The Panorama programme – a compilation of critical comments

There has been an outpouring of really good material exposing the dreadful Panorama programme as a mishmash of prejudice and distortion. We’ve reposted some articles already.

Here is another selection, challenging the “evidence” produced, the multiple distortions, the role of JLM and more.

H/t Simon and Diane, Robert Jones

This compilation contains

1. Last night, the BBC edited a Labour email and broadcast the hit job to millions, James Wright, The Canary, 11 July 2019

On the doctoring of a Labour email to show Seamus Milne and Labour in a bad light.

2. Jeremy Corbyn is Attacked Because He is Anti-Capitalist, not Anti-Semitic, Tommy Sheridan, Sputnik News, 12th July 2019

3. Same Executive Producer on three Channel 4 and BBC anti-Corbynite programmes revealed as former Labour activist, Tom Pride, tompride.wordpress.com, 12 Jul 2019

Someone has it in for Corbyn and is given free range to express his hatred on MSM.

4.Panorama: Dreck, Lies and Videotape, Ten Facts about the Panorama Programme followed by Three Lords A-Leaping and more…

“The most interesting thing about the program was that despite the resources that had clearly been poured into its production, not a single concrete example of the egregious and ubiquitous antisemitism it alleges was actually  produced and examined.”

5. Sticky Fingers: JLM’s Panorama Playbook?, Jay Blackwood, Jewish Dissident, 12 July 2019

Jay Blackwood outlines the dubious role of JLM in the Panorama programme (dubious is an understatement…)

6. Former Labour Party investigator caught lying in BBC Panorama interview Johnny Beggs, Facebook 12 July 2019

Investigator Ben Westerman claimed he had been asked  if he came from Israel and implied  this was antisemitic. He hadn’t – he was asked what Labour party branch he came from…

Plus:

Who is John Ware? See various articles in The Lobster over the years from the nineties onwards.


1. Last night, the BBC edited a Labour email and broadcast the hit job to millions

Source: James Wright, The Canary, 11 July 2019

On 10 July, the BBC stood accused of “doctoring’ a Labour email. The public organisation then broadcast the result to millions – not once, but twice.

“Clear misrepresentation”

The broadcaster first showed the edited email during a Panorama episode entitled Is Labour Antisemitic?. It later discussed it on BBC News at 10. The BBC repeated the misrepresentation even though Labour complained:

The edited email presented Labour’s director of communications Seumas Milne as interfering in the party’s disciplinary process, which is supposed to be independent. The publicly-funded broadcaster’s version of Milne’s email read:

something’s going wrong, and we’re muddling up political disputes with racism… I think going forward we need to review where and how we’re drawing the line.

But Labour released the full email, which shows that Milne was responding to a request from a former Labour staff member for a view on a complaint. And in the email, he wrote:

Having identified the subject of the complaint as a “Jewish activist, the son of Holocaust survivor”… if we’re more than very occasionally using disciplinary action against Jewish members for anti-Semitism, something’s going wrong and we’re muddling up political disputes with racism.

In response, a BBC spokesperson told The Canary:

The BBC stands by its journalism and we completely reject any accusations of bias or dishonesty… The programme [Panorama] adhered to the BBC’s editorial guidelines, including a full right of reply for the Labour Party.

We reject any claims Panorama took any of the evidence out of context.

The significance of the email from Seumas Milne is that it showed one of the most powerful figures in the Labour Party expressing concern about the handling of anti-semitism complaints and suggesting the wider process should be reviewed. This goes contrary to the Labour Party’s claims that this process was independent of the Leader’s Office. The impact of this email on those dealing with the complaints process was made clear in the eyewitness testimony shown in the programme.

“Wrong kind of Jews”

But in response to a request, Milne was specifically talking about Jewish people being accused of antisemitism. The quote Panorama used omitted that.

Effectively, Milne warned against Labour participating in the ‘wrong sort of Jew’ antisemitic trope in the email. Because the subject of the antisemitism complaint in question was a “Jewish activist” and “the son of Holocaust survivor”.

Corbyn’s political opponents routinely attack Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) – an organisation of Jewish Labour members – along similar lines:

We are denounced as the wrong kind of Jews, not actually members of the Jewish Community… ‘antisemitism enablers’ and other insulting terms.

The Labour right and corporate media have also accused Corbyn of antisemitism for meeting up with Jewish people, such as hosting Jewish Holocaust survivors in parliament and attending a Jewish Sedar (Passover feast).

Meanwhile, disciplinary cases relating to antisemitism among Labour members since September 2015 relate to 0.06% of party’s 540,000-strong membership. Labour says:

This represents a tiny minority, but one antisemite is one too many, and we will continue to act against this repugnant form of racism.

“Doctored by Panorama”

On social media, people were aghast at the BBC‘s conduct:

Even corporate journalists like the FT‘s chief political correspondent suggested that the BBC is misleading viewers:

This time, the BBC has stepped way over the line. Labour had complained that the broadcaster was completely misrepresenting Milne’s email. Yet it broadcast the selective edit twice to millions of people. That is utterly unacceptable conduct towards the official opposition.

Featured image via BBC


2. Jeremy Corbyn is Attacked Because He is Anti-Capitalist, not Anti-Semitic

Source: Tommy Sheridan, Sputnik News, 12th July 2019

It was sixty minutes of unsubstantiated allegations, disgruntled gripes, ridiculous verbal insults and pathetic accusations. Most of the dross was delivered with the sincerity of tears rolling down a crocodile’s scaly skin as it drags its latest unsuspecting prey underwater to be devoured.

All of it presented by a jackal in human form with a track-record of Corbyn bashing that should have disqualified him from ever being commissioned by a ‘public service’ broadcaster to present the programme. I’m talking about Panorama’s ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’ and the former Sun journalist John Ware who presented it, no doubt drawing on his vehemently anti-Corbyn notes used in 2015 to present ‘Jeremy Corbyn: Labour’s Earthquake’.

That Panorama show was widely condemned for its overt bias against Jeremy Corbyn and attracted several hundred complaints from viewers. It was broadcast several days before the ballot for the Labour leadership contest in 2015 closed and many believed it was an attempt to divert potential votes away from Corbyn. The Corbyn campaign team were furious at the lack of balance and use of factual inaccuracies compelling one source to accuse the BBC of conducting “a complete hatchet job” on Mr Corbyn.

Panorama producers apparently told them they were filming for a documentary about the Labour leadership campaign as a whole, including all four candidates, but instead the programme turned out to be all about the one candidate, as the title of the show suggests, and only included a few brief clips of his three rivals.

His campaign team at the time sent a copy of Mr Corbyn’s diary to prove he did not attend a conference in Cairo that advocated attacks on British and American troops, as was stated by the programme’s presenter, John Ware. The diary proved he attended events in his Islington constituency on the date of the said conference.

So after being misled before and publicly traduced and lied about in 2015 it is understandable that Labour were less than happy about the BBC giving public licence fee payers’ money to the same programme and the same presenter to produce another show to present another sixty minutes of anti-Jeremy Corbyn propaganda on behalf of the powerful and the privileged who are in a state of fear and alarm at the prospect of a Corbyn led government introducing legislation that will actually compel the millionaires and billionaires to pay their bloody taxes.

The ‘hatchet job’ in 2015 didn’t prevent Corbyn winning the Labour leadership election comfortably days later with 60% of the votes cast, and the tirade of abuse, lies, distortions and personal insults that followed didn’t prevent him from increasing his majority in the second leadership contest in 2016 with 62% of the votes cast.

The biggest crime Corbyn then committed was to present the most radical and socialist manifesto in Labour’s post-war history to the electorate in the snap General Election called by Theresa May in 2017.

All her advisors and friendly pollsters told her it was a certainty that the Tories would win a huge mandate and Labour under Corbyn would be destroyed. Just about every single political pundit and newspaper columnist agreed. Many predicted the worst result in Labour Party history. Every single one of them was wrong. These so-called pundits were in touch with each other and the comfortable media jet setters who consult their mirrors daily for pearls of worldly wisdom based on nothing more than what they all say to each other over expensive lunches and swanky dinners but they were completely out of touch with real people in real housing estates struggling with real problems like low pay, job insecurity, rising fuel and housing costs and deteriorating public services.

What Corbyn’s socialist manifesto did in 2017 was prove that radical ideas of wealth redistribution, re-nationalisation of stolen public assets like gas, electricity, water and railways and forcing big business and millionaires to pay their taxes are actually very popular policies. After nearly a decade of austerity cuts for the millions but tax cuts for the millionaires, many people wanted to see fairness and justice, not more of the same old Tory policies designed to serve the wealthy and powerful.

Sure Corbyn’s message was severely blunted in Scotland because he refuses to support independence and therefore Labour’s vote share hardly moved but in England and Wales, the increase in the Labour share of the vote was the biggest since 1945.

It was a truly remarkable result in the midst of the tsunami of media attacks manufactured against him. All those out of touch narcissists paid to tell us what to think should have resigned en masse on the back of their Corbyn demise predictions but their personal egos and remarkable ability to forget how wrong they were saved their bacons. They were told to try harder to convince us all that Corbyn is an evil man who will bring nothing but pain and darkness should he ever be elected.

And that is the narrative which leads us back to the Panorama ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’ programme. For years Corbyn has been attacked as being anti-British, anti-monarchy, anti-business and anti-Semitic. He is untrustworthy and can never be allowed to enter No10. Even US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, recently suggested that the US would take steps to prevent a Corbyn Labour Government.

The truth is now subverted daily and outrageous claims and unsubstantiated allegations are converted into truths by a powerful media machine desperate to save their own. There is nothing independent about the BBC. It represents the interests of the wealthy and powerful, the status quo, the stinking rich British Establishment. The privately owned media is dripping with hatred for Corbyn and any threat to their massive fortunes but the apparently ‘independent’ BBC and the so-called ‘quality’ press, like the Guardian and Independent, are just as biased and often more dangerous given their wolves in sheep’s clothing existence.

I didn’t watch the Panorama programme with an open mind because I was convinced it had already set out to attack and abuse Corbyn and his reputation. I wasn’t wrong.

Take one woman’s incredible unchallenged tirade:

“I joined the Labour Party in 2015. The anti-Semitic abuse I received was what I was subjected to every single day … telling me Hitler was right … telling me Hitler didn’t go far enough. In Labour Party meetings we saw people engage in Holocaust denial. I don’t think the Labour Party is a safe space for Jewish people anymore.”

That is a verbatim report of what was said on a UK wide BBC Flagship show at the 9 pm primetime slot. Is this what journalism has been reduced to?

A woman says she was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse “every single day”. Not a jot of evidence.

Labour Party members telling her “Hitler was right”? Not only unsubstantiated nonsense but grotesquely offensive nonsense.

Socialists were the very first group of opponents targeted and rounded up for imprisonment and execution by Hitler. Socialists and trade union organisers. It is in the DNA of socialists to oppose and hate Hitler and all that he stood for.

That claim made by that woman on that show sums up how completely pathetic and manufactured the whole show was. This person apparently joined Labour in 2015 and was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse “every single day”? But it took her 4 years of daily anti-Semitic abuse before she could conclude the Labour Party is no longer a “safe space” for Jewish people? Investigative journalism at its finest…

Then there was the Corbyn bashing repeat offender presenter Mr Ware displaying his remarkable psychic powers for our gratification. In a section dedicated to the comments and subsequent 2-year suspension from party membership of Ken Livingston he displayed abilities that would make Charles Francis Xavier of The X-Men green with envy:

“… some staff grinned in Mr Corbyn’s office we’ve been told as they watched news of what Ken Livingston had said. Most thought his comments were not that bad”.

This is another verbatim section from the show. A primetime, investigative journalism programme and we have the presenter nipping back in time three years to not only inform us what “some staff” did, they “grinned” but what most of them “thought”? Really? It was three years ago, he wasn’t there but he is able to state on primetime TV in the course of a supposedly serious news gathering investigative journalist programme what “most” staff in an office “thought”. They “thought his comments were not that bad”.

If this was not so serious it would be a good laugh but the reputation of a man with a spotless record of fighting against racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism and injustice throughout his adult life is on the line here and it is vital that all people who believe in a fair hearing, natural justice and evidence-based accusations stand up in defence of Jeremy Corbyn.

I will not vote for Labour in Scotland because they refuse to support our inalienable right to secure our independence but I will raise my voice in defence of a socialist who does not have an anti-Semitic or racist bone in his whole body.

Panorama deliberately and consciously quoted selectively from acquired emails to falsely portray a story of interference in the disputes procedures by the party leadership office when the full emails in context showed the complete opposite to be the case. It represents shoddy and disreputable journalism.

Supporters gather as Britain’s opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn attends a European Parliament election campaign rally in Bootle, north England on May 18, 2019.

According to every piece of reputable quantitative research, the 500,000 strong membership of the Labour Party are less likely to be anti-Semitic than members of the Tory Party or the general public and anti-Semitic views have actually reduced substantially within the Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader in 2015.

Instead of unsubstantiated allegations from disgruntled individuals and ridiculous time travelling thought analysis from a ridiculously biased presenter why not air independent quantitative research on the issue?

Why not report the fact that less than 1% of Labour Party members are subject to anti-Semitism complaints and detailed analysis of society as whole shows clearly that those who hold right-wing political views are significantly more likely to be anti-Semitic than those who share Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing views?

Jeremy Corbyn is subjected to sustained and offensive attacks by the billionaire owned and state-controlled media not because he is allegedly anti-Semitic but because he is anti-capitalist. The ruling elites in Britain and internationally fear Jeremy Corbyn because his principles are not for sale and his redistributive socialist policies are radical and serious. Expect the attacks and abuse to get worse and even more sustained the nearer we get to a General Election. Just as in 2017 however, hopefully, the people of England and Wales will reject the lies and vote for the sensible socialist policies he promotes.

*Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Tommy Sheridan and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


3. Same Executive Producer on three Channel 4 and BBC anti-Corbynite programmes revealed as former Labour activist

When Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, BBC Panorama aired an anti-Corbyn programme – Jeremy Corbyn Labour’s Earthquake –  about the rise of Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity in what was then called a hatchet job by Corbyn’s team:

But the programme was not made by the BBC. It was made by a private production company called Films of Record whose managing director and executive producer was at that time someone by the name of Neil Grant.

Another anti-Corbyn programme was aired about a year later on a different channel – Channel 4’s Dispatches. The programme – Battle for the Labour Party – is so anti-Corbyn, it prompted a written complaint to the producer about the programme’s “inaccuracies” and “slurs”.

But the programme was also not made by Channel 4. It was made by exactly the same private production company – Films of Record:

 

The same Films of Record whose managing director and executive producer was still someone called Neil Grant:

Which brings us to the latest anti-Corbyn programme aired this week attacking Labour with antisemitism smears.

Who was the Executive Producer?

Yep. The same Neil Grant, now no longer working for Films of Record but still very much being used as an executive producer by Panorama:

So who exactly is this Neil Grant, being given massive mounts of airtime across the airwaves on UK broadcasting media to attack Corbyn?

An investigative journalist?

Nope. Just an anti-Corbynite former Labour activist and former Brent East Labour Party chair who has had a 20-year political falling out with Ken Livingstone.

And while we’re on the same subject, who is Rachel Jupp, the Editor of the same Panorama programme:

Just the sister-in-law of anti-Corbynite Labour MP Helen Hayes who once signed a vote of no-confidence in Corbyn.

 

That’s all.


4. Panorama: Dreck, Lies and Videotape

Source: Jewish Dissdent Blogspot, 11th July 2019

Dreck (Yiddish): rubbish, excrement.

Last night’s Panorama hatchet-job on the Labour Party was every bit as bad as we’d expected. I’ll start with some specific points on how it was put together, before looking at the broader background.

Ten Facts About The Panorama Documentary

  1. The bulk of the program’s testimony was provided by disgruntled ex-employees of the Party, bureaucrats who were unable or unwilling to work with the new leadership, including Iain (now Lord) McNichol. Their claims were accepted uncritically by the interviewer.
  2. Soundbites delivered straight to camera by anonymous individuals peppered the program. They consisted of unsubstantiated allegations, were low on facts and high on emotional content (much ‘tearing up’ by the interviewees), and relied on appeals to emotion rather than verifiable data. Their allegations, in some cases verging on the absurd, were not investigated but, again, taken at face value. It has subsequently emerged that most, if not all, of these anonymous contributors are JLM activists (click here for more on this).
  3. So-called ‘expert testimony’ was provided by authors sympathetic to the paradigm of the New Antisemitism, which deliberately conflates antisemitism with anti-Zionism. These included Dave Rich (The Left’s Jewish Problem) and Alan Johnson (Contemporary Left Anti-Semitism). Their motivations and assumptions went unchallenged, and no alternative perspective was put forward.
  4. There was no input whatsoever from the thousands of Jewish Party members who support Jeremy, whose inclusion might have signaled at least some interest in journalistic balance, but would of course have risked damaging the program’s pure propaganda value.
  5. There was much recycling of old material – e.g. the Mear One mural and the Ken Livingstone fiasco – in the absence of any substantial new allegations.
  6. There were several telling elisions, like the program’s failure to mention that Jackie Walker – whose case was dealt with in a predictably appalling fashion by Ware – is herself Jewish. The Chakrabarti report was dismissed in a couple of brief asides.
  7. Individuals like MP Louise Ellman were able to tell their apparently plausible stories without their own political affiliations being flagged up. Ellman has for many years been a key member of Labour Friends Of Israel.
  8. A handful of leaked emails were made much of by John Ware, but in no case did these emails provide any evidence whatsoever of actual Labour Party antisemitism.
  9. The program’s underlying assumptions were that anti-Zionism equals antisemitism, and that Marxists have no place in the Labour Party. These assumptions determined both the tone and the content of the piece.
  10. At no stage were any of the serious allegations of concrete antisemitism alleged by the anonymous participants, or indeed by anyone else, investigated by the program. This made a mockery of its claim to be a serious investigation and clearly revealed it for what it was – an ideologically motivated hatchet job with no concern for the truth.

An Entrée To The Main Course – Three Lords A-Leaping

A couple of days before the airing of the Panorama documentary, three Labour peers jumped ship. Their resignations were splashed across the news, along with the usual unsubstantiated accusations of Labour Party antisemitism.

Was the timing of these resignations coincidental? Judging by earlier installments of the establishment’s anti-Corbyn offensive, all carefully coordinated in order to inflict the maximum damage, one suspects not.

In his resignation letter Lord Triesman described Labour as “plainly institutionally antisemitic”, an assertion which is now so firmly accepted within the Westminster/media bubble that there is apparently no need to back it up with evidence. Despite going on to claim that “the number of examples is shocking”, Triesman didn’t bother to include a single example of this alleged institutional antisemitism in his letter.

This Big Lie about Corbyn’s Labour has now taken on a life of its own. The most odious claims no longer require evidential justification – the accusation alone is enough, and is taken at face value by the mainstream media, which of course is all too happy to assist in the destruction of the Corbyn project.

Triesman may have accidentally let the cat out of the bag when he declared that:

“I always said it was worth hanging on to fight so long as there was a prospect of winning. I now don’t believe with this leadership there is.”

The over-egged accusations of institutional antisemitism invariably seem to boil down to simply wanting to see a change of leadership – in effect, a return to the good old days of Blair and Brown, with their unwavering support for Israel and their pro-austerity politics. The disgruntled Blairite old guard are prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to achieve that goal, if necessary taking the whole Party down with them. This seems to go for peers as much as it does for ex-employees of the Party.

Of the three peers who resigned the Labour whip, Triesman in particular should know better, having been the victim of a sustained campaign of real antisemitism in the past perpetrated by the Nazi thugs of Combat 18. His damaging comments however provided the perfect entrée for Wednesday’s main course – a Panorama “documentary” put together by sometime Sun journalist John Ware.

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Bureaucrat Scorned

John Ware’s Panorama slot, clocking in at a full hour, marks a new low-point in the BBC’s carefully orchestrated campaign against Corbyn and the Labour Party. 

The most interesting thing about the program was that despite the resources that had clearly been poured into its production, not a single concrete example of the egregious and ubiquitous antisemitism it alleges was actually  produced and examined.

No amount of tearful, direct-to-camera testimony by anonymous individuals – or by ex-functionaries still mourning the loss of their jobs-for-life – can seriously stand in for the well-researched facts that we might have once expected from a flagship show like Panorama.

This was, essentially, a puff piece that recycled the old allegations without fleshing them out and without providing any substantial new material. Indeed, the only interesting fact to emerge from this execrable piece of alleged journalism is that the bureaucrats who left when Jenny Formby took over the Party’s administration are really still incredibly bitter about the shift in Labour’s political trajectory.

It will nonetheless provide more grist to the mill for those who are determined to take Labour down. A certain propagandist once wrote that “when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it [..] even at the risk of looking ridiculous”. Sadly this strategy seems to be working. A study due to come out later this year suggests that the antisemitism allegations are being taken on board by the general public and are drastically affecting Labour’s levels of support.

In the final analysis, the only weapon we can fight back with is the truth. The way the antisemitism farrago has played out provides clear proof that on this issue a ‘Fabian strategy’ will not work. Instead we must continue to speak truth to power, as loudly and clearly as we can. Anything less and the Corbyn revolution will end in defeat.


5. Sticky Fingers: JLM’s Panorama Playbook?

Source: Jay Blackwood, Jewish Dissident, 12 July 2019

Any number of dirty tricks have been deployed in the campaign to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. In the Panorama documentary broadcast on 10th July, which the Labour Party has rightly condemned as a stitch-up, a series of anonymous “talking heads” recounted their awful personal experiences of antisemitism in the Party. They oozed sincerity and emotional trauma. Whatever the truth about their claims, which at times sounded fanciful to anyone who knows the Party from the inside, only a hard-hearted individual could fail to be moved.

Fortunately there are some eagle-eyed comrades out there, who happened to notice that most of these anonymous “witnesses” appear to be members or supporters of the JLM, the Jewish Labour Movement – an organisation notoriously hostile to Corbyn and the Labour leadership. Asa Winstanley, on the excellent Electronic Intifada website, was the first to break the news, and other comrades (notably Bob Pitt) have added their observations. A provisional list of JLM people who “gave witness” anonymously in the Panorama show reads as follows (click here to see the full list of JLM officers):
Stephane Savary (JLM joint National Vice-Chair)
Joe Goldberg (JLM joint National Vice-Chair)
Izzy Lenga (JLM International Officer)
Alex Richardson (JLM Membership Officer)
Adam Langleben (ex JLM Campaigns Officer)
Ella Rose (JLM Equalities Officer, former National Director)
Rebecca Filer (JLM Political Education Officer)
Joshua Garfield (JLM Local Government Officer)

It is extremely worrying that most of the people interviewed as direct witnesses to antisemitic incidents by the program makers appear to be members of a single political lobby group, and in most cases current or recent Executive members at that. This was not mentioned at any point in the show, either during the program itself or in the credits at the end.

It is worth noting that you don’t have to be Jewish, or even a paid-up member of the Labour Party, in order to join JLM. According to JLM’s rule book, you merely have to be eligible to join the UK Labour Party in order to sign up. You do, however, also have to support the state of Israel. The rule book lists the following organisational aims and objects:

  • To maintain and promote Labour or Socialist Zionism [..]
  • To promote the centrality of Israel in Jewish life [..]

In the light of JLM’s ambiguous status and its openly declared loyalty to Israel, it is unfortunate that the group is often credited, quite erroneously, with speaking for Labour’s Jewish members (many of whom do not share their values). In the wake of the Panorama program, for instance, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson tweeted that anyone upset by the show’s revelations should sign up as supporters of JLM and make a donation!

This is probably not the place to promote the virtues of Labour’s other Jewish organisation, JVL (Jewish Voice for Labour), although it is worth noting that JVL does require its full (voting) members to be both Jewish and actual members of the Labour Party. Nor does JVL require prospective members to hold any particular position on the question of Israel/Palestine (though its membership tends on the whole to be critical of Israel’s excesses).

Turning once more to JLM, it is fair to say that their involvement in the Panorama documentary raises a number of serious questions:

  1. How did the BBC fail so badly to conduct due diligence around the selection of interviewees for the program? Was their failure a matter of negligence or of policy?
  2. Was John Ware, the sometime Sun journalist responsible for the show, aware of the political affiliations of his “witnesses”? If so, was there direct collusion with them in order to ensure that the program delivered a single monolithic message?
  3. Given the heavy involvement of JLM in this virulent attack on the Labour Party, isn’t it time that the Party conducted a serious investigation into the JLM’s activities?

It is not unreasonable to conclude that the BBC has colluded with journalist John Ware and the JLM to ensure that a program touted as a serious journalistic investigation into Labour Party antisemitism was in fact nothing of the sort. It was rather another crude attempt to smear our Party and its leader as antisemitic, against all evidence and against all common sense. We cannot let this pass.


6. Former Labour Party investigator caught lying in BBC Panorama interview.

Source: Johnny Beggs, Facebook 12 July 2019

Former Labour Party investigator caught lying in BBC Panorama interview.

Last night’s Panorama ‘investigation’ was a hotch-potch of lies and unattributed quotes, all overlain with sinister B-movie music. It was clearly an attempt to stitch up Jeremy Corbyn.

We listened here in Liverpool very carefully. Our Riverside constituency was put in special measures in 2016, and investigated by an antisemitism ‘expert’, Ben Westerman.

Mr Westerman featured on the programme, and claimed that he had been asked during one of the six interviews he conducted here if he came from Israel. He implied that this was antisemitic.

Mr Westerman is not telling the truth.

No-one knew Mr Westerman was Jewish, and no-one asked him about coming from Israel. He is attempting to use his Jewishness to smear another (Jewish!) Party member.

It is a provable lie because all the interviews were recorded by us.

The transcript of the conversation with an elderly Jewish comrade, who was acting as the interviewee’s silent friend, goes like this. The initials R signifies the interviewee’s Silent Friend, present at the interview.

Ben W: (To R) Ok. Do you want to…?
R: No, I’m just curious cos I haven’t been in the Labour Party for very long and I certainly haven’t been to anything like this informal interview before, erm, so I’m just curious, just, like what branch are you in?
Ben W: I don’t think that’s relevant.
R: Oh, ok.
Ben W: I hope that’s ok -, I’m sorry I just don’t think, I don’t think where I’m from is at all relevant to the investigation… [NOTE He hasn’t been asked ‘where he’s from’, he’d been asked what branch he is in – Johnny Beggs]
R: Yeah, I just, I just misunderstood, I thought the investigation bit about me not being a silent witness was…
Ben W: No, no it is, you’re more than welcome to ask questions, but I reserve the right to not answer them and I feel that’s a, that’s a question about my personal situation which I don’t think is relevant to the situation in Riverside.
R: Oh. No, it might not be. Just but, it might be interesting.
Ben W: I’m, I’m not prepared to discuss my, my address, basically. [NOTE: He had not been asked for his address! – Johnny Beggs]
R: Mmm. [EXTRACT ENDS]

After a few more brief sentences from the interviewee (also Jewish) the exchange ended. Nothing was said after the interview, as was claimed by Mr Westerman on PANORAMA.

In the PANORAMA programme Mr Westerman claims he was asked “Where are you from?” As the transcript shows, he was actually asked about his branch affiliation. Mr Westerman looks VERY SORRY FOR HIMSELF, hurt and near to tears, and goes on to say, speaking of himself, “You are assumed to be in cahoots with the Israeli government…it’s this obsession that spills over all the time into antisemitism.”

So, by enquiring about Mr Westerman’s branch affiliation, the elderly (Jewish!) Party member was deemed to be implying Mr Westerman was “in cahoots with the Israeli government”, and therefore antisemitic!

Neither the interviewee or her silent friend had any idea Mr Westerman was Jewish – and neither would have deemed it relevant.

Both the interviewee and her silent friend referenced their own Jewish heritage during the interview. Mr Westerman did not.

None of the six Riverside members interviewed by Mr Westerman knew of his Jewish heritage – it was not relevant in any case.

Mr Westerman’s Jewishness only becomes relevant when he tries to use it for political purposes. He now claims that not only did one of us know of his heritage, but that this comrade implied he was working on behalf of Israel – simply because she posed an innocent question enquiring about his Party branch affiliation.

How far does this distortion and misrepresentation spread through the Panorama ‘investigation’?

NOTE The recordings of the six interviews will be made available shortly.

 

 

 

Comments (15)

  • different frank says:

    Excellent!!!!

  • S H says:

    Please JVL send all this evidence and our comments to the bloody bbc. Notify Ofcom and regulatiors so the disgusting panorama people are brought to justice.
    Make them retract this horrible travesty of lies.
    #BoycottTheBBC
    #WatsonMustGo

  • John says:

    Another name that keeps cropping up in Item 3 is Leo Telling.
    I cannot find anything about him on the internet.
    Is this a real name?
    Can anyone else identify him/her and any connections s/he may have?

  • Billovitch says:

    Wow!!

    I’m a labour party member, Twickenham Branch, once active, but the other pressures of life brought that to an end. I’ll be honest I’m not a fan of Corbyn, not because he’s on the left, but because I find him very inflexible in his thinking.

    The whole antisemitism business seemed plausible,in view of Corbyn’s history of attacking people he labelled as Zionists (“lacking an understanding of English irony, etc”).

    The Panorama episode seemed reasonably even handed, but, after “dodgy dossiers” of all sorts in recent years I thought it wise to check the web for criticisms. I very soon arrived at electronicintifada.com and the remarkable Aljazeera documentary “The Lobby”. The soulful looking young woman appearing at the beginning of the Panorama documentary was then revealed as an extremely foul-mouthed character with a penchant for fantasies of violence towards political opponents… , and so on and so forth.

    I managed to suss out several more of the other anonymous contributors: a certain Adam Langleben appeared to be trying to disguise himself behind a pair of glasses, though his unusual pattern of facial hair growth gave him away: Your excellent article, however, pulls everything together brilliantly.
    Well done.

    For all my doubts about Corbyn he has clearly been horribly traduced by a sizeable group within the Israel lobby.

  • different frank says:

    Panorama totally pulled to pieces, line by line.
    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1149426426665455622.html

  • Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for this evidence particularly that of the Riverside interview transcript.

  • Clare Willison says:

    The father of socialism, Karl Marx, ‘has no place in the party’? So he would be seen as the ‘wrong sort of Jew’ as well now? Now we are within a gnat’s toenail clipping of removing the Tories, and ending austerity and neoliberalism, so many are doing all they can to prevent us. What was it that drew so many anti-socialists to the Labour Party in the first place?

  • Liberty says:

    Everyone please write email letters of complant to the standards authorities who should never have allowed this pack of lies and inuoendos to be broadcast as facts on a publicly funded service, with Ware the anti Muslim idiot doing his Corbyn baiting act and with other obvious dubious characters who we all knew were misreprenting themselves, using smears in place of actual evidence, changing the meaning of partial emails, deliberate and clear fabrication on a massive scale. This is a total breach of impartiality, balance fairness and broadcasting rules. Brainwashing the masses. JVL if you want us to do anything to help in saving our party we will do it. The public are being duped into believing terrible lies and it’s so horrible and upsetting. Thank you to everyone. We have to stay strong.

  • Idris Evans says:

    Invaluable work that helps us all on a daily basis refute the lies!

  • Nell Griffiths says:

    Thanks JVL. Clear and insightful as ever. Solidarity.

  • Patricia Banke says:

    Thanks, as usual, for your excellent research

  • Annie Weatherly-Barton says:

    Could all the evidence in this article be forwarded to EHRC?
    Mr John Mann, MP has published a tweet saying it was he who raised money in order to get EHRC to investigate Labour Party for antisemitism.
    1. Does this mean public have to pay EHRC to undertake an investigation?
    2. Where did John Mann get the money from? Who paid the money?

    Surely this claim by John Mann compromises the EHRC investigation.

    We are all being used, abused, screwed by unscrupulous “invisibles”!!!

  • Helena Aksentijevic says:

    Why did this programme not have any balance? Almost all “whistleblowers” were members of JLM and one at least used to work for the Israeli embassy. Some appeared in Al Jazeera’s “The Lobby” showing Israeli interference in British politics. Completely one sided, no balance, no examples, just peoples “Feelings”

  • Martin Bridgman says:

    This is an excellent exposee of the Panorama programme. It seems to me given the above this has to go beyond poor or incompetent journalism. It can only be a hatchet job. I am not Jewish but from everything I have ever experienced, everything I have ever witnessed the Labour Party, socialists and the left wing was always the friend of Jewish people. To see some members of the Jewish community turn on its most consistent and closest ally saddens me deeply. I am very grateful JVL is around to restore some balance for members of the Jewish community, socialists and the Labour Party. I salute you and stand in solidarity with you.

  • David McNiven says:

    Dear BBC,
    I wish to complain about the quality of the recently televised school play.
    It was as if the Pano Drama School had never even heard of Lee Strasberg’s ‘method’ – the little boy threatening to “do something terrible” to himself was totally unconvincing.
    At least the penny-dreadful Scandi-cop shows the BBC loves so much have the decency to distract us from the poor acting with subtitles.

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