Jewish academic no-platformed by Jewish Chronicle

An email from Professor Geoffrey Alderman circulated today, 2nd February, reports that he, a long-time stalwart contributor to the Jewish Chronicle, has been banned from it pages!

Prof Alderman is a renowned historian of British Jewry, and author of many books including Modern British Jewry and British Jewry Since Emancipation

We wonder if his becoming persona non grata at the Chronicle has anything to do with his stubborn independence, insisting on thinking for himself  and refusing to tow “the community line” on Jeremy Corbyn or the EHRC, for example – or his participation as one of the voices  in the Just Jews video series “to broaden the debate about Jewishness…to include all voices from the diverse Jewish community”.

Phots: Geoffrey Almerman Website

2nd February 2020, No Embargo

Jewish academic no-platformed by Jewish Chronicle

Statement by Professor Geoffrey Alderman

Jewish academic Professor Geoffrey Alderman has been no-platformed by the UK’s oldest Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Chronicle.

Announcing this, Professor Alderman has made public the contents of an email sent to him by the Jewish Chronicle’s editor, Stephen Pollard.

In that email, Pollard told Alderman that “as editor I no longer wish to have you in the paper.”

This decision was confirmed by Pollard in a phone conversation with Alderman on 31 January 2020.

Following that conversation Alderman said:

“I am saddened immeasurably by Stephen Pollard’s decision, on which he refused absolutely to elaborate when we spoke on 31 January.  I began writing for the Jewish Chronicle in 1974 and from 2002 until 2016 I wrote the paper’s main weekly Comment column. Since then I have continued to contribute to the paper from time to time. Stephen’s decision to ban me entirely from writing for the paper has come without warning and without any rationale that he has seen fit to share with me. I simply don’t know why the decision has been taken, and can only speculate.”

___________

Note: Geoffrey Alderman, who is Professor Emeritus at the University of Buckingham, is the author of several books on the history of the Jews in the UK, notably Modern British Jewry (Oxford University Press) and British Jewry Since Emancipation (University of Buckingham Press). He is also a prolific journalist who in 2011 was awarded the Bermant Prize for Journalism. His website is: www.geoffreyalderman.com. He may be contacted here.

Comments (16)

  • George Wilmers says:

    Is Stephen Pollard going to arrange a book burning ceremony?

  • RH says:

    I would suggest that being banned by Pollard’s ‘Jewish Chronicle’ amounts to a stamp of authenticity and integrity.

  • Mike Scott says:

    In my (limited) experience as a secular Jew, none of the mainstream Jewish press are prepared to engage with “the wrong sort of Jews” in any way, so this development is hardly a surprise. They are all both conservative and Conservative and don’t want their readers polluted by socialists, non-Zionists!

    Once again, proof that the “antisemitism crisis” is almost entirely about politics, not racism.

  • Prof Emeritus Ellie Palmer says:

    Nonetheless, it is deeply shocking to me that so many influential ‘liberal’ Jewish academics remain silent.
    Why ?

  • Mike Cohen says:

    In response to Mike Scott, Geoffrey Alderman is a Zionist, and as far as I know, not a socialist. His crime is daring to think for himself about the issue of anti-semitism.

  • Benny Ross says:

    Why do they remain silent? Maybe because the “mainstream” Jewish press and official bodies like the Board of Deputies are resolutely shutting out any potentially critical or questioning voices — as we see here. Where would these liberal academics have a voice? I’ve written to the JC but they’ve never published my letters — neither has the Guardian….

  • christina evans says:

    how sad it has come to this. It will all eventually come to a head .

  • Pete Winstanley says:

    I’m reminded of this post from Michael Rosen:

    “By now, some of you will have seen the ‘Ten Pledges’ that Labour politicians are supposed to sign up to. It comes from the Board of Jewish Deputies, a body that represents many but not all Jews in England and Wales.
    One of them warns Labour politicians against talking to ‘fringe individuals’.
    I think I’ll get a badge made: ‘Fringe individual’ so that anyone from the Labour Party coming anywhere near me, will be able to stop themselves from having a chat.”

    With Geoffrey Alderman joining the ranks, perhaps it’s time to put the “fringe individual” badges into mass production…

  • Frank Fisher says:

    Alderman has taken a relatively progressive stand on a number of communal issues over the years including the Board Of Deputies over, inter alia, security matters. However, as suggested above, he is certainly not a socialist (he is a professor at the private University of Buckingham)
    and his views on zionism may be indicated by his column in the JC of Jan 28 2005 which include the following:
    ‘…There is another explanation of the Holocaust — or
    rather of God’s failure to prevent it — which appeals to
    me as an historian as well as a Jew.
    There is a direct, causal relationship between the Holocaust and the re-establishment of the Jewish state. We
    know, from the archives, that the world was moved to
    sanction and bless the re-establishment of the Jewish
    state out of remorse for the destruction of one-third of
    world Jewry. This is the indisputable, inescapable and
    undeniable historical lesson, easily verified by reference
    to the source materials.
    It is entirely possible that the Almighty — the same
    Almighty who drowned the world in the Flood, who
    destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and who “hardened
    Pharaoh’s heart” — chose not to save the six million
    because He had an ulterior ambition, not revealed till
    later….’
    Some may find this obscene, and The JC may have had good reason to have doubts about his suitability as a columnist then, but afaik didn’t.

  • Allan Howard says:

    I don’t suppose it has anything to do with his criticism of the IHRA definition or the fact that he posted a short video on the Just Jews twitter account/page defending Jeremy Corbyn and trying to allay fears amongst fellow Jews in respect of him (which at the time of writing has been viewed 174 thousand times since June of last year):

    https://twitter.com/JustJewsUK/status/1136936125795377152

  • Derek Taylor says:

    I became increasingly concerned about the ultra politicising of British Jewry in the (long) run up to the recent general election. It seemed that there was only one acceptable view of UK politics , in the opinion of those currently in control at the Jewish Chronicle, as the recent banning of Professor Alderman from contributing seems to confirm. Those who disagreed with the prevailing view were denied a platform to argue their corner. It seems there is now a need for a powerful competitor to the Chronicle.

  • For the Jewish Chronicle to ban Geoffrey Alderman, who is a right-wing Zionist, teaching at Britain’s only private university, is staggering. Alderman is the historian of the Jewish community. My own copy of the The Jewish Community in British Politics dating back to 1983 is extremely well thumbed but at the time the Board of Deputies tried to persuade Alderman not to bring it out because of certain uncomfortable facts that it revealed (e.g. the level of votes among the Jewish community in Hackney for the National Front, a holocaust denying party).

    But none of this should be of any surprise. Alderman has one failing and it is, for Zionism a very serious failure. He is honest. He says what he thinks and doesn’t take easy to laying in support of a political cause.

    The whole of the fake anti-Semitism campaign is and has been based upon 2 egregious lies

    First that the campaign is about antisemitism, which its not, hence why they had to redefine antisemitism.
    Secondly that antisemitism is widespread in the Labour Party and that anti-Zionism is ‘Jew hate’ to use the JC’s oft repeated phrase.

    What this demonstrates is not merely Stephen Pollard’s lack of any principle or integrity but that the Zionist movement itself, because it is engaged in the indefensible, is not a wholly dishonest movement but also politically a totalitarian one. Zionism cannot stand dissent outside certain narrow boundaries. For all the claims of widespread diversity between left and right there is actually very little difference between the different wings.

    Alderman comes from a religious Zionist background but as far as I can see is not affiliated to any strand. Back in the 1980’s he became extremely unpopular in the BOD and when he left it it was to boos. At that time the JC called him a ‘communal gadfly’.

    However although not unexpected this decision is nonetheless shocking. However we should not think it is just a quirky decision by Pollard. I have no doubt that he consulted with others. Nor is it the only example. We should remember how Antony Lerman was forced to resign from the IJPR because his views were unacceptable. In essence Zionism cannot tolerate dissent.

  • Mark Elf says:

    Echoing and expanding on Mike Cohen’s response to Mike Scott, Geoffrey Alderman self-describes as “politically Conservative and proudly Zionist”.

  • Alison Leeming says:

    I’ve followed and admired JVL for some months now – thank you for being! May I suggest that now is the moment to send the MSM a copy of your article about “no platforming” by the JC. After today’s “no platforming” of political journalists by No. 10, journalistic minds have been concentrated. For once, JVL might succeed with a media breakthrough…???

  • Gerry Glyde says:

    May I use this opportunity to thank the Green Party for having reported the so called Campaign against antisemitism to the Charity Commission for reason of the CAA’s overt poltically biased statements about labour during and after the election.

    Next the CAA will be coming for the Greens

  • Doug says:

    As an honorary ‘bad jew’ it would give me great pleasure to be promoted to an honorary ‘fringe individual ‘

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