This is very low behaviour from the Sussex Jewish Representative Council – and it is despicable of the Labour Party to entertain it.
It seems Labour has suspended Alex Braithwaite’s membership on suspicion of anti-Semitism, based partly on her having retweeted a link to one of my articles.
Ms Braithwaite was standing as a Labour candidate in the local government elections, and it seems the complaint against her has been made in order to prevent her from gaining a seat.
(That is, after all, the apparent reason I was accused of anti-Semitism – and my Labour membership suspended – back in 2017.)
Here’s the tweet from this organisation that started the trouble:
We are very concerned by a tweet from Labour candidate, Alex Braithwaite @labour52rose. Once again she has questioned and belittled the allegations of antisemitism within the Labour Party. More than this, she again suggests that it is concocted to ‘smear’ Jeremy Corbyn. 1/6 pic.twitter.com/pLRAOx1TxK
— Sussex Jewish Rep Council (@SussexJewishRep) April 7, 2019
Here is a news piece in the local paper. Apparently there have also been pieces in the Torygraph and the Heil.
I don’t know if you’ve read the article in question, dear reader. If you’re a regular on Vox Political, I’ll assume that you have. If so, you will know the reasons I questioned (belittled? no) these latest allegations of anti-Semitism, and why I said it was a smear.
The piece was about allegations in The Sunday Times, by a reporter who smeared me in February 2018; the newspaper had to publish a retraction nearly a year later. Its new claims were based on a similar situation – leaked information from a Labour Party source – and I wrote that they seemed to have as much basis in fact.
Labour duly published information supporting my belief, saying the figures quoted were not accurate and that lines had been selectively leaked from emails to misrepresent their overall contents.
To recap (quoting from my piece):
“At no point in what is visible of the article on the Sunday Times front – which is all that is available to me at this point, and I’m damned if I’ll spend another penny on that hack-rag – is there any confirmation of its information from a Labour Party representative who would know about it. [In fact Labour has denied it.]
“No evidence is given to show whether the claims about particular individuals are accurate or merely allegations.
“And nothing in the visible part of the article directly connects the claims it makes about alleged interference in Labour anti-Semitism investigations with Jeremy Corbyn himself.
“Yet the headline clearly refers to the individuals listed in the piece as ‘Corbyn’s anti-Semite army’.”
That is plenty of evidence to support my claim that the story is a smear piece aimed at Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.
So why has the Sussex Jewish Representative Council taken it upon itself to us my article as evidence that another person is anti-Semitic?
Firstly, re-tweeting articles does not imply endorsement – Ms Braithwaite could have been putting it out to the public for debate and discussion, and there is nothing wrong with that.
And secondly, there is nothing anti-Semitic in the article. Questioning allegations from a suspect source is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
I make no comment on any other behaviour of Ms Braithwaite’s. That is her business and not mine. I merely write to point out that no allegation that uses my articles as evidence of anti-Semitism should possibly be taken seriously and the Sussex Jewish Representative Council has made itself look foolish in so doing.
But the big question is, why has the Labour Party accepted that group’s claim, after denying the allegations in the newspaper? That is contradictory behaviour that undermines faith in the party and those responsible need to come forward and explain themselves.
The Sussex Jewish Representative Council has been contacted for an explanation of its behaviour, but has not responded at the time of writing.
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