Tag Archives: Chronicle

#IPSO: toothless press regulator backs out of standards investigation into repeat libeller

A demand for action to stop a serial-libelling newspaper committing further offences has collapsed after the press regulator IPSO as good as admitted it won’t do its job.

The Jewish Chronicle has been found guilty of libel by the courts four times in the past three years – and was found by IPSO itself to have breached the Editors’ Code on accuracy no fewer than 33 times in the same period.

The Chronicle itself – including its editors and current owners – seems completely unperturbed by this evidence of prolonged wrongdoing.

As a news reporter of more than a quarter of a century’s standing, This Writer finds that amazing. If I had been found to have libelled anybody when I was working for the newspapers, my job would probably have been in danger, along with the paper’s future if the compensation award was large enough.

So I and a group of other JC libel victims led by former Labour councillor Jo Bird felt we had no option other than to appeal to press regulator IPSO for a standards investigation into the paper.

This would have meant that IPSO would consider whether the number and regularity of Editor’s Code breaches meant that the JC‘s editorial standards have fallen to an unacceptable level. If it were to find against the newspaper, then penalties – and measures to improve it – may be demanded.

IPSO’s board apparently discussed the matter and concluded that, because the JC is small and it has a new editor, an investigation would be disproportionate and unnecessary. Additional training will be enough, and the IPSO executive will review progress in six months.

Apparently, being small is now an excuse for bad journalism. I wonder if any of my colleagues in the left-wing social media will be allowed to offer the same excuse, if they are found to breach the law in similar ways.

As for the change of editor – how is this a guarantee of improvement? We know nothing about the newbie, who could be just as bad as Stephen Pollard’s record shows him to have been.

And of course all IPSO publishers are supposed to deliver training regularly to their staff as a matter of routine.

We are left with just one conclusion: that as a regulator of the UK press, IPSO is a sham.

As a member of the group that took action against the JC, I said today: “IPSO has refused to take meaningful action in the case of a member that repeatedly defies its authority, and it is clear that it will never do so. This sends the message to IPSO members that no behaviour by them could ever be bad enough to prompt even a formal investigation, let alone disciplinary action.

“We had pointed out to Lord Faulks that IPSO’s own conduct should also be subject to investigation. IPSO’s complaints committee publicly reported the Jewish Chronicle to IPSO’s standards department for ‘unacceptable ’conduct in November 2019, yet the paper’s spree of libels and code breaches was allowed to continue. This matter has been ignored.

“The price for this regulatory failure is felt by the public – both by those who are libelled and misrepresented and by readers who are fed falsehoods without consequence. That IPSO provided its response to us only after five months had elapsed underlines this disregard for the public. That it chose to do so at the height of the Christmas season smacks of the worst kind of news manipulation.

“The moral is clear: IPSO is nothing like a real regulator. It is a sham, a toothless organisation that always puts the interests of the press before those of ordinary people. If you have been abused in the papers, don’t count on IPSO to put it right.”

To this, I would add that it is clear the only way to gain proper redress against an IPSO-regulated newspaper that libels you is to take it to court and win a large amount of money in damages.

Yes, it is expensive. But my own experience in crowdfunding shows that members of the public are entirely willing to support their colleagues who have been wronged by people and organisations in positions of power and influence.

It can be done. And in the case of rags like the Jewish Chronicle, it should be – not just for the sake of those it has wronged, but for the sake of the facts.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Jo Bird: another Jewish woman is expelled from Labour – and the timing is suspicious

Jo Bird: Bigoted witch-hunters in the Labour Party have finally succeeded in their campaign to have her kicked out of the party under false pretences – and just in time to influence her demand for enforcement action against the newspaper that smeared her (and me).

The Labour Party has expelled Cllr Jo Bird – and while she says she is delighted to be out of its “hostile environment”, the timing is extremely suspicious.

Cllr Bird was originally suspended by the Labour Party – for just nine days – after making a self-deprecating remark that their should be “Jew process” when considering allegations of anti-Semitism against party members.

She was suspended again when she was running for election to Labour’s ruling body, the NEC, early last year.

Much was made of this at the time, including by the Jewish Chronicle. Ms Bird complained to press regulator IPSO about inaccuracies in its article, and the eventual finding came back in her favour.

The decision is one of more than 30 IPSO decisions and court libel verdicts against that newspaper. Ms Bird and a group of other people – including This Writer – have formally requested that IPSO launch a “standards investigation” examining whether measures should be taken to compel the Jewish Chronicle to conform to the Editors’ Code, rather than publishing falsehoods.

IPSO;s board is now set to discuss the matter on December 8. It is against this background that Labour has, finally, expelled Cllr Bird – retrospectively, for actions involving proscribed organisations that were considered entirely respectable at the time she was involved with them:

The expulsion is the usual nonsense from Labour’s leadership – which, let’s not forget, is riddled with racism, of which this is just another example.

The party claims to oppose discrimination against Jews, yet here it is, discriminating against a Jewish member over something she could not have known would ever be considered unacceptable.

And the expulsion has happened in advance of the IPSO meeting on December 8, meaning board members may form a false impression that the principle figure responsible for the request against the Jewish Chronicle is an anti-Semite.

As it is, the board seems to be in opposition to any enforcement action against that rag, despite its long history of what could at best be described as inaccuracies.

See this article by Brian Cathcart for Byline Times for the details.

Apparently the “toughest regulator in the Western world” is so toothless that it meekly hopes a bit of training for the JC‘s editor, Stephen Pollard, will fix the problem.

Now Labour’s racist leadership has given this toothless regulator an opportunity to avoid doing its job, on a false pretext that the request comes from a dodgy source.

Let’s remember that, by publishing a stream of articles containing falsehoods about Labour members who have been accused of anti-Semitism, the JC has been helping Labour to expel innocent party members under false pretences.

Labour has an interest in defeating Ms Bird’s (and my) demand for a standards investigation into this unethical rag.

In other words: it’s corruption. The Tories don’t have a monopoly on foul play, you know.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Is IPSO incapable of investigating standards at the Jewish Chronicle? Or UNWILLING?

Jo Bird: her complaint against the Jewish Chronicle over inaccuracies in its report about her was upheld; now she, I, and seven other victims of its falsehoods are demanding an investigation into whether the paper’s editorial standards have fallen to an unacceptable level. And guess what? We’re not the only ones.

Remember the letter to newspaper regulator IPSO that This Writer co-signed, requesting a Standards Investigation into the Jewish Chronicle after it notched up 28 recorded breaches of the Editors’ Code and four libel defeats in just three years?

It seems IPSO would rather forget about it.

Tasked with providing a respond by August 12, the organisation’s first reaction was to send a ‘holding’ letter, to which one of my co-signatories, Jo Bird, replied with a list of seven questions.

She then received another holding letter from IPSO’s head of standards, saying she was going on holiday but would get on the case when she got back, and that Lord Faulks, the IPSO chair, would respond on his own account ‘in due course’.

Ms Bird chased this – only to receive yet another ‘holding’ letter saying the head of standards was now sick, and she has written again to say that the questions she asked (When will Faulks write? How many JC breaches has IPSO counted? And others) don’t need the head of standards to answer them.

We expect to receive another ‘holding’ letter.

Meanwhile, there has been another ruling against the JC, involving two code breaches: https://www.ipso.co.uk/rulings-and-resolution-statements/ruling/?id=29092-20 – that makes 37 breaches of the law or the code in 37 months, including seven code breaches and one libel settlement in 2021 alone.

Some of us want to know what’s going on at the so-called press regulator. It should not take more than a month to work out whether there are grounds to investigate the standard of reporting at a newspaper that, over the last three years, has broken the rules – and the law – an average of once a month.

IPSO is itself owned and run by newspaper bosses and owners. Are they concerned that an investigation may create a precedent, setting a bar for investigations that their own newspapers could pass? Are they opposed to an investigation because they like what the JC has been doing? And are they embarrassed by the fact that the JC has put them in an impossible predicament?

Well, their problem is about to get worse.

Hacked Off – the campaign for a national press that is accountable and free of political and commercial influence – is launching a campaign demanding an IPSO standards investigation into the JC, and pointing out at the same time that there are very strong grounds for IPSO to investigate The Times over Islamophobia, The Telegraph on bad science and The Mail on a whole range of subjects – today, September 20, 2021.

Suppose IPSO has been gearing itself up to reject an investigation – or to run a token inquiry and whitewash the JC.

It seems to This Writer that such a course of action is about to become much, much more difficult to justify.

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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Jo Bird, the proposed standards review of the Jewish Chronicle… and me

Jo Bird: her complaint against the Jewish Chronicle over inaccuracies in its report about her was upheld; now she, I, and seven other victims of its falsehoods are demanding an investigation into whether the paper’s editorial standards have fallen to an unacceptable level.

In case you’ve been living under a rock since the weekend, the newspaper regulator IPSO has made yet another ruling against the Jewish Chronicle for failures in its journalism.

The right-wing rag was found to have wrongly reported that Ms Bird, a Labour councillor in the Wirral, had been suspended for a third time in late 2020.

Details are below, including her own statement on the ruling which points out that the JC crucially failed to mention the fact that she is Jewish in its account of alleged anti-Semitism by her – thereby omitting crucial context.

As you can see from the last paragraph of her statement, Ms Bird demanded a formal Standards Investigation by IPSO into the JC.

This means that IPSO would consider whether the number and regularity of Editor’s Code breaches means that the JC‘s editorial standards have fallen to an unacceptable level. If it were to find against the newspaper, then penalties – and measures to improve it – may be demanded.

Where do I fit in to this?

I’m glad you asked.

Back in 2018, the JC was one of a handful of newspapers that re-published a false claim from The Sunday Times that I was a Holocaust denier. There was no truth in the allegation, which was derived from documents leaked by the Labour Party, which was investigating me at the time; investigators had ignored their own regulations on fairness in order to fabricate the claims.

The JC had not attempted to verify any of the claims against me before it published them. I complained to IPSO and my complaint was upheld (although you wouldn’t know it from the surly line of clarification that was added to the story, to the effect that I had said the claim was false. The Sunday Times was subsequently forced to publish a lengthy clarification in which it admitted that there was no truth at all to its claim about me).

After Ms Bird’s victory was announced, I was contacted by friends acting on her behalf, to ask if I would be willing to sign a letter calling on IPSO to conduct the Standards Investigation that she had already demanded, in my capacity as another victim of false reporting.

I was happy to do so.

And that is the reason my name is attached to the following letter:

Dear Lord Faulks,

We welcome IPSO’s agreement to consider Jo Bird’s proposal for a Standards Investigation into the Jewish Chronicle and we urge you to launch such an investigation without delay. With 28 recorded breaches of the Editors’ Code and four libel defeats in just three years, it is clear that the paper’s editorial standards are shockingly low and IPSO’s actions to date have made no difference.

We have all either seen our complaints to IPSO about the Jewish Chronicle’s bad journalism upheld or secured admissions of libel from the paper. Unless standards there improve there will be more victims, while readers will continue to be misled.

IPSO’s regulations say a Standards Investigation can take place where there is evidence of ‘serious and systemic breaches of the code’. The seriousness of the breaches by the Jewish Chronicle is attested to in IPSO’s own rulings while the sheer number of breaches and libel defeats – taking place at a small publication that appears only weekly – proves the problem is systemic.

We would be grateful if you would circulate this letter to all IPSO board members and to senior management.

Yours,

Jo Bird

John Davies

Ibrahim Hewitt, Interpal

Jenny Lennox

Kal Ross

Mike Sivier

Thomas Suárez

Marc Wadsworth

Audrey White

Now we must wait for a response from IPSO, due by August 12, and then for its findings – if an investigation is launched.

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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Falsely-accused Wadsworth wins libel victory and substantial damages from Jewish Chronicle

Marc Wadsworth: a little justice at last for this dedicated anti-racism campaigner who has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism, repeatedly, since 2016.

The hard-right-wing Jewish Chronicle has been made to apologise and pay substantial damages to socialist campaigner Marc Wadsworth after it published very serious false allegations about him.

As someone who has also been libelled by the Wrongicle, dear reader, I’m sure you know I’ll have something to say about this!

Let’s have the details first, via the Morning Star:

The publication falsely accused Mr Wadsworth, in an article on its website in March, of being part of a group of current and ex-Labour members targeting Jewish activists in the party.

The High Court heard … that the JC article focused on allegations that a group of Labour members — including people said to have been suspended or expelled — were part of a plan to track down Jewish Labour activists at their homes to “take care” of them.

Dominic Garner, representing Mr Wadsworth, said his client was a civil rights campaigner, lecturer and author who had been wrongly associated with the group in the article.

He said: “The article named Mr Wadsworth in this context, as well as featuring a prominent photograph of him in its print edition, stating that Mr Wadsworth had given a speech at a launch event for the group — and in turn, alleging that he was both a member of the group and either involved or complicit in its activities.

“As the defendant has accepted, the allegations in the article about Mr Wadsworth were wholly untrue.

“In fact, Mr Wadsworth is not and has never been a member of the group to which the article referred.

“He neither spoke at nor attended the event in question, and has not been involved whatsoever in the group’s activities.”

Adelaide Lopez, representing the newspaper, said: “Jewish Chronicle Media Limited withdraws these false allegations and apologises to Mr Wadsworth.”

This is a welcome verdict in favour of a man who has spent years facing false accusations, ever since right-wing Labour cuckoo Ruth Smeeth lied that he was an anti-Semite after he said she was working “hand in hand” with the Daily Telegraph.

Smeeth went on to have Mr Wadsworth expelled from the Labour Party on the basis of this entirely false and baseless lie.

He has spent years trying to clear his name, as have many more of us.

The Wrongicle was among the papers that gleefully reported that This Writer was a Holocaust denier, after that article in The Sunday Times in February 2018.

Like all the others, it had to publish a correction – and did so, reluctantly, as you can tell from the surly wording – after I took a complaint to IPSO and it found in my favour.

But IPSO is toothless. It is merely a means to help papers avoid having to pay for their false accusations. I should have sued those papers for libel, as Mr Wadsworth has.

Source: Marc Wadsworth wins libel case against Jewish Chronicle | Morning Star

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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Anti-left wing propaganda paper forced to pay damages and apologise to Marc Wadsworth

Marc Wadsworth.

If anybody reading this doesn’t understand the significance: Marc Wadsworth is a left-wing campaigner who Labour MP Ruth Smeeth had ejected from the party after she made a false accusation of anti-Semitism against him.

I explained what happened in a 2016 article on This Site:

Smeeth had [Wadsworth] kicked out of the Labour Party after an incident at the launch of Shami Chakrabarti’s report into alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour party on June 30.

Telegraph reporter had handed her a leaflet Marc Wadsworth had been distributing, allegedly (I haven’t seen it) accusing Labour MPs who had rebelled against Mr Corbyn of treachery, and asked her (we’re told) for a comment.

Mr Wadsworth’s comment was: “I saw that the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP so you can see who is working hand in hand. If you look around this room, how many African Caribbean and Asian people are there? We need to get our house in order.”

He is a person of colour himself and says he had no idea Ms Smeeth is Jewish. But she had him booted from the party for anti-Semitism.

Here‘s some video evidence.

A report on that incident by the Jewish Chronicle prompted Wadsworth to take a complaint to newspaper regulator IPSO, who upheld it.

The paper had claimed that Wadsworth’s “verbal abuse” of  a Jewish MP, during the launch event of a report into “Jew-hatred in labour” had caused outrage among moderate party members and the Jewish community.

Under investigation by IPSO, the paper changed its reference to abuse, so that the article now states that he “challenged” Smeeth.

But that hasn’t stopped the Jewish Chronicle from publishing false information about this man. According to its own standards, he would be well within his rights to bring an action against it for racism.

This time, the paper’s correction reads as follows:

We reported that Marc Wadsworth had spoken at the launch event for the ‘Labour in Exile Network’ (LIEN), a group that aimed to discover the addresses of Jewish Labour activists to “take care” of them, and that he was thereby complicit in a conspiracy to intimidate, threaten or harass Jewish activists into silence. We also suggested that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that such activities were criminal. Our story was wrong. Mr Wadsworth did not speak or even attend the online event. Mr Wadsworth is not a member of LIEN and we accept that he has not been involved in any of the group’s activities. We apologise to Mr Wadsworth for our error and have agreed to pay damages to him.

How does a reporter make a mistake like that? To say, not only that somebody was at an event when he wasn’t, but that he had taken an active role?

If it’s a case of “all black people look the same” then it is time for a serious investigation – not only into this propaganda sheet’s political bias, but into racism as well.

Source: Jewish Chronicle again forced to pay damages and apologise – this time to Marc Wadsworth – 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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Most members think Labour has no problem with anti-Semitism. The Jewish Chronicle spins…

Wrong again: Starmer’s insistence that Labour is anti-Semitic has created a huge backlash, with 70 per cent of members saying there is no major problem.

You have to laugh. In the week after the Jerusalem Declaration that provides a new definition of anti-Semitism to stop it being confused with criticism of the hard right-wing Israeli government, the Likud-supporting Jewish Chronicle accuses Labour Party members of delusion.

It is reporting that a YouGov survey has found 70 per cent of current Labour members – that’s the people who are left after Keir Starmer and David Evans’s purges – don’t believe the party has a major problem with anti-Semitism.

There’s a good reason for that: the Labour Party does not – and never did have – a major problem with anti-Semitism. That attitude has been found within the party – but on a smaller scale than among the UK’s population generally and a much smaller scale than in right-wing parties like the Conservatives.

Hacks like the JC‘s Lee Harpin keep carping on about it because they have an anti-left wing political agenda of their own, it seems.

Consider the language Harpin uses in his story:

An exclusive poll for the JC reveals a party that remains in denial about the scale of the crisis, with large numbers still in thrall to Jeremy Corbyn.

There’s no evidence in the poll itself of any kind of denial at all, and agreement with Jeremy Corbyn’s opinion is not blind servitude to him.

The story goes on to say that, “in echoes of Mr Corbyn’s claim that the issue had been ‘dramatically overstated’, almost half  (46 per cent) thought the scale of the allegations were ‘exaggerated’, while 24 per cent said the party did not have a serious problem.

Harpin editorialises (which is highly unprofessional among reporters who claim to be writing the news rather than opinion pieces):

Significant support for the toxic former leader remains, with a striking 72 per cent of members insisting that he should not be expelled from the party.

No evidence is put forward to explain why Corbyn should be considered toxic – unless it is his accurate point that anti-Semitism claims had been “dramatically overstated” and “exaggerated”.

Almost a third of those polled, 29 per cent, thought that Sir Keir was doing a worse job than Mr Corbyn, who quit in 2020 after leading Labour to its worst general election defeat since 1935.

There’s a debatable claim! Corbyn lost a lot of seats but still won more votes than Tony Blair in 2005, Gordon Brown in 2010 and Ed Miliband in 2015. And that’s (allegedly) fighting the huge drag factor of Labour Party officers working to ensure that the Conservatives won.

The poll also disclosed that hostility towards Israel remains rampant amongst Labour’s rank-and-file, with almost half of respondents (49%) agreeing with the suggestion that Israel is an “apartheid state” .

It is. Palestinians are treated as an underclass by law – a law passed by the Likud government under Benjamin Netanyahu. Of course, this doesn’t mean Labour members think Israel will always be an apartheid state. South Africa used to be and isn’t any more so there’s always hope. It isn’t an anti-Semitic attitude to oppose the bigotry of that nation’s current government.

The revelations highlight the scale of the challenge that still faces Sir Keir, who pledged on his first day as leader to tear antisemitism out by the roots and restore trust with the Jewish community.

More accurately, they show that, rather than restore trust with the Jewish community (that was lost when Labour started paying attentions to the rantings of its pro-Likud Israel critics), Starmer has lost the trust of Labour Party members.

He will never regain it.

Starmer nailed his colours to the mast when he made his grovelling apology for anti-Semitism in Labour on his first day in office. He has spent his time since then pursuing, suspending and expelling party members under the pretext of anti-Semitism, when their real crime – as far as he is concerned – is Socialism.

But Labour is a Socialist party. It’s right there on the membership card. If Starmer disagrees with that, he should not be a member, let alone a leader. Nor should any of his cronies who take his side.

He will lose many seats in the local government elections next month because he simply can’t understand that anybody who supports the policies he likes will vote for the party that originally put them forward – the Tories.

His reliance on watered-down Conservatism, and his insistence on pursing a crusade against an enemy that doesn’t exist in any meaningful form will kill Labour as a political movement.

People have started to believe that this has always been his intention.

So, ultimately, Harpin’s hack-piece has the issue arse-backwards (as usual).

Starmer’s challenge isn’t ridding the Labour Party of anti-Semitism; Labour’s challenge is ridding itself of Starmer.

Source: EXCLUSIVE: 70% of Labour members still think the party has no problem with Jew hate and don’t want Corbyn expelled – The Jewish Chronicle

The power of suggestion: Jewish Chronicle poll shows public has been misled about anti-Semitism

Jeremy Corbyn is supported by significant number of Jews. Perhaps they were the “wrong kind” and were not asked to participate in the JC’s poll.

Yet again, the Jewish Chronicle has turned the Labour anti-Semitism story backward.

The paper has trumpeted the results of a poll carried out by Survation, showing that more than 85 per cent of British Jews think Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite.

We all know he is nothing of the kind.

In contrast, the poll also indicates that only 98.3 per cent of British Jews think Theresa May – a genuine racist and anti-Semite, judging from her party’s support of the anti-Semitic and Islamophobic Hungarian regime in the European Parliament – has no hatred of Jews at all.

It is a travesty.

Inevitably our friends on the social media have correctly identified the problem, which is media outlets like the Jewish Chronicle that push fake news rather than fact.

Sadly, this particular organ is not about to improve. It has a political agenda, which is the removal of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party in the UK.

Perhaps readers who wish their news to have a smattering of accuracy could consider altering their purchasing habits.

More than 85 per cent of British Jews think Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic, according to polling carried out for the JC. A similar percentage believe there are significant levels of antisemitism at all levels of the Labour Party.

The survey, undertaken by polling company Survation between August 12 and September 4, shows that 85.9 per cent of British Jews regard the Labour leader as antisemitic, while just 8.3 per cent believe he is not.

In a recent Survation poll among the general public, 39 per cent said Mr Corbyn was antisemitic.

Among British Jews, only 1.7 per cent believe Prime Minister Theresa May to be antisemitic, with 89.9 per cent saying she is not. Just 6.1 per cent say that Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable is antisemitic.

Source: More than 85 per cent of British Jews think Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic – The Jewish Chronicle

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Jewish newspapers attack Corbyn – or are they TORY newspapers?

I have an apology to make.

This Site has been unusually quiet for a few weeks now. Usually I manage to put out anything between five and 10 articles a day but lately I have had trouble getting even a single piece to the public.

This is because I have been writing huge amounts of text intended to defend myself against false accusations of anti-Semitism that have been made against me by an anonymous accuser who contacted the Labour Party, and by the Conservative-supporting press.

I do not believe these accusations have been made because of any anti-Semitism in my work or my personal attitudes. My opinion is that they were intended to stop me producing articles for This Site which support a Labour government.

If you would like to learn more about the attack on me, and would consider contributing to me efforts to raise funds to challenge these claims in court, please visit my JustGiving page.

This is not about racism; it is about politics. It is about undermining support for a Labour Party that would help all people in the UK.

Look at the latest stunt: Three Jewish newspapers teaming up to attack Labour’s refusal to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working – take note of that word, “working”; we’ll come back to it – definition of anti-Semitism.

A government led by Jeremy Corbyn would pose an existential threat to Jewish life in the UK, a joint editorial published by the country’s three most prominent Jewish newspapers has claimed.

The Jewish Chronicle, Jewish News and Jewish Telegraph each produced similar front pages for their Thursday editions attacking the Labour party’s decision not to fully absorb an internationally accepted definition of antisemitism into its code of conduct, and its wider record on the issue since Corbyn became leader in 2015.

Does anybody else think this is a response to the 36 international Jewish organisations who came out in support of Labour, last week?

Oh, you didn’t hear about that? I’m not surprised – it was hardly reported here in the UK. Fortunately, quite a few of us read The Canary and know what’s going on.

That website stated: “Jeremy Corbyn has received a major boost from 36 Jewish groups worldwide, embarrassing the corporate media. The Labour leader is currently under pressure from the press, the right of his party, and the conservative Board of Deputies of British Jews. They are pushing for Labour to adopt wholesale the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism into its rule book.

“On 17 July, 36 Jewish groups from around the world said that the IHRA definition “intentionally” equates “legitimate criticisms of Israel… with antisemitism”. And later in the day, Labour’s ruling body approved a new code of conduct that included a version of the IHRA definition without the examples that could stifle legitimate criticism of Israel.

“For the first time, 36 Jewish groups (including six based in the UK) have come together in a move that strengthens the position of Corbyn and organisations that support Palestinian rights.

“Their statement says the IHRA definition is “worded in such a way” as “to intentionally equate legitimate criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights with antisemitism, as a means to suppress the former”.

“Spearheaded by the US-based Jewish Voice for Peace, the groups continued: “This conflation undermines both the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality and the global struggle against antisemitism. It also serves to shield Israel from being held accountable to universal standards of human rights and international law.

“”We urge our governments, municipalities, universities and other institutions to reject the IHRA definition and instead take effective measures to defeat white supremacist nationalist hate and violence and to end complicity in Israel’s human rights violations. Israel does not represent us and cannot speak for us when committing crimes against Palestinians and denying their UN-stipulated rights.””

The international response has been to support Labour and it seems the three newspapers attacking the party are doing so in order to reinforce the trumped-up opposition to the party’s policies and boost support for the Conservatives.

Now look at the way The Guardian reports the same issue:

Concern has been expressed about the refusal of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) to accept the full text of the working definition of antisemitism produced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The document provides a definition and 11 examples. The former is accepted by Labour, but not all of the latter.

Labour’s NEC objects to the example that defines “claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour” as antisemitism. The party said it was concerned about creating a code that could be “used to deny Palestinians, including Palestinian citizens of Israel and their supporters, their rights and freedoms to describe the discrimination and injustices they face in the language they deem appropriate”.

See how it is slanted to suggest that Labour’s modifications to what is – let’s remember – a working definition (one that is intended to be modified to improve clarity) are cause for concern.

In fact, Labour’s changes are welcome because they take away the automatic assumption that the state of Israel cannot act in a racist way.

Consider current Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s racist “Israel as a nation-state of the Jewish people” Bill. It permits neighbourhoods to block people of specific nationalities or religions from moving in, removes Arabic as an official language, and directs judges to look for precedents from Jewish legal rulings in instances where Israeli law offers no guidance.

It isn’t about protecting Jews; it is about persecuting Arabs.

But people who make this point can be accused of anti-Semitism by those like the editors of the Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish News and the Jewish Telegraph, pointing at the example in the IHRA working definition.

This isn’t even the only place where the working definitions examples let the document down.

Another example of anti-Semitism is described as “Making … stereotypical allegations about Jews … such as… the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.” But what about Shai Masot?

He was a staff member at the Israeli embassy in London who was caught conspiring to influence UK politics in the interests of his country; a Jew trying to exert control over the UK government. Under the working definition of anti-Semitism, anybody accusing him of that would be smeared as an anti-Semite – but the allegation was true.

And Mr Masot said members of organisations including Labour Friends of Israel and Conservative Friends of Israel were among his supporters. To the best of my knowledge, no questions have been asked of those groups – for fear of the action being labelled anti-Semitic?

I wonder if these abuses of the term “anti-Semitism” stem from the misinterpretation of the so-called Macpherson principle – that a racist incident (including anti-Semitism) is “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person”.

This was devised as a tool to encourage the recording of allegations of racism by the police, after a “refusal to accept racist motivation by a number of officers” was noticed in the investigation of the Stephen Lawrence case.

But the so-called Macpherson principle is now being used to suggest that any claim of anti-Semitism, made by someone claiming to be a victim, must be automatically accepted as anti-Semitism, without investigation.

It is wide open to abuse. As Professor David Feldman stated in his sub-report to the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism: “it is unambiguously clear that Macpherson intended to propose that such racist incidents require investigation. He did not mean to imply that such incidents are necessarily racist. However, Macpherson’s report has been misinterpreted and misapplied in precisely this way.”

Labour’s modification to the IHRA example regarding Israel as a racist endeavour states that: “It is not racist to assess the conduct of Israel – or indeed of any other particular state or government – against the requirements of international law or the standards of behaviour expected of democratic states (bearing in mind that these requirements and standards may themselves be contentious).” I would go on to state that criticism of Israel as a racist endeavour could be considered anti-Semitic – but only if evidence of anti-Semitic intent was proved.

Simply put: There should be no automatic assumption of anti-Semitism, just because somebody claims it.

The claim of anti-Semitism should be recorded and the accusation investigated. Only after a full – and impartial – investigation should any final conclusion be drawn.

That is justice.

If we take the alternative currently being offered, then, as Professor Feldman states, “we open the way to conceptual and political chaos”.

Source: Jewish newspapers claim Corbyn poses ‘existential threat’ | Politics | The Guardian

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DWP blamed by second coroner for incapacity benefit claimant suicide

The late Julia Kelly

The late Julia Kelly

So you thought Mary Hassall was the only British coroner to have blamed a benefit claimant’s death on the DWP? Think again.

To This Writer’s shame, the case of Julia Kelly was reported in This Blog, earlier this year – but I did not recall that Northamptonshire County Coroner Anne Pember’s report had conferred responsibility for her death on the Department for Work and Pensions after the case of Michael O’Sullivan was reported last month.

Mr O’Sullivan committed suicide in late 2013. North London coroner Mary Hassall, at his inquest early the following year, recorded that his death occurred as a direct result of being declared “fit for work” in a DWP work capability assessment, made in response to his claim for Employment and Support Allowance.

Julia Kelly took her life in November 2014. At her inquest in March this year, according to the Northampton Chronicle, “Coroner Anne Pember, recording her verdict of suicide, said she also believed that the ‘upset caused by the potential withdrawal of her benefits had been the trigger for her to end her life’.”

Ms Kelly had been forced to give up work in 2010 due to pain caused by a car crash (which was not her fault) five years previously. In 2013, she was involved in a second crash and had to undergo a six-hour operation on her spine as a result.

Together with her father, David Kelly, she formed a charity – Away With Pain – to help fellow sufferers of chronic back pain.

But then the Department for Work and Pensions told her she had to repay £4,000 in Employment and Support Allowance payments, saying she had failed to declare capital funds.

It seems the government department was referring to money held by the charity, rather than funds owned by Ms Kelly herself.

Ms Kelly, who had fought for every penny of her benefit at three tribunal hearings, was bombarded with a series of repayment demands. According to her father, it was this relentless stream of brown-envelope letters that pushed her to suicide.

He told Channel 4 News about it. Take a look at the report:

A few months later, the DWP started stridently claiming that no causal link had been shown between claims for incapacity benefits and the suicide of claimants, in response to demands from almost 250,000 petitioners – and more than 90 MPs including the new leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn – to publish the number of claimants who have died on benefits.

We all know the DWP was lying, thanks to Ms Hassall’s report on Michael O’Sullivan.

The facts about Julia Kelly mean we must now question the magnitude of the lie.

We know the DWP examined the cases of around 60 people who committed suicide after their benefits were withdrawn or reduced – that fact was most recently mentioned in Prime Minister’s Questions, in the House of Commons on Wednesday (October 21) – but the Department has refused to publish its findings.

All Cameron would offer was that he would “look … at” the question asked about publication. He can look at it all day without doing anything about it, of course.

Meanwhile, serious questions are arising as we learn more about these deaths and the extent of the DWP cover-up.

How many people have died due to the reduction or withdrawal of incapacity benefits?

How many of these deaths happened long enough after their benefits were withdrawn that the DWP never bother to record them – on the grounds that it was none of the Department’s business (this is what happened with Mr O’Sullivan)?

How many more coroners’ verdicts have implicated the DWP in the deaths, but have been quietly swept under the carpet?

And – as the United Nations investigates possible grave and systematic violations of incapacity benefit claimants’ human rights – what can be done to secure the release of the facts?

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