to like me has been their individual characteristics, not any sort of group membership or assessment. And this is where I have a big problem with antisemitism, because it takes away from the responsibility of the individual to be a decent human being, and confers onto a group an automatic assumption that they are all decent human beings.

    It really doesn’t matter how people describe themselves until they think it should give them special privileges or special protections. I am all in favour of special protection for the weak and the disadvantaged in society but cannot for the l,ife of me see why that should extend to people because of their beliefs in their particular version of the Great Spaghetti Monster. I happen to think that the Palestinian people deserve special protection. Through no fault of their own they were driven from their lands, driven into “refugee” camps. They continue to have their land stolen, their children killed, their every day existence controlled by a hostile power intent on ensuring they never get their freedom back. Something in which the whole of Europe and the US is complicit and shamefully inert whenever there are new atrocities; the irony being, of course, that the Palestinian people are themselves Semitic yet they are deliberately excluded from being covered by the definition whilst they are beaten, abused, shot, bombed, starved and dispossessed by the armed forces of another Semitic people.

    I await the accusations of antisemitism

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      One point: While Palestinians are indeed a Semitic people, the term “anti-Semitism” cannot apply to them because it is a term created by an anti-Semite to refer to hatred of Jews, and nobody else.

  3. Brian

    The ‘anti humanity’ brigade are indeed busy with their deflection labeling. Mike, there is no solution to this other than reject reverse dialogue and maintain one’s sanity.

  4. Graham Corran

    Just a message of support. It’s very sad that we live in times when the toxic logic of abuse can overwhelm reason.

  5. Bob Vant

    Wow! This took me back!! Sadly, to a long-running online run-in with fellow Labour Party members who put words in my mouth, and even told me what I believe, about Jeremy Corbyn. It shocked me at the time, but I’ve come to accept that for some it’s standard behaviour to anyone who is seen as not being enough “..in love..” with him.

    Let’s by all means expose that sort of shameful behaviour from nutters we disagree with. But let’s accept that we have an element of it in our camp. It comes from folk whose attitude to JC is unhealthy to say the least…..”Kinder, Gentler..” my Jim Royle….more like “Arrogant, Intolerant.”

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      My own experience of people putting words in my mouth (or on my keyboard as it was online) is of anti-Semitism witch-hunters; as I had not said anything anti-Semitic, they simply pretended I had.
      You can see some examples if you go through my Twitter timeline for Saturday and Sunday.
      Maybe there is an element of that in the Labour Party – my words were certainly twisted in the ‘evidence’ that was used to expel me.
      It is also possible that we are seeing a number of fifth columnists in action – people who pretend to be on one side but actually aren’t.
      That possibility was put to me on Twitter and it seems reasonable.

      1. Bob Vant

        Now then……slow down, Mike…..not more paranoia, this time on “5th Column”?

        The people I mention are members I’ve known for decades. That’s why it came as such a shock. Friends I’d worked with over the years turned into a snarling, paranoid-sounding, cultish mob.

        That’s why I joined in this discussion. I recognised your frustration at being accused of cobblers, then asking patiently and politely for evidence, only to be ignored and have the original accusation levelled back at you. Imagine that coming from your own side?

        Sad to say, mate, but “….the toxic logic of abuse can overwhelm reason….” IN the Labour Party. And my experience is that it always comes from “Jeremy’s” people. Harsh, but true……and please note that doesn’t mean I’m saying that all “Jeremy’s” people are like that.

        I’ll come back to the Alan Howard posting later….but, as here, my comments are based on what members I know say about anti-Semitism in the Party.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Are you suggesting that I’m paranoid? Not at all. I’ve seen a few exposed for what they were.
        They weren’t Corbyn supporters, though.
        Your own experience may well be different; I can’t comment on that – only on mine.
        My point is that there have been people who pretended to be on my side, but clearly weren’t. They gave themselves away in some of the things they said and the ways they said them.
        I do agree that reason can be overwhelmed in the minds of people who are, let’s face it, obsessed with particular issues. Consider my experience at the hands of certain Labour Party officers who were obsessed with finding me guilty of anti-Semitism, based on no evidence at all. They weren’t Corbyn supporters either – they wanted me removed because I was.
        So I am left to wonder at the nature of the Corbyn-supporting Labour members you know, who are clearly extraordinary among supporters of Mr Corbyn. And I wonder where I may find evidence of such behaviour.

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