Evidence mounts up against the BBC’s Panorama hatchet-job

More than a week after its transmission, the BBC’s Panorama documentary Is Labour Antisemitic? is still attracting huge criticism.

As one of those directly affected by the actions of the people involved in it, I intend to make a complaint – or more likely a series of complaints – to the BBC, and have written a series of articles analysing the programme – that is yet to be completed.

Others have also published important information on this, and I want to collect a lot of it here, for reference – that we can all use.


Here’s Labour’s letter of complaint to the BBC, sent on July 4 – before the programme was transmitted:

I write on behalf of the Labour Party in relation to your planned Panorama programme “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?”.

Our lawyer Gerald Shamash will shortly be sending a letter to the BBC’s group general counsel dealing with legal, statutory and wider editorial concerns and issues. We will also be sending detailed responses tomorrow to the questions and issues raised by your reporter/presenter John Ware to Jeremy Corbyn, Jennie Formby, Shami Chakrabarti and a number of Labour Party staff members, which were received by us on Monday 24th June.

Both from the nature of the questions and their framing, the public record and pronouncements of your reporter/presenter John Ware, and your prior publicity for the programme in the Radio Times, we believe the programme is unlikely to meet the BBC’s obligations of fairness, balance and political impartiality; shows clear signs of political interference and attempts at undue influence in the current EHRC investigations into our disciplinary and complaints procedures; is likely to be politically slanted in language, presentation and balance of interviewees; and relies heavily and one-sidedly on the claims and allegations of politically partisan anonymous / unnamed sources and Conservative-supporting newspapers and organisations.

In particular:

1) From the framing of the programme in the Radio Times profile, it appears that the answer to the question “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?” has already been built into the programme – it refers to the “evasions and contradictions” at the heart of the Labour Party – without hearing the Labour Party’s response, considering the rebuttal of unsubstantiated allegations or interviewing a balanced set of voices and views. The programme has clearly been filming and in production for many months but has only offered us an opportunity to provide balancing interviews and responses last week.

2) The timing and length of the programme (double the time allowed for “The Race for Number Ten”) both point to political interference in a highly charged and sensitive political issue between the main political parties – currently being invoked in the Conservative Party leadership election – as well as undue influence by the BBC in the current EHRC investigation into Labour’s procedures for dealing with antisemitism.

3) Both from the questions posed and the framing of the programme’s agenda, there is clear reliance on unsubstantiated allegations and selective use of data and internal communications by former members of staff, who are openly and publicly opposed to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party and highly critical of him and members of his staff. The reliance on a series of politically partisan and hostile interviewees and informants on a highly sensitive political issue in current domestic politics – without, from what we understand, a range of interviewees with an alternative perspective – shows every sign of breaching the BBC’s obligations and own editorial guidelines to be fair, balanced and even-handed in political controversy.

4) The investigation and focus on instances of antisemitism and their handling in the Labour Party – while reasonable and justifiable on its own terms – will be regarded as a political intervention without a balancing investigation and focus on the incidence of Islamophobia among members of the Conservative Party, particularly in the month when those same members are voting to choose the country’s next Prime Minister. As polling has shown, Islamophobia and anti-Muslim prejudice is more prevalent in British society than antisemitism, and far more prevalent among Conservative party members than instances of antisemitism in the Labour Party. Polling published last week by YouGov and Hope Not Hate shows that nearly half of Conservative Party members hold Islamophobic views. And both surveys by You Gov and Campaign Against Antisemitism on antisemitism in British politics show that antisemitic views are higher among Conservative voters than Labour voters. But BBC coverage has focused far more on the latter than the former. Without an early investigation of Islamophobia in the Conservative party of similar length and prominence, this will inevitably be regarded as evidence of political bias.

5) The choice of John Ware as reporter/presenter of this programme – whose record of public political hostility to Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership of the Labour Party, as well as a series of controversial articles and programmes on the Muslim community, means he cannot be regarded as fair or even-handed on British politics or community relations – will further undermine confidence in its impartiality.

In an article in the neo-conservative magazine Standpoint on 27/6/17, Mr Ware wrote that the Conservative Party “risks letting in a Labour leader whose entire political career has been stimulated by disdain for the West, appeasement of extremism, and who would barely understand what fighting for the revival of British values is really all about”.

In an article on 2/8/18 in the Jewish Chronicle, Mr Ware accused Jeremy Corbyn of using a “classic antisemitic trope” in comments about Israel and Egypt, and argued that anti-Zionism had “morphed into anti-Semitism” “deeply” on the Labour Left. These are the remarks of someone who has clearly and publicly already made their mind up on the issue of Labour and anti-Semitism.

His Panorama programme in 2005 “British Muslims: A Question of Leadership” was described by a former Panorama journalist in the Guardian as “disgusting”, with the presenter acting “like a prosecuting attorney, not a journalist” – and by the then Guardian columnist Madeleine Bunting as “McCarthyite”.

However robust the editorial process, Mr Ware’s public views and priorities will inevitably have shaped his approach to this programme’s content and interviewees, and will be certain to lead to reasonable accusations of bias and lack of fairness.

Contrary to BBC editorial guidelines on presenters, John Ware’s own personal and political views make him unsuitable to present this programme. As well as previous complaints of bias, including one about a documentary he made about Jeremy Corbyn’s 2015 leadership campaign, he has written that Jeremy’s “entire political career has been stimulated by disdain for the West, appeasement of extremism” and says he is someone “who would barely understand what fighting for the revival of British values is really all about”. These allegations have been put to us as being expressed by others – whether Jeremy Corbyn would be at risk of being disciplined now if he repeated previous things he has said, and a suggestion that the Chakrabarti report insulates him from blame and are in fact John Ware’s own views, expressed in an article on August 22nd 2018.

It goes without saying that we do not accept that the Labour Party is antisemitic: we completely reject any such a claim and will strongly contest and challenge through all channels available to us, any such conclusion or implication given in this Panorama programme.

I trust that you will take fully on board the concerns, objections and rebuttals we are providing, will suspend and reconsider the planned broadcast of this programme in this form – and will fully adhere to the BBC’s statutory obligations to be fair, impartial and balanced in its reporting in any reworking of the material.

On July 7 – perhaps as part of an attempt to silence or divert Labour’s criticism, newspapers published claims that Labour, which plans to abolish non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) between organisations and their staff, is hypocritical in that it was accusing the so-called whistleblowers in the Panorama documentary of violating such agreements.

There was one problem: The letter from Labour solicitors Carter-Ruck, on which these claims rely, doesn’t mention NDAs onceIt does raise the question of former disputes chief Sam Matthews leaking information to the press over a prolonged period of time, and the information that he may have provided. As someone whose details were leaked to the press, I have raised this with Labour general secretary Jennie Formby.

Sadly, the deadline for her to respond has passed without any communication from Ms Formby or Labour, so I must turn to law to get satisfaction. This is a shame as it is a matter on which I am prepared to work alongside the party.

Here are images of the Carter-Ruck letter:

Further details are here.

There was an implication that Labour was unfairly cracking down on whistleblowers, but the former Labour employees featured in Panorama weren’t whistleblowers; they did not go to any person or organisation that is accepted as an avenue for such activity:

As for the documentary itself, much information about the “whistleblowers” was omitted, it seems, to present a false impression of them and their character.

The Electronic Intifada published an article which contained the following interesting details:

“Two activists from the Jewish Labour MovementElla Rose and Adam Langleben … appeared on Panorama last night.

“The JLM is an explictly pro-Israel organization which has close ties to the Israeli embassy.

“Indeed, Rose herself is a former embassy employee, who came straight out of that job and into a role as the JLM’s executive director in 2016, soon after the JLM was reactivated to fight against Corbyn.

“Yet not only were these affiliations unmentioned on last night’s BBC program, these two heavily partisan figures were not even named!

“Instead they appeared on screen, distressed, speaking straight to camera. The were presented as sympathetic whistleblowers against Labour Party racism.

“Yet, as The Electronic Intifada has reported in detail for the past four years, the JLM has been one of the main groups promoting and manufacturing the false “Labour anti-Semitism” crisis all along.”

The website also pointed out that Alan Johnson, who tried to set limits within which criticism of Israel may be justified (and beyond which he believed they weren’t) “is an employee of BICOM, the UK’s main Israel lobby group. Once again Panorama did not mention this affiliation.”

And it exposed Alex Richardson:

Another of the young whistleblowers speaking “as a Jew in the Labour Party” was Alex Richardson – a member of the JLM executive.

The BBC did not name him, but I – and many others on social media – recognized him because he was a key figure exposed in Al Jazeera’s 2017 undercover documentaryThe Lobby.

At the time of filming, Richardson was an employee of lawmaker Joan Ryan – who chairs Labour Friends of Israel, which is an Israeli embassy front group.

Ryan, who quit Labour earlier this year, was infamously exposed in Al Jazeera’s film fabricating an instance of “anti-Semitism” at the Labour conference in 2016.

But the film also shows that Richardson was personally involved in that same fabrication.

“Joan convinced me to report the one yesterday because I was made to feel uncomfortable,” the undercover footage shows him telling Labour Friends of Israel’s director Jennifer Gerber.

Yet he privately admitted, “nothing anti-Semitic was said.”

You can watch the relevant clip in the video above.

But a party member was still reported for “anti-Semitism.” She was Jean Fitzpatrick, a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Fitzpatrick was formally investigated by the party and ultimately cleared of accusations of anti-Semitism. But the experience had a disturbing effect on her life, leaving her under a cloud of suspicion.

Another Angry Voice went into the documentary’s falsehoods in a big way:

1. The “documentary” states that at the time of Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader complaints about anti-Semitism were almost non-existent, but the obvious reason for this was that until Jeremy Corbyn became leader, anti-Semitism was widely tolerated within the Labour Party and the Labour ranks. Consider the absolute lack of action when Tony Blair’s spin doctor Alistair Campbell created anti-Semitic attack posters portraying a Jewish political rival as a pig and a Fagin character.

2. The “documentary” allowed a guy called Mike Creighton to assert that new Labour Party members joining the Labour Party after Corbyn’s election as leader brought with them a “worldview” that “allowed anti-Semitism to arise”. The reality of course is that after this membership surge occurred the level of anti-Semitic views within the Labour ranks actually fell dramatically.

This is likely due to the fact that Corbyn attracted a lot of socially progressive left-wing anti-imperialist people back to the party, which diluted the bigoted views of the kind of people who approve of the right-wing economic neoliberal orthodoxy and the imperialist war-mongering that caused the humanitarian catastrophes in Iraq and Libya.

3. The “documentary” makes absolutely no mention of this dramatic fall in anti-Semitic views within the Labour ranks. Neither does it mention that rates of anti-Semitic views are lower within Labour than in other parties like the Tories and Lib-Dems, and lower than the general population too.

This is the kind of context that’s absolutely vital in giving a reasonable impression of the true scale of the problem.

4. The “documentary” includes claims from someone called Louise Withers Green that she interviewed Jackie Walker. Walker claims to have never even met this person and that the claims about her are fabricated.

Walker was provided no right to reply to dispute the claims about her.

5. The “documentary” allowed Labour’s former Chief Disputes Officer Kat Buckingham to claim that the right-wing controlled Labour disputes team were bringing “civility back into proceedings” and another former member called Dan Hogan to claim that “we had a really good team”.

What they had actually been up to was the orchestration of a mass purge of thousands of left-leaning Labour members for “crimes” like once retweeting a Green politicianadmitting they voted for other parties long before they joined Labour, and liking the Foo Fighters too much!

This hyper-partisan purge was aimed at reducing the Corbyn vote and throwing the 2016 leadership election in favour of Owen Smith, hardly what anyone would describe as either “civil”, or “good”.

6. The mass purge failed, and Corbyn was re-elected leader with an even bigger mandate, but the thousands of purged members demanding readmittance created an unmanageably vast backlog of disciplinary cases, meaning that legitimate cases involving anti-Semitism got buried under the pile.

The documentary made no mention whatever of the extraordinary Anyone But Corbyn purge and the essential role it played in creating the massive backlog of disciplinary cases.

7. When the right-wing head of the NEC Ian McNicol was finally replaced by Jennie Formby, she insisted that serious cases like anti-Semitism accusations be sped up. The “documentary” sought to portray her as a terrible sinister figure for wanting to change the disciplinary team responsible for orchestrating the purge, creating such a massive backlog of cases, and sitting on extremely serious cases – including anti-Semitism accusations – for years!

8. Formby, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer, was afforded no right of reply.

9. Unike Formby the former right-wing General Secretary of the NEC Ian McNicol (the guy who oversaw all of this rank incompetence) was allowed a say, in which he claimed that “to try to interfere politically within the [disciplinary team] is just wrong”, which would be an entirely fair point had the  right-wing faction of the party he represents not recently made very public appeals to Jeremy Corbyn to interfere politically by reversing the reinstatement of Chris Williamson. Apparently it’s wrong for the General Secretary to interfere by making sure the party can’t be sued for discrimination over its disciplinary decisions, but somehow right and entirely justifiable to demand that Corbyn personally interferes to expel someone they don’t like!

10. The documentary claims that “one by one party officials tasked with investigating anti-Semitism left their jobs” as if they simply weren’t replaced, when the reality was that they were replaced with a larger and more competent team tasked with dealing with the massive backlog their incompetent predecessors had created.

11. Perhaps the most glaring problem of all was the use of a ridiculously doctored quote from Seumas Milne that was deliberately cut mid sentence to dramatically alter the meaning.

Here’s what the documentary quoted:

“something’s going wrong, and we’re muddling up political disputes with racism.”

and here’s the full sentence:

“But if we’re more than very occasionally using disciplinary action against Jewish members for antisemitism, something’s going wrong, and we’re muddling up political disputes with racism”

So what Milne was actually raising concerns about was Labour anti-Semitism procedures being used to hound Jewish people out of the Labour Party, but the documentary makers deliberately cut the sentence in half to shear it of context and radically alter the meaning.

As yet the BBC have made no explanation of why the quote was doctored in this way, let alone an apology.

John Ware laughing and joking about being one of the worst
anti-Muslim bigots in the British mainstream media.

12. The “documentary” maker John Ware is a former S*n journalist, and renowned anti-Muslim bigot who laughs and jokes about being recognised as one of the five worst Islamophobes in the cesspit that is the UK mainstream media.
It’s extraordinary that the BBC decided to commission such a person to produce a show about the subject of bigotry in politics.

13. The general tone of the entire “documentary” was to give an entirely uncritical hearing to numerous disgruntled former staff members as they completely absolved themselves of blame for the appalling mess they made, excused their theft and destruction of confidential documents, smeared the leadership, and disparaged the hundreds of thousands of left-wing socially liberal members who have joined the party since 2015.

The Mirror has said a Labour spokesperson claimed BBC employees should “consider their positions” in the wake of the documentary’s screening on July 10.

The spokesperson said: “Arguably they should do because of the extraordinary lack of balance, the inclusion of factual errors, misleading information highly selective use of emails and the editing of emails.”

The BBC has said: “The BBC stands by its journalism and we completely reject any accusations of bias or dishonesty. The investigation was not pre-determined, it was driven by the evidence.  The outcome shows the serious questions facing the Labour Party and its leadership on this issue. The programme adhered to the BBC’s editorial guidelines, including contacting the Labour Party in advance of the broadcast for a full right of reply.”

It is hard to give credibility to this because of the amount of doctored quotes and prejudicial statements in the show.

ADDITIONAL: Tony Greenstein, himself accused of anti-Semitism (despite being Jewish) has weighed in with no fewer than 100 complaints against the BBC over this programme. Read his article here. The complaints are reproduced below:

i.                  I do not accept that your refusal to respond to complainants individually is because of a desire to ‘use our licence fee resources as efficiently as possible’.The BBC’s waste of licence payers’ money is legendary. Money spent on accountability to those who pay the licence fee should be the last area for cutbacks.  This is nothing more than a self-serving lie, a pretext to avoid scrutiny.

ii.               Naturally you ‘completely reject any accusations of bias or dishonesty.’ One would not expect anything else. Donald Trump claims that he doesn’t have a ‘racist bone in his body.’ The evidence suggests otherwise.

iii.            You claim that you ‘explored a topic of undoubted public interest, broadcasting powerful and disturbing testimonies from party members who’d suffered anti-Semitic abuse.’ No the members in question allegedthat they had suffered anti-Semitic abuse. They presented no proof whatsoever and they should be viewed with extreme scepticism.

iv.             The party members whose views you ‘explored’ came from a single and narrow Zionist political group, the Jewish Labour Movement. You didn’t interview a single Jewish member of the Labour Party who wasn’t a Zionist or a supporter of the Israeli State.

v.                It is true that you ‘heard from former Labour officials, some of whom defied non-disclosure agreements to speak out about their experiences inside the Party and its anti-Semitism crisis.’ The fact that these officials signed NDA’s does not however mean that they were telling the truth or that they didn’t have their own agenda. Your failure to treat their claims with any level of scepticism suggests that you share their agenda.

vi.             You say you gave a ‘full right of reply to the Labour Party.’ I disagree. Given the tendentious and relentlessly one-sided nature of the broadcast it would have been impossible for any right of reply to have dealt with the programme’s in-built bias. Since you did not supply the Labour Party with a copy of the programme before it was broadcast it was impossible that they could have adequately responded.

vii.          Your programme defamed ordinary members of the Labour Party, including its many Jewish members, who didn’t agree with those whom you carefully selected to give ‘evidence’

viii.       You say that ‘John Ware is a highly experienced and respected investigative journalist.’  John Ware is a former Sun journalist, a racist and Islamaphobe who is on the record as saying [Why the I-word has closed down debate on extremism, Jewish Chronicle 26.7.13. that whereas anti-Semitism is ‘entirely irrational’ Islamaphobia, if it exists, is ‘reactive’.  It is no wonder that Ware won the Islamic Human Rights Commission’s Islamaphobe of the Year award in 2005.

ix.             No one, apart perhaps from ‘journalist’ Tommy Robinson, could have been less suitable to present this programme than John Ware. Ware made a hostile and biased Panorama programme, Jeremy Corbyn: Labour’s Earthquake  in 2015 even before he became leader. The Independent reported that ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s team send a complaint to the BBC over its ‘hatchet job’ Panorama programme’ .

x.                ‘The significance’ as you put it of the email from Seumas Milne is that you deliberately excised part of it in order to create a false and misleading impression. You omitted all reference to Jews who had been disciplined for ‘anti-Semitism’.  If Ware had been interested in a serious investigation he might have asked why people like myself and Jackie Walker had been expelled. Instead of portraying Jackie as some kind of disembodied alien he would have interviewed both of us and Marc Wadsworth, who was disgracefully framed.

xi.             Your claim to have relied on ‘a significant body of evidence, some of which could not be included in the broadcast programme for reasons of source protection’is unverifiable. What is clear is that you have ignored a much greater body of evidence that the anti-Semitism crisis as you call it has been a confected and artificial crisis in which Jewish and Black anti-racists have been the prime target.

I am therefore submitting to you a series of questions which form part of the overall complaint.

1.                Why did you not name or caption Ella Rose?
2.                Were you aware of Ms Rose’s history as an Israeli Embassy staffer and Director of the Jewish Labour Movement [JLM]?
3.                Why did you not mention that she was the former Director of the Jewish Labour Movement and a former worker at the Israeli Embassy?
4.                Why did you not think that was relevant?
5.                   Were you aware that Ms Rose also featured in Al Jazeera’s undercover documentary The Lobby?
6.                Were you aware that Ms Rose was filmed making threats of violence against another Jewish member of the Labour Party, Jackie Walker?
7.                How is Ms Rose’s portrayal in Panorama as a innocent victim of anti-Semitism compatible with her threats of violence against another Jewish person and her boasting that she could attack someone nearly three times her age because she is ‘tiny’?
8.                Do you agree that in hindsight this throws doubt on Ms Rose’s claims that she is an innocent victim of anti-Semitism?
9.                If you weren’t aware of Ms Rose’s background and her portrayal in The Lobby, making threats of physical violence, then what due diligence did you do?
10.          Why was Ella Rose not questioned about her allegations of anti-Semitism and asked for specifics? For example who was the person who ‘screamed’ at her? Did she make a complaint at the time?
11.          Did you ask what were the leaflets she was giving out? Perhaps they were justifying Israel’s brutal and murderous attacks on Palestinians and that someone understandably disagreed with her? This would have nothing to do with anti-Semitism but as you failed to ask the relevant questions we will never know.
12.          Were you not interested in the details of her allegations and did you prefer all the allegations to be as general and unspecific as possible?

13.          Seven Jewish Labour Party members appeared in the programme.  All seven were not only members of the Jewish Labour Movement but officers of this organisation. Were you aware of this fact?
14.          If not why not?
15.          If you were aware of their membership of the JLM, which seems likely, why did the programme deceive its viewers by omitting to mention this fact?
16.          If you weren’t aware of their membership of the JLM how were these seven Jewish Labour Party members chosen? The fact that they knew each other and were part of the same group cannot simply be coincidence.
17.          What direct contacts with the JLM did Panorama and John Ware have?
18.          Was the programme planned jointly with the JLM?
19.          Did you discuss its format with the JLM beforehand?
20.          Why did you not seek to interview other Jewish Labour Party members who held different opinions to those of the JLM?
21.          Why did you make no attempt to interview members of Jewish Voices for Labour for example? Large numbers of Jewish members of the Labour Party, being a left-wing anti-racist party, are not Zionists. Isn’t it strange that you didn’t manage to interview a single non-Zionist Jewish person?
22.          Did you think that interviewing non-Zionist or anti-Zionist Jews might spoil your narrative?
23.          Would it have been inconvenient if not embarrassing to have Jewish people on the programme who disagreed with John Ware’s strongly held belief that Jeremy Corbyn is anti-Semitic?
24.          The title of the programme was ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’.  What attempt did you make to interview people who did not believe it was anti-Semitic?
25.          Why did you not attempt to achieve any balance and have supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, including Jewish supporters, who would refute the false assertion that he was anti-Semitic?
26.          Did Panorama find it difficult to make contact with any of the 29 Jewish rabbis who last year signed a statement supporting Jeremy Corbyn? What attempts did you make to contact them?
27.          Why did Panorama not interview the well-known Jewish Chronicle and Jewish Telegraph columnist Dr Geoffrey Alderman, who is himself a Zionist, of Buckingham University, who wrote an article in The Spectator recently,Is Jeremy Corbyn really anti-Semitic?, rebutting the absurd accusations that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite? Would this have been too embarrassing for the BBC and John Ware?
28.          Did you make a conscious decision not to present at any evidence running counter to your narrative?
29.          How do you reconcile this with the BBC’s duty to impartiality?
30.          Do you intend to run another programme countering John Ware’s thesis that Corbyn is anti-Semitic?

31.          According to the Pew Global Attitudes Survey 2016negative opinions about Muslims and Roma in the UK are 28% and 45% respectively compared to 7% for anti-Semitism. Why is it that Panorama has not made programmes about these forms of racism and asked whether the Tory party is institutionally Islamaphobic or anti-Roma?
32.          Is the reason for Panorama’s disinterest in these forms of racism due to the fact that Jeremy Corbyn cannot be accused of them?
33.          Do you have a reason for preferring to concentrate on anti-Semitism rather than other forms of racism?
34.          Is your reluctance to Panorama do a special on the background to the Windrush Scandal have anything to do with the assertion that opposition to the State of Israel and Zionism is anti-Semitic?
35.          Why has Panorama not seen fit to do a documentary on the hostile environment policy of Theresa May?
36.          In the programme John Ware asked Mike Creighton and others ‘do you believe Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite’ despite there being not a shred of evidence, from anything he has ever said, to suggest that he is.  Can you envisage a programme, for example on Windrush, in which you asked the same question about Theresa May?
37.          Why in her valedictory interview with Theresa May why did Laura Kuenssberg not ask Theresa May about her hostility to immigrants with special reference to the hostile environment policy, Windrush and Grenfell Tower?
38.          Given that the former head of the civil service, Sir Bob Kerslake, said that Theresa May’s attitude to migrants was seen by some other Tory Ministers as “almost reminiscent of Nazi Germany” why did Ms Kuenssberg not pursue this line of inquiry?
39.          Does the BBC have a blind spot when it comes to racism in the Conservative party?
40.          Is racism against Black people, Roma and Muslims more acceptable to Panorama than anti-Semitism? Is that the explanation for your disinterest in them?

41.          John Ware stated that ‘Corbyn campaigned toallow anotoriously anti-Semitic preacher Raed Salah into Britain who had called Jews the ‘germs of all time’ and blamed them for 9/11.’ These assertions are untrue and have been found to be untrue by a British court but Panorama’s audience would not have known this fact. Will you retract these lies and apologise to both Raed Salah and Jeremy Corbyn?
42.          It is untrue that Jeremy Corbyn did not campaign to allow Raed Salah into the country because he had already entered Britain unhindered despite Theresa May having issued an order preventing his entry.Corbyn campaigned for Raed Salah to be released from custody in order that he could continue with his speaking tour. How did John Ware manage to get such a simple fact wrong?
43.          The allegation that Raed Salah was anti-Semitic and had called Jews ‘germs’ or made other anti-Semitic comments were shown during the hearings before the First and Upper Immigration Tribunals to be untrue. These allegations were based on the doctoring of a poem by the Jerusalem Post. This was the reason that the Upper Immigration Tribunal overturned Theresa May’s deportation order.These are matters of fact and were widely reported for example Theresa May’s haste to ban Raed Salah will be repented at leisure, Guardian 9.4.12. All 4 chargeswere thrown out by the Vice-President of the Upper Immigration Tribunal, Mr Justice Ockleton who ruledthat Theresa May ‘was misled as to the terms of the poem written by the appellant, a matter on which there is now no room for dispute.’  Why was it that John Ware chose to ignore the ruling of a British court, which was upheld by the High Court?
44.          Was John Ware of the facts surrounding Raed Salah’s entry to Britain and his attempted deportation?  If so why did he not report them?
45.          If John Ware was unaware of the above facts then doesn’t this cast a shadow of doubt over the whole Panorama programme?
46.          Are you disputing the findings of the Upper Immigration Tribunal as upheld by the High Court with your egregious comments?
47.          Will you withdraw your allegations and apologise for them?
48.          Does John Ware not believe in doing basic research before making a programme containing serious accusations of anti-Semitism? Why did Ware make these bigoted and slanderous comments without researching what had actually happened?
49.          Why did John Ware allege that Raed Salah was a‘notorious anti-Semitic preacher’ when the Upper Immigration Tribunal  found that the allegations of anti-Semitism against him were false?
50.          Was this another case of a former Sun journalist plying his old trade and playing fast and loose with the facts?
51.          Was John Ware aware that Raed Salah is the leader of a significant proportion of Israeli Palestinians who have suffered extreme discrimination  in Israel including persistent attempts to hinder their ability to pray at the Al Aqsa and Golden Dome mosques.
52.          Would you accept that John Ware’s demonization of Raed Salah is an example of the very racism that he purported to decry?
53.          Was the affair of Raed Salah merely another convenient Islamaphobic stick with which Ware could beat Jeremy Corbyn?
54.          The principal source according to The Guardian 9.4.12. ‘for the decision to ban him, according to witnesses who testified in court for the Home Office, was a report compiled by the CST.
55.          Given the unreliability of the Community Security Trust, an overtly Zionist organisation with close links to Israel’s Mossad (MI6) why did the programme use its Deputy Director, Dave Rich, as one of its two expert witnesses?
56.          After being freed from detention, Raed Salah wrote an article Britain’s duty to the Palestinian people in the Guardian 19.4.12. in which he wrote:‘‘I have no doubt that, despite this, [his arrest and detention on the basis of false evidence] Israel’s cheerleaders in Britain will continue to smear my character. This is the price every Palestinian leader and campaigner is forced to pay.’  Does the BBC accept that John Ware’s lies about Raed Salah constitute a good example of this smearing?Izzy Lenga and the Jewish Labour Movement
57.          Allegations were made by Izzy Lenga, the International Officer of the JLM, that Holocaust denial was discussed at her Labour Party meetings.  No detail was provided of this wild allegation, for example which CLP was this was taking place in? This seems to be a blatant lie, a flight of fantasy.The idea that Labour Party meetings would debate whether the Holocaust had happened or declare that Hitler didn’t go far enough is inconceivable. Did Ms Lenga make any complaint about what had happened?  If not, why not?
58.          Why was Ms Lenga not questioned as to any specific details to establish whether in fact this happened?
59.          Were the seven JLM members encouraged to make whatever allegation first came into their heads, however unlikely or fantastic?
60.          Why were none of the seven Jewish ‘victims’ questioned about what had allegedly happened?
61.          What kind of programme is it that allows those it interviews to simply make allegations without any attempt to verify them or subject them to scrutiny?
62.          It would appear that supporters of Israel were given carte blanche to invent any allegation that came into their heads without ever being challenged. Do you agree and if not why not?

63.          Ben Westerman, an investigator into the Riverside CLP stated that during the course of an interview he was asked if he came from Israel. A recording of the interview makes it clear that this was a lie and that Westerman was asked which branch of the Labour Party he came from. Johny Begg’s Facebook page,
64.          Do you accept that Westerman’s assertion was untrue?
65.          If not why not?
66.          What attempts did John Ware and the programme’s researchers  make to verify these assertions and was any attempt to interview those in Riverside CLP who were subject to Westerman’s investigation?

67.          The programme began with footage of the Zionist ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in March 2018. Why was no mention made of the JVL counter-demonstration.
68.          Was it not thought important that there were hundreds of Jews and others who were opposed to what was seen as a racist, Zionist demonstration?
69.          Would the opposition of anti-Zionist and non-Zionist Jews to this demonstration have spoiled Ware’s narrative?
70.          Why was no mention made of the fact that Norman Tebbit of the ‘cricket test’ fame and Ian Paisley of the sectarian DUP were present?
71.          Does this not run counter to the claim that this demonstration was about anti-racism and anti-Semitism?
72.          Can you think of another ‘anti-racist’ demonstration that either of these two gentlemen have ever attended?
73.          The BBC focused on a group of far-Right Zionists in particular Jonathan Hoffman and Harry Markham of Young Herut. Were you aware of these people and their antecedents?

74.          One of the ‘whistleblowers’ you interviewed was Kat Buckingham whose confessed to being frustrated at not being able to suspend people at will. This is the same Kat Buckingham who investigated Brighton and Hove Labour Party when it was suspended in 2016 over bogus charges of spitting at its AGM. Ms Buckingham refused to even watch CCTV evidence proving the spitting allegation to be false. Why did you not interview people who had been the sharp end of Ms Buckingham’s ‘investigations’?
75.          Ms Buckingham and Sam Matthews denied they were Blairites out to exact revenge but it is common knowledge that their team suspended thousands of people on suspicion of being Corbyn supporters during the leadership elections in 2015 and 2016.  Why did you not think that this was relevant?
76.          Did the programme makers feel that mention of the ‘whistleblowers’ actual records of suspending and expelling people might undermine their stories of having only been concerned about anti-Semitism?
77.          Were the ‘whistleblowers’ ever asked whether or not they had ever suspended or expelled Labour Party members for Islamaphobia or other forms of racism?
78.          Were the ‘whistleblowers’ ever asked whether or not they had ever suspended or expelled Labour Party members for supporting Jeremy Corbyn?
79.          Were the ‘whistleblowers’ ever asked why such a high proportion of those suspended/expelled for ‘anti-Semitism’ were Jewish and Black/Asian?
80.          Were the staff ‘whistleblowers’ asked whether or not they had considered suspending John Mann MP, who harangued Ken Livingstone, for publishing a vehemently anti-Roma handbook on anti-social behaviour?
81.          Why were the ‘whistleblowers’ not asked why they did not consider suspending Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, for having supported racist Labour MP Phil Woolas? Woolas was removed as an MP by the High Court in 2010 for having lied about his Lib Dem opponent in the General Election. Woolas fought a racist campaign to ‘make the white folk angry’ and Watson gave him full support confessing that ‘I’ve lost sleep thinking about poor old Phil Woolas’.
82.          Why were the Labour Party ‘whistleblowers’ not asked why Tom Watson, who ran a racist campaign during a 2004 by-election in Hodge Hill where he claimed that‘”Labour is on your side, the Lib Dems are on the side of failed asylum seekers.” was not suspended?
83.          Did Panorama not think of asking why there has never been any disciplinary action against racist White Labour politicians such as Tom Watson?
84.          Could this be because ‘racism’ against White people is more interesting?
85.          One of those prominent in the false allegations of anti-Semitism is John Mann MP. Mann brought out aBassetlaw Guide to Anti-Social Behaviour  The contents list Travellers alongside Rubbish, Alcohol, Grafitti and Fireworks as an example of anti-social nuisances. Were Labour’s ‘whistleblowers’ ever asked whether they had considered suspending John Mann?  If not why not?Alan Johnson of ‘BICOM’
86.          The second ‘expert witness’ that the programme dredged up was Professor Alan Johnson. Johnson is not Jewish and he has no special knowledge of anti-Semitism. He is the Editor of Fathom, the journal ofBICOM, the main Israeli propaganda organisation in Britain. He is a Zionist. Why was this information concealed?
87.          Did John Ware deliberately set out to mislead viewers by not providing Johnson’s political and professional background?
88.          If not how can Ware explain his parading of Johnson as a neutral expert when he was nothing of the sort?

89.          Sam Matthews was allowed to explain his frustrations at not being able to expel at will anyone he deemed anti-Semitic. Why was Matthews not subject to cross-examination in:
i.          Suspending thousands of pro-Corbyn members for the ‘crime’ of supporting the ‘wrong’ candidate in 2015 and 2016?
ii.          the suspension of Glyn Secker, Secretary of Jewish Voices for Labour?
iii.          the expulsion of Professor Moshe Machover in October 2017? This expulsion was retracted after a world wide campaign against the victimisation of this Israeli professor by renowned academics in Moshe’s field of mathematics.
iv.          Would this have run counter to the programme’s narrative of Labour ‘anti-Semitism’?

90.          Why was no mention made of Matthews partiality in expelling or suspending Jewish members of the Labour Party for ‘anti-Semitism’?
91.          I was the first Jewish member of the Labour Party to be suspended in March 2016. I was given no explanation as to what it was that I had said that merited suspension. Two weeks later, April 2 2016 I learnt from leaks to the Telegraph and The Times that I had been suspended because of the fake ‘anti-Semitism’ campaign in the Labour Party. The details of my case and many other future cases were leaked by the Compliance Unit and Sam Matthews. Why was no mention made of the fact that Sam Matthews was a notorious leaker of confidential data despite this practice being condemned in the Chakrabarti Report?

92.           John Ware has a history of hostility to Muslims and attempting to paint them as terrorists and terrorist supporters. His programme A Question of Leadership in 2005 attracted 600 complaints in its first week. Ware tried to link a Palestinian charity Interpal to Hamas, an allegation which had already led to a successful libel action against the Daily Mail and an apology and damages from the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
In Panorama or Propaganda Faisal Bodi documented Ware’s Islamaphobic journalism. Arzu Merali also documented the Islamaphobia of Ware in The banality and boredom of anti-Muslim witchhunts. Or beware John Ware for Middle East Eye, 29.3.18. Madeleine Bunting in The Guardian described in Throwing mud at Muslims Ware’s journalistic method as being one of ‘Branding moderates as extremists’ and gave as an example his targeting of Sir Iqbal Sacranie of the Muslim Council of Britain. She described his behaviour as McCarthyite.  Do you agree and if not why not?
93.          The MCB described Ware as an ‘‘an agenda-driven pro-Israeli polemicist.’ Do you agree, given his attempt to describe Interpal as a terrorist supporting charity and his failure to make any criticism of Israel’s racist behaviour towards the Palestinians?
94.          Does not John Ware’s repeated writing in the racist Jewish Chronicle, edited by far-Right former Expresseditor Stephen Pollard not suggest that he has a hidden agenda?
95.          John Ware’s latest article in the Jewish Chronicle is entitled ‘If Labour wants a fight, bring it on,’ says Panorama’s John Ware. Leaving aside the Clint Eastwood rhetoric, is this the kind of neutrality that the BBC encourages in its journalists?
96.          Perhaps you can explain why John Ware attacks even the most moderate Muslims as ‘extremists’ whilst defending racists and bigots such as Douglas Murray, author of ‘The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam’ in an article in the Jewish Chronicle (26.7.13.) Why the I-word has closed down debate on extremism
97.          During the course of a one-sided attack on Ken Livingstone when recounting his statement that ‘Hitler supported Zionism’ John Ware described his view of history as ‘cranky’. Perhaps you can explain what qualifications in history Ware has which enables him to pass this historical judgement? Is he a trained historian?
98.          Since when is it the job of a presenter to pass a view on a particular historical period as fact?
99.          David Cesarani, a Zionist historian, wrote in his bookThe Final Solution p.96 that ‘‘The efforts of the Gestapo are oriented to promoting Zionism as much as possible and lending support to its efforts to promote emigration.’ Do you agree that John Ware, the former Sun journalist, had no right, still less qualifications, to describe Ken Livingstone’s views as ‘cranky’. Some believe that this adjective best applies to Ware’s views of Muslims.
100.     In an article for a right-wing magazine Standpoint (27.6.17) Enough is enough of terror — but also of our self-doubt Ware wrote that ‘Western civilisation is itself based on Christianity, which enshrines individualism and freedom.’ This was in contrast to Islam which is an ‘ideology’.In making this contrast Ware demonstrates that he is a narrow minded bigot as well as historically illiterate.  It was ‘Christian’ Europe which was the site of the Holocaust not the Arab or Muslim world. Anti-Semitism  was strongest in the most devout Christian states such as Poland, Rumania, Slovakia and Hungary. During the second world war Christian anti-Semitism allied with Nazi anti-Semitism throughout Europe.Do you agree that in hindsight employing an arch bigot and Islamaphobe, as well as someone who is historically illiterate, to present a programme on ‘anti-Semitism’ was a mistake?
101.     In the same article for Standpoint John Ware wrote that the Conservative Party’s‘family quarrel over Europe… risks letting in a Labour leader whose entire political career has been stimulated by disdain for the West, appeasement of extremism, and who would barely understand what fighting for the revival of British values is really all about.’These heavily prejudiced and ignorant remarks clearly mark out John Ware as unfit to comment on a greyhound race let alone the leader of the Labour Party. Do you therefore agree that John Ware was the worst possible choice of presenter for the recent Panorama programme?
102.     Will you now rectify your mistake with a programme focussing on genuine racism in British society and Jeremy Corbyn’s role in having fought racism throughout his political life?
103.     If not, why not?
104.     What confidence can we have that John Ware will not be allowed to roam through the BBC studios in the future defaming all this imagined opponents?
105.     It is difficult to imagine anyone less suitable than John Ware [to] present a programme on anti-Semitism or any form of racism. If you continue to defend him, can you tell us if you have any plans to employ the Yorkshire Ripper to present a programme on the evils of violence against women?

106.    I am curious why those whom you deemed anti-Semitic such as Corbyn, Jackie Walker, Livingstone and Thomas Gardiner appeared with a grid or vertical lines superimposed on their images? Why were these special effects employed and was it in order to create an impression of them being disembodied and not quite human?

The issue is ongoing so this article is likely to grow. I’ll try to flag up additions.

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One Comment

  1. Julia July 19, 2019 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    As ever, thank you for your sterling effort in enabling us to read the proper facts!

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