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Statement of Principles:

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Guardian denies space to 650+ Labour Party members challenging hostile media coverage

We are still looking to get the letter published if you are a Labour Party member and would like to add your name please email Emma@sixteenfilms.co.uk giving your name and constituency

The Guardian has refused to publish a letter submitted over a week ago challenging hostile media coverage of the Labour Party, even though it attracted more than 650 signatures from party members in barely 24 hours.

Those who signed, and hundreds more who sent in their names after the noon deadline on Friday April 6, are entitled to ask why the Guardian cannot feature the views of huge numbers of ordinary Party members while devoting so much space to attacking Jeremy Corbyn.

This is especially pertinent today, Monday April 16, as the Parliamentary Labour Party is due to meet this evening for the first time since March 26 and a parliamentary debate about antisemitism is scheduled to take place tomorrow, Tuesday April 17.

We hope that the latter debate will pay ample attention to the virulent antisemitism expressed by friends of the Tory party in this country and across Europe.

To give voice to the silenced Corbyn-supporting members of the Labour Party, we publish below the original letter as submitted to the Guardian.

For clarification, JVL recognises that there is evidence of racist attitudes, including antisemitism, among some party members. This is why we propose, in line with recommendations in the Chakrabarti Report, open debate and discussion combined with non-factional training to help members recognise and deal with prejudices which have no place in an anti-racist party.

We also recognise that we live in a racist society in which many prejudices persist, including towards Jews. This is true within the Labour Party as elsewhere, but we do NOT accept, as widely alleged, that party members are especially susceptible to holding antisemitic views, unconscious or otherwise.

Please share this post widely on social media and invite more Labour Party members to join in demonstrating support for Corbyn’s leadership.

 

ORIGINAL TEXT OF SOLIDARITY LETTER

We are Labour Party members who have watched with growing astonishment and anger as our Party has been traduced with claims of widespread antisemitism. We stand absolutely against any form of discrimination and if there are any in our Party who are guilty of racist attitudes or behaviour then they should be expelled. But such action should only be after due process including evidence and the right to appeal and not through the trial by media which we are currently seeing.

Most importantly we do not accept that the disputed actions of a tiny minority of people in any way represent our Party as a whole and its 570,000 members. Neither do we accept the absurd claim that racist attitudes are widespread but we are somehow unable to recognise them because they are unconscious.  We recognise racism because we have been fighting it for much of our lives and that fight was a key reason for joining our Party in the first place.

The current febrile atmosphere has been encouraged by a hostile right-wing media and by those who seek to damage the Party or its leadership for their own ends. We absolutely reject the gross calumny which is thus being perpetrated against the Party as a whole and the integrity of its members.

There is a great task ahead of us, to re-build and regenerate our society so that all may live with security and dignity.  The cruel legacy of successive governments has left people desperate for change. The Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell can achieve that transformation. Let us make certain that nothing can distract us from this historic opportunity.

Signed by 650+ Labour party members

 

 

33 comments to Guardian denies space to 650+ Labour Party members challenging hostile media coverage

  • David Andrews

    After 60 years I am thinking of giving up on the Guardian and Observer. Their anti-Corbyn line is thoroughly shameful and continuous. They along with the rest of the media including the BBC are aghast that 75% of the Public support Corbyn’s line on Syria.

    • Carl

      Do it, David. It is easier to do than you imagine. I had always thought myself to be a Guardian reader. I even had two letters published in the last 30 or so years. But I realised that it is no longer the Guardian. Yes, it carries the same name. But it is no longer a newspaper without an agenda. Sad – but they have lost tens of thousands of regular readers and they are ignoring a crisis of their own making. They do not deserve your loyalty.

    • Professor Miriam David

      I absolutely agree. I feel bullied and/or harassed by both The Guardian and the BBC for their completely biased coverage and the way that AS and not BREXIT or Gaza or anything else has been headline news for 2 weeks now.

  • Stephen Bellamy

    Non factional training……I don’t think that is quite what Jonathan Arkush has in mind

  • Cyril Chilson, Oxford

    I would have cheerfully signed but unfortunately, I have been expelled from the Party almost a month ago. The excuse for this: Antisemitism (=criticising Israel on Twitter and despite being a son of Holocaust survivors).
    My expulsion is for two years. Presumably, the disciplinary panel that adjudicated my case believes I should be cured of my ‘antisemitism’ by then.

  • David Cannon

    The Guardian has not only shown itself to be biased against Corbyn but also biased in favour of Israel. I think the two are related! Criticising Israel is NOT antisemitic. Israel; founded on theft & sustained by viscious apartheid! A single SECULAR state is the sole sustainable solution!!!

    • Jaye

      David, A single secular west of the Jordan with ever growing Arab-Muslim majority and a minority of Jews is a solution? To what? Please give examples of similar utopian Middle East secular states – you know freedom of religion, sexual preference, women’s rights, free press, independent judiciary, repetitive democratic elections etc. The only ME state with these virtues is Israel and that works because the majority are Jews, and you want to get rid of it!

      BTW, criticising Israel for specific acts is not anti-semitic but libelling it as “founded on theft & sustained by viscious apartheid” is anti-semitic.

      • Yann

        This attitude is part of the problem: it’s a Mr. Peachum attitude if you don’t mind me saying so. It would lead to all socialists giving up on their beliefs because socialism doesn’t work and dog eating dog because we can expect nothing better in this world. As for your characterisation of David’s “founded on theft & sustained by viscious (sic) apartheid” as an anti-semitic statement, I challenge you to explain how you you arrived at that conclusion when all the historical evidence points to it being true, “theft” being in actual fact a quite polite euphemism for armed robbery & terrorism accompanied by ethnic cleansing.

        • Jaye

          Yann, it’s not an attitude problem but reality. I don’t know where socialism comes into it. I refer you to the track record of Muslim-Arab states whose religious culture and system is closer to fascism than socialism. 6.6 million Israeli Jews would not be willing to participate in yours and David’s experiment with the likes of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Muslim Brotherhood let loose and thus risk another holocaust; would you if you are Jewish and why would you? It’s a non-starter.

          Yours and David’s absurd anti-semitic description of Israel has nothing to do with historical facts or the present.

      • Huw

        Jaye, can you expand on your thinking a little? Is it always racist to libel a state (assuming that it is a libel and not true)? How exactly does that work? If I want to say something damning about France, for example, would that be racist if I am not French myself?

        • Jaye

          My thoughts Huw .. it probably depends on what’s said and why and about whom. It’s certainly the case when the target is a people who have been slaughtered for centuries on the basis of a blood libel and not for anything they have done rather because of who they are. And it’s the case when that same hate in the guise of opposition to the existence of a Jewish State is expressed by people of ill-will who use lies to promote their extreme hatred, concede no rights or positive acts or attributes to the Jewish citizens of this nation and who have no concern for the fate of Jews based on outrageous “solutions”. Have you ever heard such irrational one-sided hate towards any other nation on earth and its citizens Huw? Again, it is classic anti-semitism.

          I must acknowledge here that JVL is to be commended for allowing various points of view to be published in their comments. It makes me optimistic that not all in this group share the extremist views expressed above and that the Jewish Left, in which I include myself, is capable of nuanced thinking and balanced debate.

      • Gavin

        So in this bizarre alternate universe the Apartheid documented by Nobel Peace Prize winners Archbishop Desmond Tutu,President Jimmy Carter and UN Investigator Richard Falk not only doesn’t exist but they are all anti-semites? And this includes among many others UN Special Rapporteur John Dugard, Kgalema Motlanthe, the then Deputy President of South Africa and of the African National Congress, Baleka Mbete Speaker of the South African National Assembly and former Chairperson of the ANC who also denounced Israeli Apartheid. And let’s not forget Moshé Machover too?

        • Jaye

          Well I was answering Huw’s question, based on the hypothesis that these claims are untrue, so I’m interested if Huw would agree that they then represent libel and antisemitism.
          As for whether these claims by Israel haters and anti-semites are true Gavin, you’ll have to do better than referencing your rogues’ gallery to carry the argument that Israel is not a democratic state for all. And btw the captured territories are not part of Israel.

  • John Spannyard Indaworks

    Terrific letter and it seems non contentious and justified given the bile the Guardian allows from the likes of Howard Jacobson for example but then the Guardian had obviously given up on any pretence of editorial balance.Anyone who remembers the Guardian in the 80s will be utterly perplexed about its current incarnation.

  • Michael Tracey

    Given up on the Guardian for the second and last time. Very disappointed in it and the BBC in general.

  • Raphael Salkie

    It’s ironic that the Guardian has been shunned and vilified by many Jews for years, because it occasionally departs from the mainstream position on Israel and Palestine and assumes (shock, horror) that Palestinians are human beings with human rights. This is called ‘being anti-Israel’. Now that Jeremy Corbyn is getting some of the same vitriol from the Board of Deputies, for the same reasons, the Guardian is, of course, happy to publicise the agenda that was previously (and still is) directed against the paper. Duh!

  • Min Clifford

    We all abhor racism and anti-semitism is one strand of many forms in the UK

    The appalling behavior by our PM when Home Secretary of initiating the expulsion of West Indian citizens of the UK who have lived here all their lives shows how racist the Tory Party has stooped. Why don’t we see the BBC and The Guardian hound her like they have Corbyn. We have actual evidence of her contempt for these good people. I also dont see my MO Chuka Umunna outside parliament campaigning for their rights and we have a history of Windrush migrants in his constituency.

  • Unfortunately the Guardian has been getting worse for some time ago. Back in 2012 I wrote
    How The Guardian has sold its Soul
    http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/how-guardian-sold-its-soul.html

    and in 2016
    Guardian Cowardice as it abandons Antony Loewenstein to Israel’s Ministry of Information

    http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/guardian-cowardice-as-it-abandons.html

    This is not a new thing. You will recall that the Guardian printed the ad from Elie Wiesel during Operation Protective Edge suggesting that Palestinians were engaged in sacrificing their own children. Scratch a liberal and you find a conservative.

  • Both Editor-in-Chief Kathryn Viner and former Editor Jonathan Freedland aren’t going anywhere, even though the Guardian is, like the New Statesman and the Spectator have been, and some other daily print media, a toy. The weeklies have long been noblesse oblige for their owners but they don’t cost so much to run.
    Still, they are losing money. For lamping the good old of honest reporting and publishing, read Michael Adams & Christopher Mayhew’s “Publish it Not…The Middle East Cover-Up” (Longmans, 1975, and reprinted later with an intro by former BBC ME corresp Tim Llewellyn). The authors take turns relating how Zionist opposition routinely confronted and sometimes defeated the pair : Adams, for his reporting in the Guardian, and Mayhew, for his concerns in the House of Commons. After almost 30 years as a Labour MP, Mayhew found himself harassed by Harold Wilson, who was unquestioningly loyal to the Israelis, and so he joined the Liberals. Adams was the Middle East correspondent when his reporting was critical of Israel in the 1960s, that resulted in a drop in sales. The New Statesman however has always been as Zionist as the Guardian is today. For this, read Khalid Kishtainy’s “The New Statesman and the Middle East” (Beirut : Palestine Research Center, 1972)

  • Richard Snell

    What has truely appalled me about this is not that it is something new, but that the suppression of criticism of Israel in the so-called free press and the supposedly independent news-media has been consistent and almost complete for decades. But of course Israel’s critics can’t make that generally understood precisely because that view is also suppressed. This is especially hurtful to those Jews who are trying to express in good faith their opinions of the way Israel operates and so attract attack from other Jews. It seems that the image of dissenting Jews as being bad Jews (if, so it is argued, they are Jews at all) who are somehow resentful of other Jews has so infected the debate that it can no longer be carried out rationally. Had this been the Guardian as I once knew it to be, then this very point might have been made. But when not even the satirical press sees the need to question this blatantly unjust attack on Corbyn and by association the Jews who stand with him, then what else can we expect from what has become just another organ for the expression of the corporate line?

  • Of course the Graun should have published the letter. But the text itself is smug, complacent and indicative of the denial that exists on sections of the left over anti-Semitism (and not just *racist* anti-Semitism but also the *political* anti-Semitism that denies Israel’s right to exist in any shape or form, even behind pre-67 borders. “We recognise racism because we have been fighting it for much of our lives” is self-righteous posturing of the worst kind.

  • Jon

    From The Times today:
    Save

    Labour’s antisemitism row intensified yesterday as three of the party’s Jewish MPs received standing ovations in the Commons after attacking its handling of the issue.

    Jewish leaders also said they would boycott a meeting next week with Jeremy Corbyn after it emerged that a hard-left group which denies that Labour has a problem with antisemitism had also been invited. Unquote

    Which hard-left group would that be? If conservative jews are allowed a voice, why not left wing jews?

  • Anne Tanner

    As a Socialist I believe that all people have a right to justice. Obviously this applies to Jews – shouldn’t it also apply to Palestinians?
    The problem is how do we achieve social justice for both.

    For me it cannot be an either or.

  • Caitlin Ni Chonaill

    Guardian abandonment of objectivity when faced with conflict situations is nothing new. When the conflict in the North of Ireland was raging I remember that many Irish people based in Britain became severely disillusioned with Guardian reporting. There used to be a saying: ‘It took the war in ‘Northern Ireland’ to turn The Guardian from pink to orange.’ However, having watched the ‘Anti-Semitism ‘Debate’ in Parliament yesterday, where it was so clear that the ‘race card’ is being played in order to undermine Labour’s chances at the upcoming local elections, I believe LP members have a duty to challenge the canard that’s being promoted. I welcome the statement contained in the ‘Solidarity Letter’ and hope it gets wide circulation.

  • Terence Wallis

    We party members know that this & everything else that is anti-Jeremy Corbyn pumped out by the MSM is a pack of lies I only hope others non-members all over the country do also.
    The wonderful bright spot is the splash JVL is making.
    HOWEVER, it is time JC got rid of the blairites MPs (in Tory pay ?) who are doing so much damage…………

  • John Hamilton

    I stopped buying the Guardian when they backed Blair’s bombing of Yugoslavia. Papers like this have just as important a role in maintaining the status quo as The Sun or Mail. See Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, either the book or the video: https://youtu.be/AnrBQEAM3rE

  • David Hookes

    I’ve given up on the Guardian a couple of years ago when they refused to publish Seymour Hersh’s article that demonstrated that the ‘Poison gas’ ‘attack in Syria on 21 August 2013 was a false flag. He said that Porton Down had shown that the gas was NOT military grade whereas Assad’s at the time was of that grade (He then got rid of the lot with Russian support) The Guardian kept repeating the lie that Assad had used chemical weapons and still does despite its recent claim not to be interested left-right only truth-falsehood (Jonathon Freedland)

  • david: do you think Mehdi Hasan (together with Jonathon Freedland) is part of the anti-Assad conspiracy? Read this: https://theintercept.com/2018/04/19/dear-bashar-al-assad-apologists-your-hero-is-a-war-criminal-even-if-he-didnt-gas-syrians/

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