Was Sunday Times smear timed to influence Jewish Labour Movement confidence vote on Corbyn?

Jeremy Corbyn is clearly not an enemy of the Jewish people.

Of course it was. We are looking at a co-ordinated campaign of disinformation about Labour and its leader.

In case you’ve been living under a rock since around 11pm on April 6: The Sunday Times has published another smear piece claiming a link between Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism. I debunked it immediately (here) and now the Labour Party has also attacked the article as a load of nonsense.

According to a Guardian report, “Labour said the figures… were not accurate and that lines had been selectively leaked from emails to misrepresent their overall contents.”

This corresponds exactly with the way the author of the Sunday Times article, Gabriel Pogrund, treated me when he smeared me in a piece in February last year.

I have to admit I am not wholly sympathetic to Labour as regards this defence, because the party is guilty of using the same practice – selectively quoting information – to create a false impression that I was an anti-Semite (from which Mr Pogrund took his cue when he wrote his piece about me, although he also altered the material to fabricate another false claim).

It would be easy to ask how party representatives feel, now that the shoe is on the other foot.

It would be satisfying to point out that this is what happens when you try to appease an aggressor by giving in to its claims and helping persecute innocent people.

And in the run-up to the Jewish Labour Movement’s annual general meeting, at which members are expected to support a vote of “no confidence” in Mr Corbyn, I think it is important that the Labour leadership be made aware of its huge blunder and the harm it has done to innocent people and the party’s own good name.

The Guardian quotes shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti pleading with the JLM “to stay in the Labour movement and to tackle racism together, not to personalise it and make it about Jeremy Corbyn, because he is one person and he won’t be leader forever”. Wrong!

Although it is the Labour Party’s official Jewish affiliate, the JLM does not require its members to be Jewish, or even to be members of the Labour Party. It is a huge security risk to Labour as it provides an opportunity for supporters of other political organisations to infiltrate and sabotage Labour affairs.

One example of this is the way JLM members have secretly and unethically recorded Labour members during events at party conferences in 2016 and 2017, at which those members had the right to expect confidentiality, in order to falsely accuse those members. Why on Earth would anybody do this?

It is clear that the Jewish Labour Movement has a different agenda from that of the Labour Party and it is time the organisation was expelled.

There are far more appropriate alternative organisations that could take over as the party’s official Jewish affiliate. Jewish Voice for Labour represents Jewish people who are members of the Labour Party exclusively – no entryists – and is far more appropriate as a representative of Jewish Labour views.

If you’re still unconvinced that The Sunday Times and the Jewish Labour Movement are trying to spread false claims that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite and that the Labour Party under him is rife with anti-Semitism, perhaps you should consider Mr Corbyn’s record. Feel free to check the following facts for yourself, if you like:

1. In October 1936, Jeremy Corbyn’s mother participated in the battle of Cable Street in defence of British Jews after British fascists had staged an assault on the area. Corbyn was raised in a household passionately opposed to antisemitism in all its forms.

2. In 23rd April 1977, Corbyn organised a counter-demonstration to protect Wood Green from a neo-nazi march through the district. The area had a significant Jewish population.

3. On 7 November 1990, Corbyn signed a motion condemning the rise of antisemitism in the UK

4. In 2002 Jeremy Corbyn led a clean-up and vigil at Finsbury Park Synagogue which had been vandalised in an anti-Semitic attack

5. On 30 April 2002, Corbyn tabled a motion in the House of Commons condemning an anti-Semitic attack on a London Synagogue

6. On 26 November 2003, Jeremy Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion condemning terrorist attacks on two synagogues

7. In February 2009, Jeremy Corbyn signed a parliamentary motion condemning a fascist for establishing a website to host antisemitic materials

8. On 24th March 2009, Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion praising British Jews who resisted the Holocaust by risking their lives to save potential victims

9. Nine years ago, Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion praising “Jewish News”for its pioneering investigation into the spread of antisemitism on Facebook

10. On 9 February 2010, Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion calling for an investigation into Facebook and its failure to prevent the spread of antisemitic materials on its site.

11. On 27 October 2010, Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion praising the late Israeli Prime Minister for pursuing a two state solution to the Israel/Palestine question.

12. On 13 June 2012, Corbyn sponsored and signed a motion condemning the BBC for cutting a Jewish Community television programme from its schedule.

13. 1 October 2013, Corbyn appeared on the BBC to defend Ralph Miliband against vile antisemitic attacks by the UK press.

14. Five years ago Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion condemning antisemitism in sport.

15. On 1 March 2013, Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion condemning and expressing concern at growing levels of antisemitism in European football.

16. On 9 January 2014, Jeremy Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion praising Holocaust education programmes that had taken 20,000 British students to Auschwitz.

17. On 22 June 2015, Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion expressing concern at the neo-nazi march being planned for an area of London with a significant Jewish population.

18. On 9 October 2016, Corbyn, close to tears, commemorated the 1936 Battle of Cable Street and recalled the role his mother played in defending London’s Jewish community.

19. On 3 December 2016, Corbyn made a visit to Terezin Concentration Camp where Jewish people were murdered by the Nazis. It was Jeremy’s third visit to such a camp, all of which were largely unreported in the most read UK papers.

20. Last year, a widely-endorsed 2018 academic report found ninety-five serious reporting failures in the reporting of the Labour antisemitism story with the worst offenders The Sun, the Mail & the BBC.

21. On 28 February 2016, five months after becoming leader, Jeremy Corbyn appointed Baroness Royall to investigate antisemitism at Oxford University Labour Club.

22. On 27 April 2016 Corbyn suspended an MP pending an investigation into antisemitism.

23. A day later, Corbyn suspended the three times Mayor of London after complaints of antisemitic comments.

24. On 29 April 2016, Corbyn launched an inquiry into the prevalence of antisemitism in the Labour Party. In spite of later changes in how the inquiry was reported, it was initially praised by Jewish community organisations.

25. In Corbyn’s first seven months as leader of the Labour Party, just ten complaints were received about antisemitism. 90% of those were suspended from the Labour Party within 24 hours.

26. In September 2017, Corbyn backed a motion at Labour’s annual conference introducing a new set of rules regarding antisemitism.

27. In the six months that followed the introduction of the new code of conduct, to March 2018, 94% of the fifty-four people accused of antisemitism remained suspended or barred from Labour Party membership. Three of the fifty-four were exonerated.

28. When Jennie Formby became general secretary of the party last year, she appointed a highly-qualified in-house Counsel, as recommended in the Chakrabarti Report.

29. In 2018, Labour almost doubled the size of its staff team handling investigations and dispute processes.

30. Last year, to speed up the handling of antisemitism cases, smaller panels of 3-5 NEC members were established to enable cases to be heard more quickly.

31. Since 2018, every complaint made about antisemitism is allocated its own independent specialist barrister to ensure due process is followed.

32. The entire backlog of cases outstanding upon Jennie Formby becoming General Secretary of the Labour Party was cleared within 6 months of Jennie taking up her post.

33. Since September 2018, Labour has doubled the size of its National Constitutional Committee (NCC) – its senior disciplinary panel – from 11 to 25 members to enable it to process cases more quickly.

34. Under Formby and Labour’s left-run NEC, NCC arranged elections at short notice to ensure the NCC reached its new full capacity without delay.

35. Since later 2018, the NCC routinely convenes a greater number of hearing panels to allow cases to be heard and finalised without delay.

36. In 2018, the NEC established a ‘Procedures Working Group’ to lead reforms in the way disciplinary cases are handled.

37. The NEC adopted the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and all eleven examples of antisemitism attached to it.

38. A rule change agreed at Conference in 2018 means that all serious complaints, including antisemitism, are dealt with nationally to ensure consistency.

39. Last year, Jennie Formby wrote to the admins and moderators of Facebook groups about how they can effectively moderate online spaces and requested that any discriminatory content be reported to the Labour Party for investigation.

40. Since last year, no one outside Labour’s Governance and Legal Unit can be involved in decision-making on antisemitism investigations. This independence allows decisions free from political influence to be taken.

Is that clear enough for everyone?

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6 thoughts on “Was Sunday Times smear timed to influence Jewish Labour Movement confidence vote on Corbyn?

  1. Simon Tucker

    Don’t you think it is time that the Labour Party told the JLM that they are no longer welcome in the Party? There are other Jewish Labour bodies who are not actively working to bring down the leadership, are not acting as the propaganda mouthpiece of the Israeli government, and are happy with Labour’s direction of travel. Does the Labour Party need the JLM?

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