The hounding of Dan Ozarow

JVL Introduction

Dan Ozarow stood as a Labour candidate for Borehamwood Kenilworth in a local election last week. He was defeated, he writes, “following a vicious, libellous racist smear campaign against me by Hertsmere Conservatives or their supporters”

The level of abuse he has suffered is extraordinary and we have no doubt it has been licensed by those who have engaged in the vindictive smear campaign against Labour and Jeremy Corbyn in recent months and years, particularly in the mainstream media.

What we are seeing is the normalising of vicious hatred toward left-wing Jews. The Jewish Chronicle, to its shame, rushed to join in the demonisation.

For the record, Dan Ozarow is not a member of JVL, one of the accusations hurled at him. But we do extend our full-hearted solidarity to him and those who stood by him.

This article was originally published by dan4borehamwoodkenilworth.co.uk on Sat 15 Feb 2020. Read the original here.

An open letter to my supporters in Borehamwood Kenilworth

First of all I wanted to thank each and every one of you who voted for me on Thursday. To all of you who put your faith in me to become your councillor, or who have showed me care and love in these past two years that I have been your Labour ward champion. I am also indebted to the incredible team of volunteers at Hertsmere Labour Party who dedicated so much time to help me in the two election campaigns I have stood in over the last year.

I have knocked on thousands of doors, spoken to hundreds of you, and many of you have become friends. I have met some amazing people on this journey. Each of you special in your own way. We have laughed together, shared stories about our lives and our families and sometimes we have even cried in each other’s arms. I am so sorry that I will not get the chance to be your ward councillor. It would have meant so much to me.

Through this process I have heard why you are proud to live here in Borehamwood. But I have also listened to the multitude of problems and neglect you feel you are experiencing at the hands of complacent, self-serving, arrogant Conservative council. I truly believe that as your councillor I could have helped transform your ward and brought about many of the improvements you sought.

What hurts the most is that ultimately I was defeated following a vicious, libellous racist smear campaign against me by Hertsmere Conservatives or their supporters. I was branded a terrorist sympathiser, a Marxist, a self-hating Jew, and they spread lies about me being a member of the JVL and Elstree Liberation Front (the latter by Brett Rosehill, the Conservative candidate himself). Each of these labels are utter fabrication. To dedicate an entire leaflet to residents simply to smear me, to hire out the huge LCD screen at Elstree Station to defame me, for the Jewish Chronicle to run an entire article to scare voters away from me and drag my name through the mud in my own (Jewish) community that I love and have worked and volunteered in for so many years. Why? These are extraordinarily desperate actions that blow a hole in the validity of the entire local democratic process and in the legitimacy of the election result itself.

This vote was stolen from me a second time, in an even more painful, unjust way than the first, when I lost on the drawing of lots following a dead heat back in May.

These smears also incited the most vile anti-Semitic abuse on social media that I received in my life. I also received an offensive communication at my work email. I have been told to go and die in the gas chambers, that I am a “self-hating Jewish C***” along with other anti-Semitic tropes being created about me. My family has also received abuse over a matter that is literally nothing to do with them. This has upset me deeply and also caused enormous stress to my heavily pregnant wife. I hope those who created or shared these sleep soundly at night. Neither me or my family deserve the smears, relentless intimidation and abuse we have suffered. Hertsmere Conservatives have been reported to the police for inciting racial hatred.

All I am is just a simple guy who loves his community, feels an affection for the people of Borehamwood Kenilworth and wants to try to make it a better place. Why were my political enemies were so afraid of me winning? Why did you feel the need to be so vindictive, to politically execute me? Just because I was making a few changes for our community, because  I want to create a better Borehamwood?

But let’s also remember that have achieved some incredible things by standing together recently.

  • We have saved the wildlife and trees in Well End and forced the developer to re-auction the land he had tried to hack down. I have helped get the Well Enders a seat to speak to the Council’s Portfolio Holders about creating a Conservation Area. I am proud to have started the petition that offset that process.
  • It looks like we saved at least one of the ancient Ely Gardens oaks through our protests. I am delighted to have stood with you, to have helped organise this campaign and to have lodged the Freedom of Information request that brought into doubt the shoddy evidence of any damage the tree roots were doing to the properties that were being used as an excuse to fell them.
  • I am glad that I have helped give voice to many of you who are campaigning over the appalling parking situation around the town, especially in Manor Way where my public question forced the Council’s Portfolio Holder to listen to residents whose petition had been ignored for eight months.
  • With anti-social behaviour on the rise, I am also happy that I played a role in resolving such issues on Tempsford Avenue and Ripon Way.
  • Together, we prevented the hideous podland development that would have seen an environmental disaster take place on the Aldenham Reservoir embankment and ruined the experience for local people as it was turned into a high-end tourist development. I am proud that I ran the Freedom of Information request that exposed the owners’ myth about the dam being in a precarious state – an excuse they wanted to use to force through planning acceptance of the podland proposal.

As your councillor, I would have given you my heart and soul. But it wasn’t to be. Please don’t let my defeat crush your hopes for a better Borehamwood. You can all be Dans, and equally, I hope I can be as brave as many of you have with your own personal challenges that you have told me about over the past couple of years.

All being well, in a few weeks time I will become a father again. I’ll be withdrawing from the local political arena for now to prioritise my family and parenthood. This experience has been very emotionally draining. However, community activism is in my DNA and Borehamwood is in my heart. I won’t let the Tory intimidation and smears break me.

I wish you well, thank you so much again, and please come and say hi if you see me around The Wood.

Yours in peace and love

Dan Ozarow

 

Comments (7)

  • Anti-fascist says:

    An utterly disgraceful state of affairs.

    Solidarity with you Dan and hoping you will join JVL.

  • Gerry Glyde says:

    With best wishes for you and your community.
    In the 1970s we became used to the Liberals negative campaigning that reached its peak in anti gay stories against Tatchell in Bermondsey, to elect Simon Hughes, the then closeted gay candidate.

    The Jewish Chronicle has become the religious version of the S(c)um

  • Philip Ward says:

    In reply to “Antifascist”: Dan Ozarow is unlikely to join JVL, as he is reported as saying he supported the expulsion of some people who signed the letter with him defending Jeremy Corbyn in 2015, the action for which the Jewish Chronicle criticises him. He claims he didn’t read it and wouldn’t have signed it if he had. That clearly isn’t enough for the JC, which also takes the opportunity to have yet another go at Glyn Secker and Tony Greestein, no doubt opening them up to more antisemitic abuse.

    The antisemitic abuse against Dan Ozarow is despicable, but he needs to acknowledge that Jews expelled, suspended or even just investigated by the Labour Party for their anti-zionist views have also experienced such abuse.

    https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/labour-candidate-backtracks-over-hezbollah-has-strong-support-pro-corbyn-letter-1.496687

  • Gerry Glyde says:

    The party has acted in breach of natural justice throughout but it also has had grounds for expulsion of some. Anyone who has read the extensive submission of the party against Greenstein would be shocked at the language he used against fellow members. No doubt that the administration of the case against him was in breach of acceptable standards (being given 3/4 weeks to respond to 300 pages of documents) however he appears to have created his own downfall of disrepute. If he had used such language in a meeting I had chaired he would have been asked to desist or be asked to leave.
    He however has the right in a democratic party to have a fair hearing, albeit on the basis of what I have read, expulsion seems quite likely. We have to be clear about what is and is not acceptable conduct.

  • christina evans says:

    Not getting any better is it? There is anti semitism. The tories are allowed to get away with anti semitism as the JC are endorsing it. What a bizarre insane situation. Why dont the JLM go over to the tories is there a JCM? I saw antisemitism was rife when Ed Miliband was labour leader. Its ugly insiduous and dangerous. You are better off out of it but it amounts to bullying. They have to be held accountable.

  • Edward Hill says:

    After the articles by Professor Haim Bresheeth, Leah Levine, and Richard Kuper, this completes a quartet of articles published by JVL in the last week, whose authors shared what now seems a seminal moment in Labour Party history. They were among some 47 signatories to an open letter sent in response to the Jewish Chronicle’s article of 12 Augustine 2015:’The key questions Jeremy Corbyn must answer’, in which the then leadership candidate was described as ” a man who chooses to associate with racists and extremists”. The letter was revealed in the JC article of 18 August 2015: ‘Anti-Israeli activists attack JC for challenging Jeremy Corbyn’. The battle lines were drawn up between Corbyn’s accusers and defenders, and ‘antisemitism’ became the main weapon.
    Four and a half years later, as that leadership comes to an end, three of the recent articles seem to show his defenders conceding defeat, and at the hands of the Labour Party itself. Daniel Ozarow appears to have dissociated himself from the defenders, objecting to “lies about being a member of JVL”, and quoted in the JC article of February 10 2020 ‘Labour candidate claims he never saw final text of ‘Hezbollah has strong support’ letter he signed’ as saying: “I was appalled to see some of the people on the list of signatories whose lives I do not share and whose views I abhor.” In his campaign to be elected to Hertsmere Borough Council (whose Labour Group leader is, coincidentally, former Jewish Labour Movement chairman Jeremy Newmark), the antisemitic abuse he received (which all Labour members will deplore) seems to have come as a shock. He asks why it happened. Well the two obvious points are: 1/as the defenders have kept pointing out, there is a lot of antisemitism outside the Labour Party; 2/as that open letter told the JC: “There is something deeply unpleasant and dishonest about your McCarthyite guilt by association technique.”
    Some things never change, but, when you are ready to come back to political activism, Daniel, perhaps you will see that association with the people in JVL, or Labour against the witch-hunt, is something you don’t need to feel guilty about.

  • Philip Ward says:

    In reply to Gerry Glyde: The Greenstein case is very long and complex, but the LP decided to carry out disciplinary action against him (and told him about his suspension, initially via an article in the Telegraph) about a year before he wrote the things he was eventually charged with. On the actual issue of bringing the Labour Party into disrepute, is it a worse offence to stand up in Parliament to defend the imprisonment and torture of Palestinian children or to use admittedly very strong language to describe the person saying such things? If you think back the Apartheid years, I think many of us would not have hesitated to denounce people in the Monday Club (for example) using similar language.

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