Oberman apologises for anti-Semitism smear against Northern Independence Party leader

Before anyone writes in, I know that UK courts don’t use the gavel. It’s a nice illustrative image, though.

Readers with long memories may recall that Tracy-Ann Oberman threatened to sue me, at the same time as Rachel Riley, after I wrote in defence of a then-teenage girl who had fallen foul of the two TV workers*

Oberman subsequently chose not to initiate proceedings against me, although she has never withdrawn her claims. In the light of her current libel loss against Dr Philip Proudfoot, leader of the Northern Independence Party, that might prove to be the wisest choice she ever made.

I am grateful to the Skwawkbox blog for providing information from Dr Proudfoot’s lawyers Rahman Lowe, which I reproduce below:

Dr Philip Proudfoot’s High Court libel claim against high profile actor (and this month’s Celebrity Bake off contestant) Tracy-Ann Oberman has succeeded. Dr Proudfoot has won substantial damages from Ms Oberman and an unreserved apology for publishing a defamatory tweet about him that suggested he had a ‘Jew blocklist’.

Ms Oberman has entered an undertaking not to repeat the allegation. The comprehensive legal settlement, which also includes payment of Dr Proudfoot’s legal costs, concludes the successful libel claim.

Following the settlement, Ms Oberman has published a statement on Twitter (here) in which she states that: “I accept that Dr Proudfoot has at no time had a Jew blocklist and apologise for stating otherwise”. She recognises that her “mistake” was “hurtful”, adding that she has agreed to pay “substantial damages and legal costs.”

On 04 April 2021, Tracy-Ann Oberman posted a tweet stating that:

“So a man called @PhilipProudfoot of @FreeNorthNow has a Jew blocklist. I’ve been out of the twitter politics loop for a few months but is this Party continuation Corbyn? Seems like it. And will it end up the same way? Seems like it. Good luck all”

Many responded to the tweet with comments such as: “Whoever’s behind it it’s hateful”.

The allegation was untrue. The true position was that Dr Proudfoot used a standard, commonly utilised, and entirely legitimate online tool, ‘Twitter Block Chain’, in response to being targeted by anonymous troll accounts attacking him for his pro-Palestinian views. As the name implies, and as others commented in response to Ms Oberman’s tweet alleging a ‘Jew blocklist’, the tool blocks all Twitter users following the blocked account, regardless of whether or not they are Jewish.

People subjected to online bullying campaigns use Twitter Block Chain to limit how the bullying impacts their wellbeing. By blocking all those following the initiating and magnifying accounts, the application can prevent abuse from appearing in the victim’s private inbox, notifications and feed. It is a key self-help tool for people who suffer online harassment.

Dr Proudfoot commenced a libel claim against Ms Oberman, on the basis that the tweet was defamatory of him and meant that he was a racist antisemite who blocks Jews from interacting with him because they are Jews.

After his win, Dr Proudfoot published this statement:

When I founded the Northern Independence Party, I expected public scrutiny. Harmful defamation, however, is unacceptable.

Outside of my political life I am a humanitarian researcher. I’ve seen the horrors of war in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. It is for this reason I am a supporter of the struggle for human rights in Palestine. And it is for this reason I am appalled and disgusted by antisemitism, and all forms of prejudice.

But it is harmful to allow the fear of false accusations to prevent us from speaking out against apartheid in Israel. Speaking out against injustice is also a fundamental political right.  We must defend our rights, defend Palestinians, and never allow defamation to scare away solidarity.”

So Oberman misrepresented a Twitter blockchain intended to protect its user from harassment as a “Jew blocklist” and has now had to apologise and pay his legal fees.

This Writer welcomes her decision. It seems clear, though, that the claim against the leader of a UK political party indicates that innocent people are being smeared with false implications of anti-Semitism.

Getting back to my own libel case, Oberman’s part in the events that form its background lasted only one day – and is likely to be thoroughly discussed during the trial in the week of July 18.

The majority of my case concerns a pattern of behaviour by Rachel Riley, over the course of almost a month – and false claims about anti-Semitism are integral to the evidence.

I am still crowdfunding in order to be able to afford to defend myself in court, and am now nearing the total needed to be able to put my case before a judge.

If, after reading the above, you would like to help me get there, you may wish to take one or more of the following actions:

Make a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page. Keep donating regularly until you see the total pass the amount I need.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

This is an excellent victory for Dr Proudfoot.

Let’s do everything we can to have another one.

*I balk at the prospect of describing them as “celebrities” or “personalities”.

Source: Oberman apologises, pays damages for smear vs Proudfoot. Exaggeration of a/s claims is legal fact, Mr Starmer – SKWAWKBOX

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.


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