I have a feeling PoliticsHome didn’t expect this.
“Jules Rutherford, who is due to start her new job as Labour’s head of membership on Monday, retweeted a post condemning the ‘smears against the party leader’,” the site trumpeted yesterday (July 6).
The tweet was by one Jack Jazz, although it could have been by one of many people. It linked to a video in which Professor Norman Finkelstein described the anti-semitism claims as “witch-hunt hysteria”.
Here’s the tweet, with the video. As you can see, Prof Finkelstein – who is himself Jewish, let’s not forget – makes a convincing case for a “conspiracy” against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.
#BBCQT This is Professor Norman Finkelstein on the antisemitism smears which are being used as a political weapon against Jeremy Corbyn. These smears are damaging the fight against real #antisemitism.
PLEASE RETWEET IF YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THE LIES. pic.twitter.com/nRo13gm3sd
— Jack Jazz (@JackkJazz) July 4, 2019
Ms Rutherford has apparently deleted her Twitter account in response to a backlash from the usual holier-than-thous – but it seems this may have been premature.
Ordinary people across the social media are standing up for her.
Here‘s Pete Flynn on Twitter: “Jules Rutherford retweets Jack Jazz who has posted an interview with Jewish Professor Norman Finkelstein saying that allegations of anti-semitism are being used to smear the Labour leadership & Party. And you’re suggesting this is a bad thing because?”
See the video https://t.co/Z9ewpg5wNA shared by Jules Rutherford. It's actually Norman Finkelstein calling out the antisemitism smear campaign. He says the campaign is by elites using major Jewish orgs, not vice versa. Needless to say no-one says "all antisemitism was a smear" https://t.co/Gb3Q4mGIuW
— Jews Sans Frontieres (@jewssf) July 6, 2019
(And let’s all remember that the Board of Deputies is a big gang of unelected nobodies.)
And Tony Greenstein, a Jew who has himself been smeared as an anti-Semite, had this to say to PoliticsHome editor Kevin Schofield:
why shouldn't Jules Rutherford retweet a video by Norman Finkeklstein, both of whose parents were in extermination camps? he knows more about genuine anti-semitism than you or your scummy press friends – call yourself a journalist? you're a semi house trained polecat https://t.co/sxvOeRMUn8
— Tony Greenstein (@TonyGreenstein) July 6, 2019
His comments on the quality of the journalism may well be justified. There are, after all, lots of websites run by people who call themselves journalists – look at the Times, Telegraph, Mail and Express sites if you don’t believe me – but in fact have no qualifications at all and it would be interesting to see if Mr Schofield’s fides are bona.
Many other Twitter examples are available.
“Yes It is a smear,” stated Alan Price on Facebook. “Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t have [an] antisemitic bone in his body. Yes our rapid membership expansion pulled in a few twats. And yes a few of our members conflated extreme Zionism with being Jewish. That’s something to address and confront, but to say the Labour party is antisemitic, to say Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic, that is a smear.”
His comment on the Labour for Democratic Socialism page was supported by many others, who stated Ms Rutherford’s tweet was “Someone being honest”, “Reasonable enough. Good on her”, and “About right to me”.
But of course the witch-hunt had to rear its hideous head. Linda Ellis wrote: “Oh dear she will regret it they will take her job away for being honest,” and efforts are already being made to do that – an online petition has been launched, calling for Ms Rutherford’s removal.
But we can all see, by now, how juvenile this witch-hunt really is.
There is no evidence against Jules Rutherford. She retweeted an evidence-packed interview with a Jewish man whose parents survived the holocaust, let’s not forget, who nailed the accusers forensically.
The great thinking Noam Chomsky – also Jewish – has also spoken up in support of Chris Williamson, another victim of the witch-hunt.
This tide is turning. The screamers can’t claim to be standing up for Jewish people when Jewish people are standing against them.
They’ll try to smear those people – both Prof Finkelstein and Mr Chomsky have been accused in the past – but the mud won’t stick.
In the end, the spotlight will turn. And then we’ll be asking what Mr Schofield, Marie van der Zyl and all the other witch-hunters expected to gain from their smears.