Tag Archives: witch hunt

Jewish former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen is voting Labour. Here he explains why

Michael Rosen: He’s Jewish and he’s voting for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party.

Once again there is a huge amount of activity in the right-wing media, with more attempts to claim that Jeremy Corbyn has done too little to end anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

Former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen is a Jew, and will be voting for Labour in the general election.

In a Facebook post that I include in full below, he explains his reasons for ignoring the – increasingly desperate, in my opinion – protestations of the witch-hunters.

For me, the standout point is this [boldings mine]:

“The minimum requirements for a claim that there is a ‘problem’ in a given area (e.g. antisemitism in the Labour Party) is that it is distinctly and measurably worse than in other places or in society as a whole. If that hasn’t been shown , (and it hasn’t been) it’s not a Labour Party problem it’s a societal problem.”

Indeed. With that, I would like to couple a comment from a person on Twitter who was incensed at Phillip Schofield’s determination to extract an apology from Mr Corbyn for a problem that is greater in society as a whole than it is in the Labour Party:

If people like @Schofe are just attacking Labour AS & not AS in the Tories or the far right, or attacking AS in society as a whole, then they are not attacking Labour AS they are just attacking Labour.

Here is Mr Rosen’s post in full:

1. I’ve met people who think that there are no Jews left in the Labour Party.
2. I’ve met people who think that the Chief Rabbi is in some way or another in charge of, or a representative of all Jews in Britain.

Neither of these statements is true or anything like true.

There are several Jewish candidates for the Labour Party. There are thousands of Labour Party members who are Jewish. Several times in the media people have said how it’s impossible or ‘not safe’ for Jews to stay in the Labour Party. It’s not impossible. If the media had wanted to, they could have asked Jewish MPs, Jewish candidates in this election ‘Is it impossible or unsafe for you to be in the Labour Party?’ It has been dishonest of them to have not done that.

There are also Rabbis who have either said that they will vote Labour and/or have expressed great concern over the way Jewish religious leaders (Rabbi Romain and the Chief Rabbi) have intervened in this election. You can read about these Rabbis in the Jewish Chronicle online: Rabbi Danny Rich and Rabbi Howard Cooper.

This tells us that within the religious part of Jewish life, there are people who are worried about how religious leaders have politicised religion. In the past this has been levelled at Muslims for having brought in ‘communalist politics’. Commentators like Nick Cohen were particularly scathing about this at the time of, say, George Galloway being elected. The silence in the mass media about the dangers of a religious group saying, in effect, ‘don’t vote for Party X’ are very great. Howard Cooper could see a danger that it could invite persecution.

In this particular election, it is also particularly dangerous because it is a two-horse race. Saying ‘don’t vote Labour’ is in effect saying, ‘Let’s have a victory for the Tories’. This is no surprise, as the Chief Rabbi welcomed the election of Boris Johnson to the leadership of the Tory Party and blessed him.

Johnson is a bigot and a liar. He and the Tories have been quite content to snuggle up to extreme right wing and antisemitic parties in Europe – like Orban in Hungary. He has also kept quiet about the pattern of antisemitism coming from Jacob Rees-Mogg, who has talked of his Jewish colleagues in the House of Commons as ‘illuminati’, questioned whether they ‘understand’ the constitution, he has done the ‘Soros jibe’ (this is an antisemitic ‘trope’ about the financier Soros deemed to be an international wheeler and dealer); Rees-Mogg has also retweeted a tweet from the Alternative für Deutschland – the far-right organisation in Germany and he has had dinner with the far-right British organisation, ‘Traditional Britain Group’. There are other incidents of antisemitism in the Tory party that Boris Johnson has ‘kept silent’ about (Crispin Blunt, Suella Braverman, Toby Young).

Yet, the Chief Rabbi is in effect entrusting those who regard him as their figurehead to a Johnson Tory government!

For clarity’s sake, the Chief Rabbi may ‘speak for’ a majority of Jews in the UK but he does not ‘represent’ them. He is the leader of the United Synagogue which has a congregation of around 40,000. According to the Board of Deputies there are 284,000 Jews in the UK. Half of us are affiliated to synagogues, half of us are not.

In all the surveys of Jewish opinion in the UK, I have never been sure of how the survey of the 142,000 non-religious Jews is done. How do they find us? One survey created a ‘panel’ having found secular Jews by focussing on Jews in areas where there is a high Jewish population and people having ‘Jewish names’. Ahem ahem – apart from Hebrew and Hebraic names there are no Jewish names. Most Jews in this country have German, Polish (if they (we) are ‘Ashkanzim’ or Sephardi names which may be e.g. Italian or Spanish) and/or we have English names! What’s more, since the arrival of many EU citizens, there are many Germans and Poles who have names that before were considered to be ‘Jewish’ like ‘Meyer’ – a standard German name that some Jews have.

The surveys may be accurate – perhaps – but this method of polling looks decidedly dodgy. I have challenged this many times on twitter and no one has successfully defended it so far.

I have been asked several times to come on the radio and TV to talk about supporting Corbyn. I have refused. I have said to the producer – ‘Do the honest thing, talk to a Labour voting rabbi, and/or a Jewish Labour candidate and/or a Jewish Labour Party member.’ The reason why I say this is because
a) I can’t answer any questions that the interviewers ask all the time ‘Is enough being done? Are Jews being bullied in meetings etc’ I don’t want to screw up this matter by appearing on programmes and saying ‘I don’t know…’ or ‘some of my best friends are Jewish and they tell me….x’ It’s a trap.

b) The times I have appeared e.g. on al-Jazeera, the method of dealing with me (or Miriam Margolyes or Alexei Sayle) is to say that we represent no one. At one level, I have to say that that is true. I have never pretended and can’t pretend and would never pretend that I ‘represent’ any other Jews. I have no trouble making another claim that I am entitled to have my views but again, is not great TV in a 2 minute interview!

For the record, for people who are not Jewish: I am no less Jewish than the Chief Rabbi. I was brought up knowing that I was Jewish, and have participated in all my life (read, studied, reflected on, been particularly interested in ) secular Jewish activities to do with Jewish writers, artists, and Jewish history and have of course reflected on this in my writing in hundreds of different ways. I see myself as a poet and performer who has absorbed many traditions one of which is ‘aggadic’ – that of Jewish story-telling.

To say these things has invited Jews and non-Jews on twitter to call me a ‘kapo’ (a Jewish concentration camp guard), a ‘used Jew’ (that from the editor of ‘Jewish News’), someone who ‘dons the cloak of Jewishness’ (a Jewish DJ and actor), one of the ‘useful Jewish idiots’ (from the commentator Dan Hodges, ‘a cheerleader for Soros’ (from Lee Harpin political editor of the Jewish Chronicle), and a plea to the BBC to not employ me to present ‘Word of Mouth’ (from the QC Simon Myerson and the campaigner against antisemitism (!) Euan Philips.

Clearly some people think that the best way to combat antisemitism is to be antisemitic.

Further: the whole question of ‘antisemitism’ has been fogged by an unknowing or unwilling lack of clarity over distinctions between slurs, prejudice, bias, discimination, persecution, incitement to antisemitic violence, and the violence itself. There are times when you might have thought that UK Jews were experiencing a pogrom.

Secondly, the minimum requirements for a claim that there is a ‘problem’ in a given area (e.g. antisemitism in the Labour Party) is that it is distinctly and measurably worse than in other places or in society as a whole. If that hasn’t been shown , (and it hasn’t been) it’s not a Labour Party problem it’s a societal problem.

I’ve known Jeremy Corbyn for 30 years. He is no antisemite. He has put his neck on the line hundreds of times in opposing racism, antisemitism, far right fascism, holocaust denial.

For the record the sudden loss of Jewish support for Labour came when Miliband was leader who the Jewish Chronicle described as ‘toxic’ for Jewish voters. MIliband is Jewish. It was his support for recognition of Palestine before negotiations that did for him, they said. Being Jewish was no shield against this hostility.

Ask me, who am I ‘safer’ with: a Johnson-led government with its record of the ‘hostile environment’, persecution of Windrush generation, and persistent antisemitic jibes from leading party members or this Labour Party, and I say, Labour every time.

But I don’t look at the election purely through a Jewish prism. It is a clear class issue: a Tory government will continue to ravage the lives of of working class people through attacks on wages, public services, and the disabled. A Labour government will halt these and start to reverse them.

World business (‘capitalism’) is in crisis: huge levels of debt, massive ‘productivity’ problems (in their frenzy to compete with each other) a slew towards ‘economic nationallism’ (the Steve Bannon philosophy ) and Johnson is riding the Bannon bus which is driven by the US. The US are desperate to create a bogus ‘free trade’ world, which in actual fact is a US-protectionist world. Johnson is backing this as a ‘solution’.

I’m voting Labour.

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‘Jewish families will leave’ – this nonsense claim is the upshot of the Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ witch-hunt

James Cleverly: He was once described as “the Tories’ go-to eejit when they need someone to tweet absolute nonsense or defend the indefensible”.

What an absolute travesty.

I wonder how many people reading this can remember back in the 1987 general election, when reporters claimed rich people – including pop stars like Phil Collins – would leave the UK if Neil Kinnock became a Labour prime minister?

It was mentioned on a TV panel show of the time, and I recall Tony Slattery remarking, “What a rock-and-roller you are, Phil!”

Well, Labour didn’t win and Phil Collins didn’t leave.

The reality was that people like him were never really going to. We know that because they didn’t clear off when New Labour won in 1997.

Now the Torygraph – and the Jewish Chronicle, if my search engine is correct – is saying Jewish families will leave the UK in fear of what Jeremy Corbyn will do, should he win the key to Number 10. This is based, we can only conclude, on the claims of anti-Semitism against Mr Corbyn.

I don’t believe it.

Firstly, the information comes from James Cleverly, the man running the Conservative election campaign. He would say anything to gain an advantage and he is not known for accuracy or intelligence.

Secondly, it would imply a huge amount of gullibility on the party of members of the Jewish community, and I’m not buying that.

In my opinion, most Jews know that the claims against Mr Corbyn aren’t true, and have been devised to discredit a man who wants a peaceful solution to the Israel/Palestine question.

Anybody who did leave, I would suggest, would have a political reason for doing so.

I reckon the UK’s Jewish community is in more danger from such liars than anybody else. Don’t you agree?

Source: Jewish families will leave the UK if Jeremy Corbyn wins general election, Tory chair James Cleverly says 

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Haters attack Jewish candidate lined up to replace Louise Ellman in Liverpool – because she is pro-Palestine?

Jo Bird: Bigoted witch-hunters are conducting a hate campaign to sabotage her chances of being a Labour Parliamentary candidate – but the facts are against them.

Appointing a Jewish person to replace Louise Ellman as Labour’s candidate to represent Liverpool Riverside in the next general election might seem the most natural thing in the world.

Ms Ellman quit the party acrimoniously ahead of a re-selection trigger vote that she seemed certain to lose, after she accused members of her local party of anti-Semitism. When she quit, she threw a few more un-evidenced anti-Semitism accusations at party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

So it would seem good politics to nominate another Jewish party member to replace her – if only to show that the party is not institutionally anti-Semitic, or whatever today’s buzz-phrase from the witch-hunters happens to be.

Apparently not.

The favoured choice, you see, is Jo Bird – and she’s not the kind of Jewish Labour member the witch-hunters would ever approve.

For a start, she’s pro-Palestine.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that her party membership was suspended earlier this year on a trumped-up charge. Now the witch-hunters and bigots are trying to influence Labour against selecting her on the basis of this false claim…

… and Twitter is giving them exactly what they deserve.

The most inflammatory salvo against Ms Bird came from Karen Pollock who, as chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, should know better. Note from her tweet that she was referring to an article in the Jewish Chronicle, which has been instrumental in stirring up hatred against innocent people in the past.

The paper libelled This Writer in 2018 and was forced to publish a grudging correction after I took the matter to press regulator IPSO.

Note also that she omitted the fact that Ms Bird is Jewish.

Here’s Ms Pollock’s astonishingly ill-advised tweet:

The hypocrisy of the claim – especially as fuelled by the Jewish Chronicle, is clear:

Oh, and Ms Bird herself has made a video explaining the circumstances of her suspension:

The conclusion is clear: if there is any anti-Semitism going on here, it is being perpetrated by the Jewish Chronicle, Ms Pollock, and anyone else who wants to attack Ms Bird:

Well said, Ian and Sparky.

This Site wishes Ms Bird success in her campaign to replace Louise Ellman. It seems to me that it would be a huge step forward in the fight against racism and anti-Semitism.

EXTRA: I note that Rachel Riley is on the record as having attacked Ms Bird over the words that triggered her suspension. I wonder if Ms Riley had the courage – and the honesty – to apologise for the mistake after the councillor was exonerated?

Ms Riley is currently suing me for libel – another trumped-up charge. Details of how to support my fight against her lawsuit are below.

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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Are right-wingers stealing tactics from fake anti-Semitism witch-hunters?

If you’ve never heard of “Torrancing” before, don’t worry. I don’t think I have either, although I certainly believe I have been a victim of it.

Here’s how it works:

The Establishment is resorting more than ever to negative tactics, with escalating smears and distortion. But Labour supporters need to be aware of one particular tactic employed by right-wing and so-called ‘centrist’ commentators in an attempt to drag Labour supporters into spending their resources negatively.

‘Torrancing’, as the graphic above explains, is a baiting technique used to deliberately incite an angry reaction – wasting time and energy but also providing fodder for even further attacks and smears, while allowing those using the technique to cast themselves as victims.

Isn’t this exactly the tactic that was used against me by witch-hunters looking for a way to accuse me of anti-Semitism?

Consider the comment by ‘Ben’ that kicked off those accusations, way back in 2016. He (she?) had alleged a tradition of left-wing anti-Semitism going back as far as Karl Marx. Examples were provided – but there was far too little detail in these accounts for anyone to make an educated judgement as to whether or not ‘Ben’ was right.

When I pointed this out, my words were twisted by pseudo-charity the Campaign Against Antisemitism to suggest that I was an anti-Semite and that it was trying to protect British Jews from me.

That’s Torrancing – or so it seems to me. My reaction wasn’t angry, admittedly, but some of the vilest individuals in the UK altered what I said to present a false impression of it. As a result, I have had to endure nearly three years of attacks and smears from liars pretending to be victims.

And now we are being told that right-wing campaigners are doing the same.

There certainly does seem to be an increase in Twitter trolls at the moment. I have been flagging them up as such with an appeal for people to “Mute/Block/Avoid” – and possibly also to warn all their friends.

But there are degrees of this kind of abuse, it seems to me. I’m happy to give people the benefit of the doubt if they seem reasonable at the start.

Besides, blocking them simply gives them freedom to spread their nonsense to the rest of the tweeting world, unchallenged.

So I may ask for evidence to support an assertion, and then I may suggest that this evidence may not be conclusive. After this, I may have reason to suggest that they are becoming abusive.

So my best advice is: Protect yourself. If you don’t think you can successfully turn the tables on this creeps, block them and alert everyone you know.

Source: #BlockDontBicker: Labour supporters urged to be aware of ‘torrancing’ attempts and avoid engaging | The SKWAWKBOX

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Exposed: Torygraph lies about Labour and anti-Semitism

False accusation: Labour Against the Witch-hunt does not claim all claims of anti-Semitism against Labour Party members are false or politically-motivated.

The Torygraph is the latest right-wing newspaper to descend into conspiracy-theory anti-Semitism smears to undermine Labour’s chances in forthcoming elections.

The “newspaper” – if you can call it that – has allowed itself to repeat the conspiracy trope that criticism of Israel must equal anti-Semitism. It doesn’t.

Even hardened campaigners against A-S have affirmed that reasoned criticism of Israeli politics cannot be equated with hatred of all Jews.

We have evidence that, for example, “the “Act.IL” organization, which is coordinated, backed and has been funded by Israel’s so-called Ministry of Strategic Affairs, had used a troll army to spread false information about Jeremy Corbyn – the leader of the UK’s official opposition party”.

So the Telegraph is wrong to suggest this:

“A Labour activist who claimed the Israeli lobby had “manufactured” the party’s anti-Semitism crisis has been selected as a candidate for the European elections, deepening the row over claims of anti-Jewish hatred in the party.

Israel is not Judaism and the Israeli government, in fact, is not representative of the opinions of all Israelis – so it cannot be suggested that the claims suggested here relate to anti-Semitism in any way.

… That’s unless the person making the suggestion has a political interest spreading falsehoods, of course.

Here comes another fake claim:

Martin Mayer, a former member of Labour’s National Executive Committee and a Unite union activist, has been chosen to stand as MEP for Yorkshire & Humber.

The retired transport worker has been active in Labour Against the Witchunt (LAW), a group which claims accusations of anti-Semitism are a ruse to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour Against the Witch-hunt claims that some accusations of anti-Semitism are false, and have been made to undermine Mr Corbyn and his supporters.

But the omission of that word – “some” – in the article creates an implication that the organisation is saying all such accusations are politically-motivated falsehoods. That is not true.

Mr Mayer’s selection as an MEP candidate is likely to raise questions about the suitability of the candidates being selected by Labour.

It is only likely to raise such questions among people with a vested interest in spreading falsehoods about the Labour Party and anti-Semitism.

It will be interesting to see who puts their head above the parapet. We can start the list with Telegraph reporters Patrick Sawer, Edward Malnick and Hayley Dixon.

Source: Labour activist who claimed Israeli lobby ‘manufactured’ anti-Semitism crisis selected as MEP candidate


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Burgon accused in ‘Zionism’ row as anti-Labour smears mount up

Richard Burgon: He wasn’t wrong!

It seems Labour’s Richard Burgon lied about saying Zionism was “the enemy of peace”. Does anybody blame him?

An investigative journalist called Iggy Ostanin put the evidence together in this tweet:

Shame on him for lying about it – but, as I say, does anybody blame him?

The Labour Party is currently in the grip of a witch-hunt in which anybody accused of anti-Semitism is immediately condemned as guilty without trial – unless they are themselves members of the witch-hunt, or are high up in the Labour hierarchy. We’ve all seen evidence of it; we know it to be correct. Right?

Zionism itself is just an ethno-political ideology. It relates to Jewish people but you don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist. In its current iteration is it extremely unpleasant as it supports the theft of Palestinian land and the brutalisation of Palestinian people.

This is in opposition of Labour Party policy, of course. Labour claims to support the right of all peoples to self-determination. In practice, this seems to apply only to the Jewish people in Israel. Palestinians are routinely denied that right in the name of – guess what? Zionism.

The Jewish Labour Movement was formerly Poale Zion – “Workers of Zion” – and still identifies itself as a Zionist organisation (although the Labour Party tried to deny this when I was accused of anti-Semitism and dismissed from the party. The charge didn’t stick because it was false, but I was expelled anyway). Non-Zionists are not welcome there.

Labour Friends of Israel is a group within the party that specifically states that it supports the current Israeli government in its policies of hatred towards Palestinians, motivated by – guess what? Zionism. So it is understandable that Mr Burgon would say what he did about that organisation, and about Zionism, in the video that Mr Ostonin found.

Zionism is, of course, mixed with Judaism by the witch-hunters – falsely.

And in that atmosphere of hatred and ostracism of anyone who dares to question these false links between Zionism, Judaism and, yes, Israel, is it any wonder that Mr Burgon, confronted with this accusation by Andrew Neil on a BBC politics programme, denied it?

That’s why I tweeted this to Mr Ostanin: “Of course, Zionism is an ethno-nationalist political ideology and it could be argued that it is causing much of the harm between Israel and Palestine now. I would suggest that he denied saying it in fear of the witch hunt that falsely equates Zionism with Judaism.”

I followed it up with this: “So my question is, are you trying to suggest that Mr Burgon is an anti-Semite? Or are you trying to suggest that he was afraid of the witch-hunters? In the first instance I would suggest you were making a false accusation. In the second, wouldn’t you be?”

There’s been no reply at the time of writing. People like Mr Ostanin seem content to cause mischief but are unwilling to stick around and justify it.

If he thought he’d stir up anti-Burgon sentiment, he’s had a nasty shock:

https://twitter.com/robinjamesbanks/status/1118152687562964992

https://twitter.com/LabLeftVoice/status/1118099750232961030

Perhaps we should all do that. How would the witch-hunters like to be equated with fascists?

At long last, the voices of OPPONENTS of the anti-Semitism witch-hunt are being heard

Witch-hunters: I still like this image because it paints the Labour Party anti-Semitism fakers as cartoon characters.

As a victim of the witch-hunt, I am delighted to see that people aren’t meekly accepting the mainstream interpretation of it any more.

We’re currently seeing a backlash against the ‘establishment’ view that anybody accused of anti-Semitism must be guilty, with three notable contributions in the last few days:

More than 200 Jewish women, incensed by The Guardian‘s insistence on assuming that MPs like Margaret Hodge must be telling the whole truth about the situation, wrote to the newspaper to point out that this Dame’s claims fall far short of journalistic standards of accuracy.

They pointed out that Margaret Hodge had claimed to have submitted 200 complaints of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party to general secretary Jennie Formby – but on investigation, those complaints concerned 111 individuals of whom only 20 were party members. Those involving the other 91 people were nothing to do with the Labour Party’s disciplinary procedure and her submission of those complaints was a waste of the party’s time.

Having established that Margaret Hodge’s grasp of the facts is not what it should be, the letter’s signatories went on to suggest that her latest claims – that Labour branches should be shut down, for supporting Chris Williamson against those who want him removed from the party over his own stance on the issue, or for refusing to accept the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition and examples of anti-Semitism over Labour’s own version – should be treated as similarly suspect.

The Guardian refused to publish the letter on the grounds that it said nothing new, which is bitterly funny in hindsight as the criticism is more appropriately attached to the words of the MP than to her critics.

The ensuing coverage of the letter in the social media has made fools of Margaret Hodge and The Guardian – and may have reached more people as a result of the newspaper’s decision not to publish it.

Not only that, but 12 Holocaust survivors wrote a letter, published by The Sunday Times, stating that they “do not believe that any prejudice against or hostility towards Jews is being perpetrated by Labour; and if any exists within the party, it is minimal and no more prevalent than in any other political party… Jeremy Corbyn has in fact bent over backwards to help Jewish people”.

The letter continued: “Media attention on the Labour Party in general, and on Corbyn in particular, is being generated by anti-Labour and anti-Corbyn mischief makers, who unfortunately are over-represented within the so-called Anglo-Jewish leadership — a leadership whose legitimacy is not recognised by the mainstream Haredi (strictly Orthodox) Jews.”

The letter has been criticised by the Jewish Chronicle – but readers of This Site will know that the JC has a distant relationship with the facts, as far as the anti-Semitism row is concerned, and it has been suggested that it used false information – fake news – to trash the claims of these Holocaust survivors. Just read this Skwawkbox article for an explanation.

Finally, we have seen the online launch of the documentary film WitchHunt, by John Pullman, which examines the attack on innocent Labour Party members by those who corruptly accuse them of anti-Semitism.

I haven’t seen it yet. I wonder how closely it will mirror my own experiences. But I would certainly encourage you to watch it.

The mainstream – the ‘establishment’ – will try hard to regain the initiative; we have seen one attempt already in the response of the Jewish Chronicle. The best advice you can take is to use your own intelligence and make up your own mind, based on the evidence available and the reliability of those providing it.


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Intimidation forces cancellation of film screening about Labour’s ‘anti-Semitism’ WitchHunt (Part One of Two)

Bully: Luciana Berger is no longer a member of the Labour Party, but she intimidated it into forcing the cancellation of a film screening in order to silence dissent against her story about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

Labour’s latest bid to smear and discredit people who speak against fake “anti-Semitism” accusations against party members is a disgrace that flies against a basic rule of British justice.

Of course the usual fellow-travellers in the mainstream media have kicked up a song and dance about it so you’ll know that Labour MP Chris Williamson was attacked yesterday (February 26) by his former party colleague Luciana Berger after it was revealed his office had booked a room in the House of Commons to host a screening of the film WitchHunt, about the accusations of anti-Semitism against Jackie Walker, who is herself Jewish but whose Labour Party membership has been suspended for a specious reason (you can read about that – and see why the allegation is false – here).

Ms Berger tweeted:

“With a ‘guest’ who hasn’t yet had their antisemitism disciplinary hearing”?

So she’s been accused, but no verdict against her has been recorded?

That means only one thing – as I made clear myself in a tweeted response to Ms Berger:

That’s right – Ms Berger was trying to silence an innocent woman, preventing her from stating her side of the story.

Now, why would she want to do that – especially when one realises that she hasn’t even seen the film herself?

It seems she succeeded, too – the screening has now been cancelled as a result of the adverse publicity Ms Berger created, even though it has nothing to do with her; she isn’t a member of the Labour Party any more.

It had been arranged with Mr Williamson’s office by Jewish Voice for Labour. In a press release, the organisation stated:

Intimidation forces cancellation of WitchHunt film in Parliament

“A documentary film exploring the background to accusations of antisemitism in the Labour Party, due to be screened in the House of Commons on Monday March 4, has been cancelled after an outcry from people who have not seen it.

“Within hours of an invitation being sent to Labour MPs and journalists, the Jewish News  reported calls for expulsion from the Labour Party of Chris Williamson MP whose office had booked the room to show the 62-minute documentary, titled WitchHunt. Williamson had no other role in organising the event.

“Neve Gordon, Professor of international law at Queen Mary University of London, who was due to take part in a panel discussion after the screening next Monday, said: ‘This is outrageous. It certainly confirms the significance of the movie.’

“The documentary has been acclaimed by leading filmmakers Mike Leigh and Peter Kosminsky, both of whom are Jewish, and by Israeli historian Professor Avi Shlaim (Oxford University). His statement, which topped the invitation, says: ‘Anyone who speaks or writes in the public domain about antisemitism and the current state of the Labour Party has a duty to see this film and address the issues it raises.’

“The film is due for release online on March 17th following a tour with director Jon Pullman to a number of cities including Nottingham, Brighton, Edinburgh and Derry.

“Pullman said: ‘We hope that people concerned with the struggle against racism and antisemitism take the time to see the film, and then make their own mind up. To have it publicly denounced as ‘offensive’ by people who have not seen it raises question about what is happening to democracy in this country.'”

The testimonial from Mr Kosminsky is particularly pertinent as it states: “[WitchHunt] packs a powerful punch, telling a story we just aren’t hearing at the moment.”

The reason for that should be obvious from Ms Berger’s tweet.

She got exactly what she deserved, though. Let’s take a look at some of the comments her tweet, and my response, attracted:

https://twitter.com/tadpoleno3/status/1100435771243356160

Here’s the trailer for WitchHunt:

“A message to anyone who dissents: ‘We can get you.'”

Chilling.

And that is exactly what we have seen in this heavy-handed intervention from Ms Berger.

AFTERWORD: It should be noted that Jewish News reported the screening of WitchHunt was due to take place shortly before the Jewish Labour Movement was due to debate its future with the Labour Party, with “some members pushing for disaffiliation”. Let us hope that this happens and Labour separates itself from this poisonous organisation which is far more interested in supporting the Zionist project in Israel than in standing up for Jewish people in the UK who may disagree with its political stance. Consider its own mission statements (as reported here) for evidence.

Ms Walker will face her Labour Party disciplinary hearing on March 26. Here’s a tweet about it that you might find interesting:

https://twitter.com/AnnieHailey8/status/1100447690679300096


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‘Pestminster’ scandal means Theresa May must tell us – IMMEDIATELY – what she knows and when she was told

Theresa May: The minority prime minister has serious questions to answer [Image: Carl Court/Getty Images].

Michael Fallon has owned up to touching Julia Hartley-Brewer inappropriately, marking him out as possibly the first sex pest on the Tory spreadsheet to be identified.

Perhaps he thought there was no point trying to deny it – after all, we already know he had to be peeled off a female Russian agent while drunk, and also that he referred to a female journalist as a “slut” – to her face, not recognising who she was.

To This Writer, it suggests that he is the person described as “perpetually intoxicated and very inappropriate with women” on the spreadsheet.

I may be wrong! In that case, I stand ready to be amazed at the name of someone whose behaviour is even worse.

The recipient of Mr Fallon’s unwanted attention was Julia Hartley-Brewer, a very strong supporter of the Conservative Party who has played down the incident:

Note that her tweet clearly identifies Mr Fallon as the man the Sunday Times claimed “placed his hand on the thigh of a senior female journalist in full view of his frontbench colleagues at a party conference dinner some years ago and announced: ‘God, I love those tits.'”

But Ms Hartley-Brewer stated: “I believe it is absurd and wrong to treat workplace banter and flirting – and even misjudged sexual overtures – between consenting adults as being morally equivalent to serious sexual harassment or assault.

“It demeans genuine victims of real offences… I have not been a victim and I don’t wish to take part in what I believe has now become a Westminster witch hunt.”

Others may have a strong opinion about that!

Perhaps Ms Hartley-Brewer was able to put off a sex pest, but others – in a similar situation – may not be able to do so. Perhaps she did not consider that when she wrote her tweet.

As a man writing about this subject, perhaps I should pause and make it clear that I have spent a considerable time thinking about what may be deemed appropriate behaviour, and what may not.

I would agree that workplace banter should not be equated with serious sexual harassment or assault – but what do you call workplace banter? I would imagine it would be joking about another person – perhaps about their sexual nature, life or abilities – in a way that the other person does not find offensive (or at least, they can get their own back), and I would strongly suggest that it would be with at least one other person present and aware of the behaviour in question. Even then, there is a danger that it could cross the line. Workplace banter should not be a sexual advance, I think.

Flirting should be obvious as such, and it really shouldn’t be possible for anyone to infer threat from it. I have enjoyed flirting with other people very much, and would be absolutely desolate if any of the people with whom I enjoyed those moments considered them anything more than humorous and complimentary. The key is that both people should be at their ease, I think.

As for misjudged sexual overtures – would inappropriate touching come under this heading, or is it going too far? I think the answer to that question is found in the overall demeanour of the person making the overture. If they’re aggressive in any way, then perhaps it’s a little more serious than a misjudgement.

In the case of Mr Fallon, we have examples of the language he is alleged to have used – and it seems entirely inappropriate to me. If I was trying to attract a woman sexually (and I admit it has been a while, as Mrs Mike and I are quite happy in that department, thank you very much), then I would not make a habit of using words like “slut”, or phrases like “God I love those tits”!

Also mentioned by Ms Hartley-Brewer are the words “witch hunt”. Let’s consider that aspect of this story.

The Independent has run an article claiming: “May knows she can’t sort this out: she’s the figurehead of a boys’ club whose male members would scream ‘Witch hunt!’ if she ever dared to try”.

The piece imagines that Mrs May takes a dim view of various potential shenanigans, before making the very serious point that bemusement at the behaviour of her errant MPs is “no excuse to tolerate abuse”.

It continues: “While the case of Mark Garnier, minister for ‘Brexit trade’ … has no criminal implications [he described his behaviour as “good humoured high jinks], it is less hilarious than our more Neanderthal MPs will think. In the hours since the Mail on Sunday broke the story, the gallant Garnier has admitted addressing his secretary as “sugar tits”, and sending her into a Soho shop to buy a brace of choicest vibrators on his behalf.

“Even Chuckles Gove, the Rumpelstiltskin of sexual wit, couldn’t spin that into comedy gold. And whether or not this is a relatively trivial abuse of the power imbalance between male boss and female employee, it simply isn’t funny.

“With Stephen Crabb … it is worse. Having quit his leadership bid when outed for sexting, Crabb now fesses up to having sent “explicit messages” to a woman of 19 he interviewed for a job in 2013 when a minister for Wales.  What he calls ‘foolish’, I call ‘an abuse of power for which the Speaker should drag him from the Commons by the penis, promising to remove it with rusty garden secateurs if he ever tries to return’.”

And the article concludes, in agreement with This Writer, that the problem lies in a whips’ office that covers up MPs’ behaviour – especially if it is criminal – in order to use it for political gain.

Theresa May, who receives weekly reports on these “Ins and Outs”, is a part of this process.

The Independent piece states – again rightly – that “wherever there is strong evidence of a sexual offence, moral or criminal or both, it should be removed from the whips’ safe and exposed to the cleansing light of day… But I don’t imagine May will do that. She can’t afford to, as the figurehead of a boys’ club whose male members would scream “Witch hunt!” if she did, and the hostage of a tottering Government that could fall at any time for any number of reasons.”

I think the Independent is far too lenient on Mrs May. She has serious questions of her own to answer – starting with how long she has known about the sexual harassment allegations against her MPs and cabinet ministers – of whom we are told at least six are implicated, among 21 serving ministers, ex-Cabinet ministers and a permanent private secretary.

Will Downing Street answer? No.

A spokesperson for Theresa May today repeatedly refused to say when the prime minister first heard about dozens of allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behaviour made against Conservative MPs and serving cabinet ministers.

May’s spokesman told Business Insider that May acted once the allegations were “made public” but was unable to say when the prime minister was first informed about them.

So she was quite happy to let these people carry on with their nasty pastimes while the wider public remained unaware – and is only acting, half-heartedly, now that the revelations are starting to fly. Now that they – and she – have been found out.

This fits the “boys’ club”/”witch hunt” scenario, certainly – but then there’s the allegation that her advisors, silenced a survivor of historic child sexual abuse in order to keep Mrs May’s way clear to Downing Street during the 2016 Conservative leadership selection process (we can’t call it an election).

Sharon Evans claimed that the contracts panel members were made to sign by the Home Office were used to stop them from speaking openly about “very serious allegations about very public figures” – allegations which she says were taken back to the inquiry leaders, but ‘nothing was being done about” them. She said:

I suggested that we wrote to Theresa May, who was the Home Secretary, to express our concerns. At the end of the day I was taken to one side and it was made clear to me – this is what I was told – that Theresa May was going to be Prime Minister, that this inquiry was going to be part of this, and that if I didn’t toe the line and do as I was told, if I tried to get information out I would be discredited by her advisors.

If true, why would Theresa May do this?

As the evidence mounts, it seems reasonable to conclude that the rot is not limited to “workplace banter”, “flirting”, or even “inappropriate sexual advances”, but goes much further and involves people in positions of enormous power – possibly even the person with the most power.

That is why it now seems increasingly possible that this so-called “Pestminster” crisis could topple the minority Conservative government.

Not only has the Conservative Party lost its credibility as a responsible party of government but serious questions – indeed, the most serious questions – must now be asked of that party’s, and the government’s leader. Now – not at her convenience.


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