Tag Archives: smear

Not sporting – not working: Tories are using manuals to smear rivals, but they aren’t changing minds

Tory candidates in the general election have not only been issued with manuals telling them how to smear rivals – they’re using them.

Worse still, it seems that some people on the doorstep actually believe this rehashed, warmed-over tripe.

But it seems it isn’t affecting the decisions members of the public are making.

Someone tweeted This Writer today saying that, in spite of what they called “Labour’s open door policy”, they were still going to vote for that party rather than the Tories.

I didn’t have the heart to correct that person. They’re doing the right thing, after all. Are you?

Conservative candidates in the general election have been issued with a detailed dossier on how to attack Labour and Liberal Democrat rivals which contains numerous rehashed and potentially misleading claims, the Guardian can reveal.

One 17-page briefing note is specifically for Tories in seats where the main challenge comes from Labour. Another 19-page document is for candidates fighting a Liberal Democrat threat.

The documents accuse the Liberal Democrats of pushing “pro-pimp” policies and sex work as a career for schoolchildren.

They also reheat a discredited claim that Labour’s policy on free movement would lead to 840,000 migrants coming to the UK each year.

Drafted by the Conservative research department, the documents are designed to provide candidates with approved messages to use on doorsteps across the country.

Source: Revealed: Tory candidates issued with attack manuals on how to smear rivals | Politics | The Guardian

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The wheels have come off the anti-Labour smear machine

It seems the people trying to smear the Labour Party with false allegations of anti-Semitism have become so reckless – or so desperate – that they are risking legal action against them by publishing outright falsehoods.

Before we get to those, perhaps I should set the scene a little.

For the last few years, people who oppose Jeremy Corbyn’s policy of seeking a peaceful solution to the Israel/Palestine question have been trying to find a false accusation of anti-Semitism that will stick. They’ve failed so far.

Here are some of the reasons for that:

In fact, rational minds are clear that Mr Corbyn is a friend to Jewish people:

Still the smears come – and now that a general election has been called, it seems they are becoming more wild.

For example, the Jewish Chronicle published a front page lead story that claimed Mr Corbyn was a danger to Jews in the UK:

Now that publication, and its editor, Stephen Pollard, may face prosecution over what it said:

Then Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland smeared a Labour candidate as an anti-Semite. The allegations referred to a separate person who happened to have the same name.

The reporter has apologised, blaming his “Labour source” – but then he did this:

Oh dear.

His retraction did not come soon enough to stop Rachel Riley – a person rather well-known on This Site – from repeating the libel:

A judge will decide whether Ms Riley intentionally spreads untruths soon enough.

Now, Daniel Carden has been accused of singing “Hey Jews” to the tune of “Hey Jude” on a coach journey last year (his fellow Labour Parliamentairan Conor McGinn has been accused of calling another colleague a “poof” on the same trip, which is anti-LGBT abuse).

Skwawkbox is quite right. Mr Carden said: “If anyone genuinely believed any antisemitic behaviour had taken place, they would’ve had a moral responsibility to report it immediately. Yet this allegation is only made now when a general election is imminent. I stand by my record as an anti-racist campaigner. I would never be part of any behaviour that undermines my commitment to fighting racism in all its forms.”

It’s a good question, and it undermines the accusations against him. Meanwhile, perhaps Mr Carden would like to report an offence under s.106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 – false statement of fact as to candidate.

(I hope he gets further than I did after it happened to me in 2017 – but then, he probably won’t be dealing with Dyfed Powys Police.)

Of course, it isn’t all roses on the Tory side of the fence either:

All this, and the election campaign isn’t even a week old yet.

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Guardian/CST anti-Semitism smear job prompts backlash movement: #EngineOfHope

If there really is an “Engine of Hate” operating in the UK, then it seems The Guardian/Observer and the Community Security Trust (CST) are prominent among those stoking its flames.

Today, the Observer has published a smear piece attacking 36 Twitter accounts – although the reason is not entirely clear.

According to the headline, they are “at heart of Labour antisemitism battle”. Which doesn’t seem too bad. Does it?

The sub-heading suggests they are “pushing pro-Corbyn messages”. Still not too bad.

It’s only when you get to the intro that you realise they have been “used to dismiss claims of antisemitism levelled against the party”. And what’s wrong with that? If an accusation is false, it should be dismissed.

The issue here seems to be that the Guardian/Observer and CST are assuming that all accusations of anti-Semitism against the Labour Party are true. The CST may be expected to have this attitude because it is a charity that claims to be dedicated to protecting Jewish people in the UK and as such, its default position may be to assume the truth of an allegation until the opposite is proved. But a newspaper that has been a pillar of the mainstream media for many decades may be expected to have the opposite view, as it is the responsibility of journalists to be fair and balanced, and to research the truth or falsehood of such claims, rather than make unsubstantiated allegations.

The attitude in this piece can be judged by the title of the CST report on which it is based – that the Twitter accounts mentioned are an “Engine of Hate”.

The Observer piece claims that “the accounts have tweeted content claiming that allegations of antisemitism in the party are ‘exaggerated, weaponised, invented or blown out of proportion, or that Labour and Corbyn are victims of a smear campaign relating to antisemitism'”.

It fails to mention whether or not those claims are accurate.

And of course the linking of no fewer than 36 accounts creates the problem of guilt by association – if even some of the accounts mentioned were actually anti-Semitic, then are the authors or the report trying to induce us into believing that all must be, in the face of evidence to the contrary?

We are told that 12 of the accounts had tweeted anti-Semitic content (but not allowed to judge that content ourselves), and that nine have been deleted between the start of research for the report and its publication (but not whether they were among the 12 we had already been told had tweeted anti-Semitic content).

“All were connected to Twitter networks that have used hashtag campaigns to attack MPs or public figures who have raised concerns about antisemitism and Labour,” we are told. These hashtags include #BoycottRachelRiley, about the Countdown co-presenter who has disgraced herself online with a series of tweets accusing innocent people of anti-Semitism (targets include Noam Chomsky as well as Jeremy Corbyn), and #SackTomWatson, about Labour’s deputy leader whose conduct should need no rehearsal here.

And what about the hashtag #GTTO, which stands for “Get The Tories Out”? What’s anti-Semitic about that?

People posting under these hashtags are described by the newspaper as Twitter “networks” – and this is misleading. Twitter networks are more accurately groups of accounts that post together about many subjects, not accounts posting under a particular hashtag. An example would be the “@GnasherJew” troll network; the account itself is anonymous and believed to be run by several different people, and it has several satellite accounts that consistently join it in its false claims that others are anti-Semitic.

The comment from Mr Watson is amusing in its irony. He suggests that the report be shown to “the dominant faction that control our party’s national executive” to explain “how a small group … can influence our internal discussions”. Can this not be levelled at those like himself, Margaret Hodge, Wes Streeting and others, who have influenced the national executive’s internal discussions with their incessant (and often false) anti-Semitism accusations?

Margaret Hodge, for example, submitted around 200 anti-Semitism complaints to the party’s disputes team, who found that more than 100 of them did not even refer to members of the Labour Party.

Accusations include describing Rachel Riley as “unhinged” and “deranged” for criticising Mr Corbyn. That’s an expression of opinion. And was it based on fact? We aren’t told.

But that did not stop representatives of the CST and the fake charity calling itself the Campaign Against Antisemitism from using these insubstantial claims as though they were proof of a co-ordinated network, rubbishing genuine accusations of anti-Semitism.

The CST’s rep claimed: “Our report reveals how they set the tone and drive the vitriol on social media, attacking anyone who criticises the party’s appalling failure to deal with its antisemitism problem.”

And the CAA’s rentaquote added: “Prominent Labour party figures and rank-and-file members and supporters have long been denying the antisemitism crisis in Labour by claiming that Labour and Jeremy Corbyn are victims of a smear campaign.”

For the record: Complaints of anti-Semitism have been made against 0.05 per cent of the Labour Party’s membership – that less than one per cent of the national average. Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is negligible and the only reason the party is having trouble coping with it is the huge number of false and vexatious accusations submitted by individuals like Margaret Hodge.

The CAA commenter added: “Labour’s outriders on social media have been fuelling this and meting out appalling abuse to those who stand up against antisemitism.”

This is extraordinariily hypocritical from a man speaking in support of (for example) Rachel Riley, one of whose supporters tweeted this to me:

It’s mild in comparison with what some of their victims have received, I’m told.

But then, none of the owners of accounts accused by the CST have been given the right of reply. Not one.

Why not, Observer?

I’d like to know what the owners of the accused accounts have to say. They are:

@SocialistVoice (see tweet below)
@RAYHALL10
@Sargent_Sellers
@WarmongerHodges
@MyArrse
@Cornish_Damo
@YEqual
@otivar55 (see tweet below)
@georgegalloway
@corbynsgeordie
@damian_from
@Muqadaam
@BiztheBuz
@moodynotblue
@petergloss
@labour_party_supporter
@Rachael_Swindon
@helensclegel
@corbynator2
@asawinstanley
@mac123_m
@ScouseGirlMedia
@The_Awakened
@evolvepolitics
@LuckyHeronSay
@joan32173631
@chelleryn99
@davcon73
@zele_zeka
@JulietB270880
@James4Labour
@Allchanges
@MomentumCV
@55krissi55
@NeverSoPretty
@minxymartin

Without knowing their side of the story, this is not balanced reporting; it is a smear. From now on, my advice is: Treat the Observer as fake news and avoid anything said by the CST altogether.

The good news, though, is that the story has provoked a backlash on Twitter, under the hashtag #EngineOfHope. Here are some examples:

https://twitter.com/TrendsUK/status/1158028961277980675

Follow the hashtag #EngineOfHope for more, along with uplifting tweets about Mr Corbyn and Labour’s plans for the future.

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Labour officer shared video about anti-Semitism ‘smear’ and everybody is saying the same thing

Kevin Schofield of Politics Home: He’s been stirring up more pointless accusations against the Labour Party.

I have a feeling PoliticsHome didn’t expect this.

“Jules Rutherford, who is due to start her new job as Labour’s head of membership on Monday, retweeted a post condemning the ‘smears against the party leader’,” the site trumpeted yesterday (July 6).

The tweet was by one Jack Jazz, although it could have been by one of many people. It linked to a video in which Professor Norman Finkelstein described the anti-semitism claims as “witch-hunt hysteria”.

Here’s the tweet, with the video. As you can see, Prof Finkelstein – who is himself Jewish, let’s not forget – makes a convincing case for a “conspiracy” against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

https://twitter.com/JackkJazz/status/1146828331842768896

Ms Rutherford has apparently deleted her Twitter account in response to a backlash from the usual holier-than-thous – but it seems this may have been premature.

Ordinary people across the social media are standing up for her.

Here‘s Pete Flynn on Twitter: “Jules Rutherford retweets Jack Jazz who has posted an interview with Jewish Professor Norman Finkelstein saying that allegations of anti-semitism are being used to smear the Labour leadership & Party. And you’re suggesting this is a bad thing because?”

Someone going by the fantastic name of Julie bag o doughnuts added: “Shes spreading the truth and sticking up for members , that’s exactly who we want , well [email protected] Rutherford”

There’s this:

(And let’s all remember that the Board of Deputies is a big gang of unelected nobodies.)

And Tony Greenstein, a Jew who has himself been smeared as an anti-Semite, had this to say to PoliticsHome editor Kevin Schofield:

https://twitter.com/TonyGreenstein/status/1147301160744865792

His comments on the quality of the journalism may well be justified. There are, after all, lots of websites run by people who call themselves journalists – look at the Times, Telegraph, Mail and Express sites if you don’t believe me – but in fact have no qualifications at all and it would be interesting to see if Mr Schofield’s fides are bona.

Many other Twitter examples are available.

“Yes It is a smear,” stated Alan Price on Facebook. “Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t have [an] antisemitic bone in his body. Yes our rapid membership expansion pulled in a few twats. And yes a few of our members conflated extreme Zionism with being Jewish. That’s something to address and confront, but to say the Labour party is antisemitic, to say Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic, that is a smear.”

His comment on the Labour for Democratic Socialism page was supported by many others, who stated Ms Rutherford’s tweet was “Someone being honest”, “Reasonable enough. Good on her”, and “About right to me”.

But of course the witch-hunt had to rear its hideous head. Linda Ellis wrote: “Oh dear she will regret it they will take her job away for being honest,” and efforts are already being made to do that – an online petition has been launched, calling for Ms Rutherford’s removal.

But we can all see, by now, how juvenile this witch-hunt really is.

There is no evidence against Jules Rutherford. She retweeted an evidence-packed interview with a Jewish man whose parents survived the holocaust, let’s not forget, who nailed the accusers forensically.

The great thinking Noam Chomsky – also Jewish – has also spoken up in support of Chris Williamson, another victim of the witch-hunt.

This tide is turning. The screamers can’t claim to be standing up for Jewish people when Jewish people are standing against them.

They’ll try to smear those people – both Prof Finkelstein and Mr Chomsky have been accused in the past – but the mud won’t stick.

In the end, the spotlight will turn. And then we’ll be asking what Mr Schofield, Marie van der Zyl and all the other witch-hunters expected to gain from their smears.

Source: EXCL Labour’s new head of membership shared video claiming anti-semitism was smear against Jeremy Corbyn | PoliticsHome.com

Local Labour candidates warned to prepare for new Sunday Times anti-Semitism witch-hunt

Witch-hunters: Let’s do all we can to foil the cartoon-character Sunday Times anti-Semitism accusers.

Labour Party candidates seeking council seats in the local government election are advised to contact their constituency party and local campaign forum chairs, and CLP secretaries – and warn their MPs – after it was revealed The Sunday Times may be planning a new slew of accusations in an article to be published on Easter Sunday.

It seems reporters for that “newspaper” may attempt to undermine the party’s high standing in the opinion polls with a series of claims against candidates.

One such person took to Facebook to say they had been contacted – by telephone – by a reporter for the newspaper.

He said he knew this person was standing for Labour in the local elections and mentioned two posts the candidate had made about Israel. He said he wanted to give the candidate the right of reply.

(Note that the posts were about Israel. It seems The Sunday Times may be trying to create a false equivalence between that – secular – nation and Judaism in order to fabricate allegations of anti-Semitism. We’ll find out on Sunday.)

The candidate wisely stated that they were not willing to discuss the matter by telephone but would give it consideration if the allegations were sent via email.

(This is wise. I responded to a Sunday Times reporter by email, before a story appeared falsely accusing me – and of course I won a rather lengthy correction from that “newspaper” thereafter.)

It seems likely that, if the Sunday Times is contacting many people in this manner, a proportion will refuse to engage, so it will be possible to publish allegations and then say, “[X] has been contacted for comment,” or, “[X] did not wish to comment when we contacted [them].”

Anyone being contacted in this manner should contact their Constituency Labour Party chair and Local Campaign Forum chair immediately, with details of the contact and any information about the allegations.

It is also advisable that, if the Parliamentary constituency in which the candidate is standing has a Labour MP, that person should be contacted and made to understand that – unless the allegation is accurate – failure to show solidarity with their fellow party members will attract the displeasure of constituency party members. If necessary, the party whips should become involved.

The Sunday Times allegations over the last few weeks have only gained any credibility because Labour MPs have treated them in that way. This is not acceptable.

Here in the UK, everybody is considered innocent of any allegation until proof of guilt has been established. That has not happened with the Sunday Times allegations of the last two weekends, yet some Labour MPs have acted as if it has. This must stop.

Trial by media is trial by witch-hunt. Enough is enough.


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Groundswell of demand for Labour to expel the Jewish Labour Movement

What did the leaders of the Jewish Labour Movement expect after they held an “almost unanimous” vote of “no confidence” in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party? Applause?

The simple fact is that most people who give such matters more than a passing thought have seen through the machinations of the organisation whose former name – Poale Zion – translates as “Workers of Zion”; the Zionist Labour Movement.

After a relaunch in 2015 it is an organisation of people – not necessarily Labour Party members or even Jews – who support the far-right Likud government in Israel and its policy of slow genocide against the Palestinian people.

So of course it is opposed to Jeremy Corbyn’s philosophy, that requires a peaceful solution to the Israel/Palestine question. And the group’s leaders aren’t above creating false evidence to suggest wrongdoing on the part of the Labour leader.

When it isn’t manufacturing its own smears against innocent people (new JLM chair Mike Katz was involved in this one), it tries to build hysteria about smears manufactured by others.

For years, the Labour leadership has followed a policy of appeasement that has done nothing but encourage this treacherous organisation and its leaders into ever-more-outrageous outbursts.

But it seems to have overstretched itself this time, as increasing numbers of people are demanding the organisation’s expulsion from affiliation with the Labour Party on any level at all.

Here’s just one reaction to the “no confidence” vote:

https://twitter.com/LabLeftVoice/status/1114903933158350851

Diana Neslen followed up on this with: “Time the JLM affiliated to a party more in keeping with their values The Tory party springs to mind. They show nothing but contempt for Labour and have no reason any more to remain affiliated.”

As Sam Langdon put it on Twitter: “Maybe I’m wrong and happy to be corrected but would it be so bad for them to go? JLM aren’t necessarily anything to do with Labour anyway, and all they seem to do is sprout rubbish? Wouldn’t it be better?”

On Facebook, the criticism came thick and fast.

Nicola Giles stated: “I think it was already decided a long while ago.. what the jlm were going to do.. it’s a long coordinated campaign. just to keep dragging it out… yet actually Jewish members don’t seem to be able to get their voices heard.”

Jason Cox stated: “It’s a grave injustice these people are doing to the Labour Party and Jewish people and the fight against genuine anti semitism.”

Here‘s Kevin Glieg: “Why is this organisation called Jewish (not necessary to be Jewish to be a member), or Labour (not necessary to be a Labour Party member); the Labour Party should expel this group.”

Mike Cobley: “JLM are detrimental to the party’s campaigning mission and electoral viability – they should be brought to account for this.”

Jan Hutton was “sick and tired of this orchestrated attack…”

Ruby Foxe stated: “The Labour Party should expel the JLM.”

Linda Poulson: “Let them go they are trying to destroy Labour from within.”

Melissa Spenner Naylor: “Bout time the party got rid of the JLM.”

These are a fraction of the comments received by This Writer alone.

As I have stated previously: Enough is enough.

It’s time Labour regrew its backbone and kicked out the misnamed Jewish Labour Movement once and for all.


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Was Sunday Times smear timed to influence Jewish Labour Movement confidence vote on Corbyn?

Jeremy Corbyn is clearly not an enemy of the Jewish people.

Of course it was. We are looking at a co-ordinated campaign of disinformation about Labour and its leader.

In case you’ve been living under a rock since around 11pm on April 6: The Sunday Times has published another smear piece claiming a link between Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism. I debunked it immediately (here) and now the Labour Party has also attacked the article as a load of nonsense.

According to a Guardian report, “Labour said the figures… were not accurate and that lines had been selectively leaked from emails to misrepresent their overall contents.”

This corresponds exactly with the way the author of the Sunday Times article, Gabriel Pogrund, treated me when he smeared me in a piece in February last year.

I have to admit I am not wholly sympathetic to Labour as regards this defence, because the party is guilty of using the same practice – selectively quoting information – to create a false impression that I was an anti-Semite (from which Mr Pogrund took his cue when he wrote his piece about me, although he also altered the material to fabricate another false claim).

It would be easy to ask how party representatives feel, now that the shoe is on the other foot.

It would be satisfying to point out that this is what happens when you try to appease an aggressor by giving in to its claims and helping persecute innocent people.

And in the run-up to the Jewish Labour Movement’s annual general meeting, at which members are expected to support a vote of “no confidence” in Mr Corbyn, I think it is important that the Labour leadership be made aware of its huge blunder and the harm it has done to innocent people and the party’s own good name.

The Guardian quotes shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti pleading with the JLM “to stay in the Labour movement and to tackle racism together, not to personalise it and make it about Jeremy Corbyn, because he is one person and he won’t be leader forever”. Wrong!

Although it is the Labour Party’s official Jewish affiliate, the JLM does not require its members to be Jewish, or even to be members of the Labour Party. It is a huge security risk to Labour as it provides an opportunity for supporters of other political organisations to infiltrate and sabotage Labour affairs.

One example of this is the way JLM members have secretly and unethically recorded Labour members during events at party conferences in 2016 and 2017, at which those members had the right to expect confidentiality, in order to falsely accuse those members. Why on Earth would anybody do this?

It is clear that the Jewish Labour Movement has a different agenda from that of the Labour Party and it is time the organisation was expelled.

There are far more appropriate alternative organisations that could take over as the party’s official Jewish affiliate. Jewish Voice for Labour represents Jewish people who are members of the Labour Party exclusively – no entryists – and is far more appropriate as a representative of Jewish Labour views.

If you’re still unconvinced that The Sunday Times and the Jewish Labour Movement are trying to spread false claims that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite and that the Labour Party under him is rife with anti-Semitism, perhaps you should consider Mr Corbyn’s record. Feel free to check the following facts for yourself, if you like:

1. In October 1936, Jeremy Corbyn’s mother participated in the battle of Cable Street in defence of British Jews after British fascists had staged an assault on the area. Corbyn was raised in a household passionately opposed to antisemitism in all its forms.

2. In 23rd April 1977, Corbyn organised a counter-demonstration to protect Wood Green from a neo-nazi march through the district. The area had a significant Jewish population.

3. On 7 November 1990, Corbyn signed a motion condemning the rise of antisemitism in the UK

4. In 2002 Jeremy Corbyn led a clean-up and vigil at Finsbury Park Synagogue which had been vandalised in an anti-Semitic attack

5. On 30 April 2002, Corbyn tabled a motion in the House of Commons condemning an anti-Semitic attack on a London Synagogue

6. On 26 November 2003, Jeremy Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion condemning terrorist attacks on two synagogues

7. In February 2009, Jeremy Corbyn signed a parliamentary motion condemning a fascist for establishing a website to host antisemitic materials

8. On 24th March 2009, Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion praising British Jews who resisted the Holocaust by risking their lives to save potential victims

9. Nine years ago, Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion praising “Jewish News”for its pioneering investigation into the spread of antisemitism on Facebook

10. On 9 February 2010, Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion calling for an investigation into Facebook and its failure to prevent the spread of antisemitic materials on its site.

11. On 27 October 2010, Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion praising the late Israeli Prime Minister for pursuing a two state solution to the Israel/Palestine question.

12. On 13 June 2012, Corbyn sponsored and signed a motion condemning the BBC for cutting a Jewish Community television programme from its schedule.

13. 1 October 2013, Corbyn appeared on the BBC to defend Ralph Miliband against vile antisemitic attacks by the UK press.

14. Five years ago Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion condemning antisemitism in sport.

15. On 1 March 2013, Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion condemning and expressing concern at growing levels of antisemitism in European football.

16. On 9 January 2014, Jeremy Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion praising Holocaust education programmes that had taken 20,000 British students to Auschwitz.

17. On 22 June 2015, Corbyn signed a Parliamentary motion expressing concern at the neo-nazi march being planned for an area of London with a significant Jewish population.

18. On 9 October 2016, Corbyn, close to tears, commemorated the 1936 Battle of Cable Street and recalled the role his mother played in defending London’s Jewish community.

19. On 3 December 2016, Corbyn made a visit to Terezin Concentration Camp where Jewish people were murdered by the Nazis. It was Jeremy’s third visit to such a camp, all of which were largely unreported in the most read UK papers.

20. Last year, a widely-endorsed 2018 academic report found ninety-five serious reporting failures in the reporting of the Labour antisemitism story with the worst offenders The Sun, the Mail & the BBC.

21. On 28 February 2016, five months after becoming leader, Jeremy Corbyn appointed Baroness Royall to investigate antisemitism at Oxford University Labour Club.

22. On 27 April 2016 Corbyn suspended an MP pending an investigation into antisemitism.

23. A day later, Corbyn suspended the three times Mayor of London after complaints of antisemitic comments.

24. On 29 April 2016, Corbyn launched an inquiry into the prevalence of antisemitism in the Labour Party. In spite of later changes in how the inquiry was reported, it was initially praised by Jewish community organisations.

25. In Corbyn’s first seven months as leader of the Labour Party, just ten complaints were received about antisemitism. 90% of those were suspended from the Labour Party within 24 hours.

26. In September 2017, Corbyn backed a motion at Labour’s annual conference introducing a new set of rules regarding antisemitism.

27. In the six months that followed the introduction of the new code of conduct, to March 2018, 94% of the fifty-four people accused of antisemitism remained suspended or barred from Labour Party membership. Three of the fifty-four were exonerated.

28. When Jennie Formby became general secretary of the party last year, she appointed a highly-qualified in-house Counsel, as recommended in the Chakrabarti Report.

29. In 2018, Labour almost doubled the size of its staff team handling investigations and dispute processes.

30. Last year, to speed up the handling of antisemitism cases, smaller panels of 3-5 NEC members were established to enable cases to be heard more quickly.

31. Since 2018, every complaint made about antisemitism is allocated its own independent specialist barrister to ensure due process is followed.

32. The entire backlog of cases outstanding upon Jennie Formby becoming General Secretary of the Labour Party was cleared within 6 months of Jennie taking up her post.

33. Since September 2018, Labour has doubled the size of its National Constitutional Committee (NCC) – its senior disciplinary panel – from 11 to 25 members to enable it to process cases more quickly.

34. Under Formby and Labour’s left-run NEC, NCC arranged elections at short notice to ensure the NCC reached its new full capacity without delay.

35. Since later 2018, the NCC routinely convenes a greater number of hearing panels to allow cases to be heard and finalised without delay.

36. In 2018, the NEC established a ‘Procedures Working Group’ to lead reforms in the way disciplinary cases are handled.

37. The NEC adopted the IHRA working definition of antisemitism and all eleven examples of antisemitism attached to it.

38. A rule change agreed at Conference in 2018 means that all serious complaints, including antisemitism, are dealt with nationally to ensure consistency.

39. Last year, Jennie Formby wrote to the admins and moderators of Facebook groups about how they can effectively moderate online spaces and requested that any discriminatory content be reported to the Labour Party for investigation.

40. Since last year, no one outside Labour’s Governance and Legal Unit can be involved in decision-making on antisemitism investigations. This independence allows decisions free from political influence to be taken.

Is that clear enough for everyone?


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A general election is in the offing – time for another anti-Semitism smear against Jeremy Corbyn

This is an absolute disgrace:

It’s the latest anti-Jeremy Corbyn piece by the Sunday Times reporter responsible for manufacturing such nonsense, Gabriel Pogrund.

You may remember that Mr Pogrund included a series of – let’s call them what they are – lies about This Writer in an article published on February 4 last year. If you need to refresh your memory, you can read my response to that piece here.

The Sunday Times was forced to publish a correction on January 13, when the press regulator IPSO ruled against the newspaper after I complained in the strongest terms possible. Here‘s my account of that.

Mr Pogrund based his allegations about me on a leaked Labour Party report to the party’s National Executive Committee. I had a chance to read that report as it was included in the charge sheet sent to me in advance of my disciplinary hearing before the party’s National Kangaroo Court National Constitutional Committee and it would be fair to say not only that the information it contained was wildly inaccurate in many parts but also that Mr Pogrund took liberties with it.

So I would strongly advise that anybody reading his current article should treat the allegations therein with extreme caution.

Don’t get me wrong – if any of the allegations against Labour Party members that are featured in the article are accurate, they are deplorable and those responsible deserve to be drummed out of the party at the very least. However:

At no point in what is visible of the article on the Sunday Times front – which is all that is available to me at this point, and I’m damned if I’ll spend another penny on that hack-rag – is there any confirmation of its information from a Labour Party representative who would know about it.

No evidence is given to show whether the claims about particular individuals are accurate or merely allegations.

And nothing in the visible part of the article directly connects the claims it makes about alleged interference in Labour anti-Semitism investigations with Jeremy Corbyn himself.

Yet the headline clearly refers to the individuals listed in the piece as “Corbyn’s anti-Semite army”.

The piece carries comments from Tom Watson, of whom current opinion among Labour Party members can be summed up as follows –

– and from Margaret Hodge, who has become a “rent-a-quote” for people writing smear stories about Mr Corbyn.

I think the Labour leader has very strong grounds to take Mr Pogrund and his newspaper to court for defamation.

This is a critical time for the people of the United Kingdom.

Hysteria over Brexit is at fever pitch, with Theresa May in negotiations with a Labour team on a way to save the process from the disaster she has made of it.

If the talks fall apart, it is possible that Mrs May will trigger a general election in the hope that a new Parliament may be able to support one of the options available.

And in this context, The Sunday Times publishes a piece smearing the leader of the Opposition.

Fortunately for sanity, it is also published in the context of a long line of smear pieces against Mr Corbyn that means it is unlikely to be taken seriously by anyone other than the Tory-supporting media who have a vested interest in repeating its claims until people who are easily-led start believing them. Expect a segment on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr ShowSunday Politics and possibly even Politics Live on Monday (April 8).

The rest of us are more likely to agree with this:

Still, there is enough in the article to demonstrate an intent to lower Mr Corbyn’s standing in the opinion of right-thinking people generally – damaging his reputation at a time when he may be about to lead the Labour Party into a general election. And I see no proof that the allegations in the article are accurate, or that Mr Corbyn has been involved in what it claims.

When Conservative MP Ben Bradley tweeted a false allegation that Mr Corbyn sold national secrets to Communist spies, Mr Corbyn pursued him with a threat of legal action if he did not apologise – and so he (eventually) did.

Let’s look forward to similar action from Mr Corbyn over this.


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Anti-Semite claims ‘The Jews’ are funding Carole Cadwalladr’s Brexit investigations

Carole Cadwalladr.

It seems to be this month’s ‘thing’: If you can’t disprove the message, smear the messenger.

So with several ‘Leave’-supporting campaign groups undergoing serious investigation for varying breaches of electoral law – much of it due to the investigative journalism of Carole Cadwalladr, at least one ‘Leave’-supporting media organisation has decided to attack her, rather than her findings.

Unfortunately for Raheem Kassam and his Patreon site, the article‘s claims have no substances and seem to be a vehicle for dog-whistle anti-Semitism rather than serious journalism.

If you want to read a detailed takedown, I can recommend a piece on Zelo Street.

But I can give you the gist right here: Kassam wants you to believe that Ms Cadwalladr has been funded by Remain-supporting “globalist shills” (apparently this is an anti-Semitic dog whistle) because her work has appeared on the Open Democracy website and among its many funders is George Soros and his Open Society Foundation.

Kassam states: “Cadwalladr has attempted to cover such tracks by issuing a series of tweets alleging that any critique of the billionaire, fund manager Soros is ‘racist’ against Jews. This is despite Soros’s rejection of his Jewish identity, and in spite of the fact that he has openly admitted to assisting in the confiscation of Jewish property during the Holocaust”.

Zelo Street responds: “George Soros did not assist in confiscation of Jewish property” – and this certainly seems unlikely as he would have been only 15 at the end of World War II. “And whether he “rejects his Jewish identity” is irrelevant. Calling “Soros” is code for “the Jews”. Like gratuitously pitching terms like “globalists”, “global bankers”, and “Goldman Sachs”.”

Is this the ‘Leave’ response to the hard evidence that shows possibly-criminal breaches of electoral law – anti-Semitism?

If so, it’s not attractive.

But as I type these words, I wonder how many Leave supporters will choose to disassociate themselves from anyone promoting such an opinion – and how many will simply double down and attack those of us exposing it with the anti-Remain cry of “You lost – get over it”, that isn’t even relevant here?

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Exposed: The distortions that made anti-Semitism smears possible

Marc Wadsworth (left), introducing the family of Stephen Lawrence to Nelson Mandela.

A great deal of attention has been given on the social media recently (although not the mainstream media, you notice) to the report by the Media Reform Coalition and Birkbeck on the mainstream media’s coverage of allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

It found that there have been “prevalent errors, omissions and skews in the mainstream coverage”, and much of the reporting of it has focused on this headline.

This Writer found much of interest in the case studies, also – especially that which focused on Marc Wadsworth.

Mr Wadsworth has been in the news again recently, after he spoke in favour of Kerry-Anne Mendoza giving the Claudia Jones memorial lecture in his capacity as chair of the National Union of Journalists’ Black Members Council. His comments attracted the enmity of commentators of a certain political leaning, who referred critically to the incident at the launch of the Chakrabarti Report that led to accusations of anti-Semitism against him.

The MRC/Birkbeck report has this to say about it: “The immediate availability of a video recording of the incident offered a useful basis on which to assess the degree to which the activist, Mark Wadsworth, was accurately quoted in reports. Again, this reflects a common theme in much of the related coverage where contentious or controversial statements are paraphrased in reports in ways that can potentially distort their original context or meaning.

“Wadsworth accused Ruth Smeeth, a Jewish MP who had been critical of Corbyn on a range of issues (and especially antisemitism), of “working in hand in hand” with the Daily Telegraph. Given the immediate focus of the event, this was immediately interpreted by some as a veiled antisemitic attack, drawing on a racial stereotype of Jews controlling the media.

“On the face of it, however, Wadsworth’s comments seemed to reflect a widely-held concern amongst Labour members that centrist or right-wing MPs were ‘plotting’ to oust the elected leader of the party, and that this extended to collaboration with some of the Tory-supporting press. As it turned out, these concerns were well-founded as the event was swiftly followed by a wave of shadow cabinet resignations that was at least partly orchestrated with the media, including the BBC.

“Of crucial significance here was Wadsworth’s reference to an interaction he witnessed between Smeeth and a single reporter from a single newspaper. There was nothing in his original comment that either explicitly or implicitly generalized this interaction into a broader accusation of working with the right-wing press or media at large. Indeed, he was subsequently caught on camera having a private exchange with Jeremy Corbyn stating that he ‘outed’ Smeeth for “working with the
‘Torygraph’”. This would seem to support the view that Wadsworth’s charge was not one of collaborating or conspiring with the press in general.

“Yet this is precisely how Wadsworth was indirectly quoted in 13 out of 35 reports. At its most benign, such paraphrasing adopted words such as “colluding with the right-wing press” without any qualification… And at the extreme end of the spectrum Wadsworth was reported in the Sun as accusing Smeeth of being part of a “Jewish media conspiracy” and in a separate article, simply “attacking her for being Jewish”.”

The report added: “It would appear that several journalists had taken cues from Smeeth herself who, in a formal response, had alleged that Wadsworth used traditional antisemitic slurs to attack her “for being part of a ‘media conspiracy’”. In spite of the seriousness of the allegation, nearly half of the reports in the sample (15 out of 33) either quoted Smeeth directly or referred to her allegations without mentioning Wadsworth’s denial. This was a clear subversion of the journalistic principle of offering a right of reply to those who face reputational damage from an allegation of harm.

This was all the more perplexing given that journalists did not have to rely on second hand accounts of what was said at the meeting. Many were in attendance of  the launch which was also streamed live and the video footage – including the recorded interaction between Wadsworth and Smeeth – was easily and immediately accessible.”

The conclusion was: “Underlying the evidence presented here was a persistent subversion of conventional news values…  Journalists covering the launch of Labour’s antisemitism report in 2016 routinely misquoted Mark Wadsworth in ways that invoked a notion of media conspiracy that was entirely absent from his original statement, in spite of the fact that a video recording of the event was readily and immediately accessible.”

I know from personal experience that the treatment of Marc Wadsworth was not a solitary case. Gabriel Pogrund’s Sunday Times article alleging that I was a Holocaust denier relied entirely on a ‘leaked’ report from Labour’s NEC which itself was based on allegations by the Campaign Against Antisemitism. My own original words were publicly available – and had been for more than a year, at the time his report was published.

Whilst I was contacted by Mr Pogrund prior to publication of his story, he did not give me a right of reply on the claims he made.

It is clear that this “persistent subversion of conventional news values” has become standard practice in mainstream media coverage of allegations of anti-Semitism against members of the Labour Party.

In light of the facts highlighted by the report, it seems clear that Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, which examines allegations against members, needs to revisit the case of Mr Wadsworth – and reconsider whether it should continue with the cases against myself and others who have suffered similar accusations.

And then the Labour leadership would be well-advised to consider suing the press outlets mentioned in the report, not only for wasting all our time but for libelling the party as a whole.

It is these so-called newspapers that have brought the Labour Party into disrepute, and not the members whose names they have dragged through the mud.

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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