The Sun and The Express have joined the growing ranks of newspapers that have been ordered to publish a “clarification” after falsely accusing me of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.
Press regulator IPSO published the rulings against those publications on January 3.
So now, with one ruling left to be published the score stands as follows: Vox Political – 4, libellous newspapers – 0.
The full ruling against The Sun can be found here. It has been ordered to publish a clarification as follows:
“A previous version of this article reported that Mr Sivier had said it was “not a big problem” if Jews were taken off a list of Holocaust survivors. He has contacted us to say that he was in fact referring to anti-Semitism in the Labour Party as not being a “big problem”. The article also reported that he said he did not know whether thousands or millions of people died in the Holocaust; he assures us this comment referred to him not knowing why the SWP had referred to “thousands” of victims on a pamphlet it had prepared, and that he accepts that around 17 million people died.”
There’s a lot wrong with it – the main issue being that it’s not a matter of me saying the newspaper was inaccurate; the factual evidence proves it was wrong.
The ruling against The Express is here. That publication must publish this clarification:
“Mr Sivier has contacted us to point out that his statement “I’m not going to comment” had been made in reference to not knowing whether the SWP had referred to “thousands” rather than “millions” of Holocaust victims on a flyer, and was not a reference to his own beliefs about the number of victims of the Holocaust. He also says that his reference to there not being a “big problem” was made in relation to the general issue of anti-Semitism on the left and not in reference to the specific issue of omitting Jews from the list of Holocaust survivors, as the SWP was alleged to have done on the flyer. Mr Sivier denies making any comments that could be interpreted as anti-Semitic and we are happy to make this position clear.”
Again, the fact show that this isn’t about what I said or denied; it’s about the facts of the matter which the Express ignored.
IPSO’s ruling also fails, in both cases, on a major point, referring to a comment by the late Tam Dalyell that Tony Blair, as prime minister, had been “unduly influenced” by “a cabal of Jewish advisors”. This had been raised by a commenter on this website, who put it forward as an example of left-wing anti-Semitism and demanded that I provide an opinion on it. In response, I stated that it was impossible to do so, as the commenter had provided no background information to either corroborate or disprove the claim. Therefore, “(without further information) concerns that Tony Blair was being ‘unduly influenced’ by ‘a cabal of Jewish advisors’ may have been entirely justified.”
IPSO’s adjudicators, in their ruling, stated that “The complainant said that he had not intended to suggest that this was accurate, but that it might theoretically be accurate.” This is a straightforward lie.
I have written to IPSO on many occasions pointing out the correct meaning of my words, despite the fact that it is self-evident to anybody who reads them. I wrote: “I said that a person hearing such a claim may have been entirely justified to be concerned – unless or until they had further information to corroborate or disprove it.”
There is no way this can be interpreted as me saying Mr Dalyell’s words “might theoretically be accurate” and IPSO’s adjudicators, being in full possession of the wealth of information I have provided to them, must have known this. Therefore they deliberately lied in their ruling.
There is one adjudication left outstanding – regarding The Sunday Times, the first newspaper to publish the false claims about me. I have made the facts of this matter clear, so it will be interesting to see whether the ruling changes in that case.
But I am also aware of the passage of time. Libel cases may not be initiated more than 12 months after publication of the words that form the basis of the complaint. As I mention above, those words were published on February 4 or 5 last year, and it is January 5 at the time of writing. I wonder whether IPSO has been deliberately running down the clock to make it impossible for me to take these newspapers to court.
Such court action would also have to prove that I have suffered serious harm – in this case, financial harm – due to the damage to my reputation. This would be difficult to prove as my income from This Site has always been low. In addition, the number of people visiting Vox Political skyrocketed after I started reporting that IPSO had adjudicated in my favour – first against The Mail and then against the Jewish Chronicle. So it could be argued that the IPSO rulings have achieved my aim and turned public opinion back to my favour. It could even be argued that I have benefited from this affair. It would be a twisted argument, but that’s British litigation for you.
It now seems unlikely in the extreme that anybody genuinely believes me to be an anti-Semite, or to harbour any ill-feeling toward Jewish people based on their religion or ethnicity. Anybody professing such a belief is likely to be doing it for political purposes.
That being said, I will consult my legal advisors on possible action against IPSO if it persists in the lie, and I will continue raising funds to fight false claims of anti-Semitism against me. I may also consider using these funds to help other people who have also been falsely accused. These lies harm the fight against genuine anti-Semitism (which is increasing), and it is important to identify the perpetrators of these false complaints.
There are also other cases that I need to bring to court in the very near future. I’ll say more about that in a future article.
So these are important victories, and the failings of the adjudication won’t make any real difference. They support the fight against false accusations of anti-Semitism. And you can help that fight by contributing to my crowdfunding campaign – the details are directly below.
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