Three tales about the Guardian

A lifelong Guardian reader has had enough of its abandonment of editorial principle. She explains why she has cancelled her subscription.

We have previously published cartoonist Steve Bell’s outrage at the Guardian’s censoring of his ‘if…’ cartoon strip.

And here is the letter from more than 100 Jews protesting about the hounding of Chris Williamson MP – a letter that the Guardian initially published and then pulled after complaints from anti-Corbyn groups about some signature irregularities. These were immediately corrected, but to no avail. The Guardian prefers to write this support out of the history books

20th July 2019

Dear Mr. Chadwick

I am a lifelong Guardian reader. My parents took The Guardian throughout my childhood. I learnt about the world largely through its pages; developed a love of cryptic crosswords; laughed with its sketch writers; felt outrage at the injustices uncovered by its investigative journalism; admired its subscription model; and found myself in total accord with Lucy Mangan about almost everything. Above all, it seemed to me that it was the only paper in which rigour and integrity could be relied upon.

It is with profound regret and sadness, therefore, that I find myself in a position of having to cancel our subscription.

Over recent years I have become increasingly dismayed by The Guardian’s attitude towards the Labour Party.

I have always considered myself to be a “Labour” person. I continued to support the party throughout the years of Tony Blair’s premiership despite feeling alienated by some of the party’s policies (most notably PFI) and in particular the change of direction towards Neo-Liberalism, which I found alarming. Only after Iraq did I feel myself unable, in all conscience, to vote for them. However, I recognised that for all its flaws, the Labour Party represented the best hope for attempting to tackle the scourge of inequality in our society.  Moreover, I utterly deplored the way that the majority of the mainstream press (not, to its credit, The Guardian) managed to successfully promote the fallacy that the financial crash of 2008 was down to the profligacy of the Labour government.

Nonetheless, I was only motivated to actually join the party [in the Hertford and Stortford

Constituency] and become an active member by the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader. I, many of my friends and family and a significant number of my branch and constituency Labour Parties are Corbyn supporters. We are not members of a personality cult, and we are not uncritical of Corbyn’s leadership, but we have all been inspired to become politically active and engaged by a Labour Party that seems at long last to have embraced genuinely Socialist principles. The devastation wrought by the current and previous Tory administrations can only be tackled by a complete rejection of Neo-Liberal capitalism which has been in the ascendant for my entire lifetime. It is my belief that only Corbyn’s Labour Party offers a genuine alternative to the prevailing orthodoxy.

Imagine how upsetting it has been, therefore, for me to find the one paper I trusted becoming ever more virulently and disingenuously opposed to me and people like me. From your news items to your sketch writers to your opinion pieces we are decried as hard left entryists, head-in-the-clouds Marxist utopianists and gullible antisemites or enablers of antisemites.

Your coverage of the so-called “antisemitism crisis” in the Labour Party has been particularly egregious. You and your journalists know that there is absolutely no empirical evidence to support the idea that the Labour Party is rife with antisemitism. You know that numerous reputable studies have indicated that in actual fact, antisemitic attitudes are less prevalent in the Labour Party than in wider society in general, or than in most other political parties. You know that Chris Williamson has said nothing antisemitic but is rather a seasoned and reliable antiracist campaigner. You know that many of the people caught up in the witch hunt (Moshe Machover, Jackie Walker, Glyn Secker) are themselves Jewish. You know that since Jennie Formby took over as General Secretary the disciplinary processes have been overhauled, and that the disarray and obstruction in dealing with cases under Iain McNicol has been largely eradicated. You know that Margaret Hodge is deliberately confusing the issue when she claims to have submitted 200 dossiers about antisemitism, but only 20 of those relate to actual members of the Labour Party. You know that the overwhelming majority of the vile antisemitism to be found online is the work of right- wing trolls, and that it is extremely difficult to verify the veracity of those trolls who claim to be supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. You know that Jeremy Corbyn can’t fix the internet. You know that the recent Panorama programme “Is Labour antisemitic?” was neither ‘news’ nor ‘investigative journalism’ but a farrago of unsubstantiated mud-slinging. You know that the Jewish Labour Movement, contrary to its claim to have been in operation for 99 years, was largely defunct until 2015, when it was re-formed specifically with the agenda of opposing Jeremy Corbyn. You know, moreover, that it in no way represents the views and outlook of all Jews. You know that it is easy to find Jews whose experiences and perspective run directly counter to the prevailing narrative – yet you never give them a voice. You prefer to propagate a poisonous stream of unsubstantiated anecdotes which merely serve to whip up hysteria and fear in the Jewish community; and there is certainly reason for fear – from the rise of the nationalists, the nativists, the Trumps, the Orbáns and the actual Nazis who are gaining globally in popularity and influence.

By sowing and promulgating this discord you are playing a very dangerous game. There is a real risk that the Labour Party will be totally torn apart and destroyed as a progressive force. Then, in the post-Brexit Johnsonian dystopia that is likely to ensue, it will be the poor, the sick, the marginalised, those who are disabled, LGTBQIA+ or from immigrant and traveller families, the women and children who rely most heavily on the ever-disappearing safety net of the state, who will suffer.

That is why I am cancelling my subscription. I will continue to seek out the work of the few noble exceptions in the Guardian stable; Dawn Foster, Aditya Chakrabortty, Kenan Malik, Owen Jones (mostly) and the wonderful Steve Bell. But I cannot continue to give you my money when you insist on adhering to an editorial line which is at best misguided, and at worst dishonest and dangerous.

Yours with deep sadness

Ghislaine Peart

 

Cc Katharine Viner, Editor in Chief, Guardian News and Media
Alex Graham, Chair, Scott Trust
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader, The Labour Party
Steve Bell
Jenny Manson and Leah Levine, Co-Chairs, Jewish Voice for Labour

 

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Letter published in the Guardian on 8th July but subsequently pulled...

click to enlarge

Jewish support for Chris Williamson

We the undersigned, all Jews, are writing in support of Chris Williamson and to register our dismay at the recent letter organised by Tom Watson, and signed by parliamentary Labour party and House of Lords members, calling for his suspension…

Chris Williamson did not say that the party had been “too apologetic about antisemitism”, as has been widely misreported. He correctly stated that the Labour party has done more than any other party to combat the scourge of antisemitism and that, therefore, its stance should be less apologetic. Such attacks on Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters aim to undermine not only the Labour party’s leadership but also all pro-Palestinian members.

The mass media have ignored the huge support for Chris both within and beyond the Labour party. Support that includes many Jews. The party needs people like him, with the energy and determination to fight for social justice. As anti-racist Jews, we regard Chris as our ally: he stands as we do with the oppressed rather than the oppressor. It should also be noted that he has a longer record of campaigning against racism and fascism than most of his detractors.

The Chakrabarti report recommended that the party’s disciplinary procedures respect due process, favour education over expulsion and promote a culture of free speech, yet this has been abandoned in practice. We ask the Labour party to reinstate Chris Williamson and cease persecuting such members on false allegations of antisemitism.

 

Signed by

 

Non UK names

 

Ed Asner – Actor, USA
Ronnie Barkan. Israeli dissident
Medea Benjamin. CODEPINK
Judith Bernstein –  Jewish Palestine Dialogue Group, Munich
Max Blumenthal – Writer and activist
Katherine Kohler – Jews against the Occupation
Judith Berlowitz – Bay Area Women in Black
Ofer Cassif – Member of the Knesset (the Parliament of Israel)
Michael Cohen – Labour International
Noam Chomsky – Professor, Arizona University
Judith Deutsch – Independent Jewish Voices, Canada
Richard Falk – Princeton University
Norman Finkelstein – Writer/lecturer
Ariel Gold – CODEPINK
Sheila Goldmacher – Jewish Voice for Peace
Michael Gottlieb – Actor
Judith Haiven – Independent Jewish Voices, Canada
Jeff Halper – Professor, Israel
Ehud Khaufman – Tel Aviv
Michael Lesher – Author, poet, journalist and Orthodox Jew, New Jersey USA
Yaar Peretz –Jewish Voice for Peace, San Francisco
Karen Platt – Jewish Voice for Peace, San Francisco
Vivienne Porzsolt – Jews against the Occupation, Sydney
Herman Rosenfeld – Socialist Project, Toronto
Lillian Rosengarten – Refugee from Nazi Germany, writer
Adi Shosberger – Medical Aid without Borders
Sid Shniad –  Independent Jewish Voices, Canada
Suzanne Weiss – Holocaust Survivor, Toronto

 

UK Names

 

Avigail Abarbanel – Psychotherapist
Jeanette Ablestern – Retired
Ruth Appleton – Holborn and St Pancras CLP
Claude Baesens – Warrington and Leamington CLP
Rebekeh Ball – Holborn and St Pancras CLP
Daphna Baram – Journalist, London
Graham Bash – South Thanet  CLP
Shereen Benjamin – Edinburgh Eastern CLP
Frances Bernstein – North East Leeds CLP
Rica Bird – Wirral South CLP
Robert Brady – Hounslow  & Isleworth CLP
Jan Brown – Doctor
Hagit Borer – QMU
Haim Bresheeth – Jewish Network for Palestine
David Cannon – Jewish Network for Palestine
Jon Cohen – Special Education Teacher
Robert Cohen – Jewish Network for Palestine steering group
Mike Cushman – Chair: Free Speech on Israel
Miriam David – Sussex University
Edward Earl – Orpington CLP
Sally Rebecca Eason – Labour Left Voice
Pia Feig – Jews for Justice for Palestine
Andrew Feinstein – Holborn & St Pancras CLP
Deborah Fink – Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods
Sylvia Finzi – Artist
Nick Foster – Bristol West CLP
Paul Foster – Basildon CLP
Carolyn Gelenter – Holborn & St Pancras CLP
Sam Gindin – Retired
Harvey Goldstein – University of Bristol
John Goodman – Rugby CLP
Stuart Goodman – Norwich South CLP
Alice Grey – Holborn & St Pancras CLP
Elleanne  Green – Human rights Activist/City & Westminster
Tony Greenstein – Vice President Brighton Trades Council
Paul Halas – Stroud CLP
Ruth Hall – Hampstead & Kilburn CLP
Vikki Harper – Newark CLP
Kevin Harrison – South Suffolk CLP
Mike Hart – Retired
Rebekah Hirsch – Waltham Forest CLP
Abby Hoffmann – Norwich South CLP
Anthony Howell – Poet.
Alexander Jamal – Dulwich & West Norwood CLP
Selma James – International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Ken Jarmin – Waveney CLP
Riva Joffe – Holborn & St Pancras CLP
Michael Kalmanovitz – International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Matt Kennard – Journalist and Author
Peter Kennard – Professor, RCA, London
Rodney Kreizman – Wimbledon CLP
Jacqueline Klemes – Hampstead and Kilburn CLP
Agnes Kory – Hampstead & Kilburn CLP
Richard Kuper – Holborn & St Pancras CLP
Richard Kuttner – East Hampshire CLP
Antony Lerman – Senior Fellor Bruno Kreisky Forum
Michael Letwin – Jews for Palestine Right of Return
Leah Levane – Co-Chair, Jewish Voice for Labour
Les Levidow – Academic researcher
Tom Loeffler – Bristol West CLP
Dorothy Macedo – Worthing West CLP
Moshé Machover – Hampstead & Kilburn CLP
Deborah Maccaby – Jewish Voice for Labour
Jenny Manson –  Co-Chair, Jewish Voice for Labour
Helen Marks – Jewish Voice for Labour
Rita Mendleson – Newcastle Central CLP
Nancy Mendoza – Filton & Bradley Stoke CLP
Lynn Ruth Miller – Performer
Angie Mindel – Nottongham East CLP
David Mond  – Warwick University
Igi Moon – Holborn & St Pancras CLP
Shosh Morris – Islington South CLP
Mica Nava – UEL/Islington North CLP
Diana Neslen – Ilford South CLP
Marlene Newesri – Justice Activist
Ephraim Nimni – Queens University, Belfast
Earl Okin – Kensington & Chelsea CLP
Ruth Pearson – Norwich South CLP
Rueben Ramsey – Hastings & Rye CLP
Marion Roberts – Camberwell & Peckham CLP
Leon Rosselson – Songwriter
John Rubenstein – Hornsey & Wood Green CLP
Alexei Sayle – Writer/Comedian
Amanda Sebestyen – Holborn & St Pancras CLP
Glyn Secker – Jewish Voice for Labour
Jenny Secreten – Newcastle Central CLP
Joss Sheldon – Author
Pamela Singer – Forest of Dean CLP
Ruth Tenne – Hampstead & Kilburn CLP
Tess van Gelderen – Brent Central CLP
Jackie Walker – Jews for Justice for Palestine
Sam Weinstein – Hampstead & Kilburn CLP
Ivan Wels – Nottingham East CLP
Claire Wintram – Leicester West CLP
Meredith Wood-Bevan – Swansea West CLP
Martyn Wood-Bevan – Swansea West CLP
Rosy Wood-Bevan – Swansea West CLP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (24)

  • Liberty says:

    I could literally cry reading how much anguish and devastation has been caused by the Witch
    Hunt against our party with the complicity of the Barmy Blairites and Brainwashing British media. Please copy distribute share all this evidence and testimony. The guardian is part of the problem as Freedland is shutting down freedom of speech and right of reply that opposes his pro brutal Israeli apartheid regime zionist views and the newspaper is allowing him to break every impartiality and ethical rule to pander to the twit.

  • Sara says:

    I feel so proud to be a tiny part of this magnificent movement and in the company of amazing wonderful caring people who have signed letters of support for our life long friend Jeremy Corbyn and all those that love him. Thank you JVL.

  • Nicola Grove says:

    I cancelled my Guardian subscription a year ago and sent a dossier about the appallingly biased coverage of both Labour policies and allegations of antisemitism. I have yet to receive a reply, though one was promised. However I do note today an article by a deputy editor sympathetic to Jeremy Corbyn, and coverage of Tower Hamlet’s refusal to hold a charity event for Palestinian children for fear of falling foul of the IHRA declaration. It would be nice to think that they are realising that as newspaper reliant on subscription it is sensible to maintain integrity and objectivity in their reporting.

  • Andy Wistreich says:

    Ghislaine Peart’s letter expresses so eloquently my own reasons for cancelling my Guardian subscription around a year ago. It is uplifting to read the recent series of JVL posts on this issue. JVL has wonderful integrity. It gives me hope. Thank you for your efforts to speak the truth in this quagmire of deceit and vitriol.

  • Andrew Hornung says:

    With regard to Ghislaine Peart’s letter…I agree entirely. This is the (unpublished) letter I wrote to The Guardian after their witchunting article on July 1st (some of which I used in a previous “Comment”):
    On Monday 1st July the Guardian published an article headlined “’No place’ for MP at centre of storm”. At a time when Party members were being told that motions relating to ongoing investigations – critically the one concerning Chris Williamson – would be deemed not competent and when the right-wing press was alleging “interference”, the Guardian ran an article recording the views regarding Williamson of three people.
    The first, one Steve Lapsley from Nottingham, accuses him of “appalling Jew-baiting”. Example? None given. This quotation is followed by the information from the writer, Nazia Parveen, that Williamson “faced complaints after booking a room in parliament to screen a film about Jackie Walker.” Is this the example of “appalling Jew-baiting”?
    The second, one Eve Sacker, accuses Wiilliamson of not being responsive to her concerns regarding anti-semitism. Strangely, however, she does not accuse him of “appalling Jew-baiting” though presumably she is a member of the same or a neighbouring constituency Labour Party. It seems that, although she is, according to your report, “deputy manager (of a) multicultural educational charity, she hasn’t noticed these “appalling” occurrances, which are punishable by law.
    So we go on to Mr Carr, who accuses Williamson of “rubbing people up the wrong way.” No accusations from Mr Carr about anti-semitism either, just “saying silly things.”
    I know none of these people. I’ve neither met nor heard a talk given by Chris Williamson nor read an article by him. But I protest at this utterly unprincipled type of journalism, whose aim is neither to inform nor research but simply to repeat unsubstantiated allegations directed against someone under investigation.

  • Mary Davies says:

    Brilliant letters. It is cruel, nasty bullying – a witchhunt against decent, honourable members of the Labour Party, people of integrity and committed anti-racists who should not have to put up with this constant abuse and propaganda.

  • Simon Dewsbury says:

    Ghislaine’s experience and views about the Guardian, what it was and the appalling loss of its integrity, mirror mine almost exactly – but she puts it much better than I ever could. Thanks Ghislaine

  • Teresa Grover says:

    The Guardian is nothing like the paper we bought daily. This no longer happens because the Guardian HAS sold out to the main stream fascist thinking!
    Not sure who owners the Guardian now but it’s not anyone or country I like!.
    Guardian, what IS wrong with you?
    You have become a Tory paper, listen to yourself,you have shamed yourself.
    If you want to be Tory that’s up to you but GUARDIAN? Your certainly no longer that!!!!!

  • Alfie B says:

    It’s not just Freedland. There’s a horrible group think adopted by nearly all the regulars. They wouldn’t dream of entertaining any opinion that contradicts the apparently telepathic consensus on crucial subjects like Corbyn, Israel/Palestine and antisemitism, but also foreign affairs, opinion on which which seems to be rigidly controlled by official propagandists. With very few exceptions the paper has become unreadable for anyone for whom the truth about these things matters. It’s too painful to read the lies, and too alienating to be subjected to their patronising opinions.

  • John says:

    The Guardian is complicit in ushering in a new era in Britain, in which free speech will be ended and neo-fascism will rise unchallenged.
    The Guardian have created making any criticism of Israel into a race and/or religion matter when the truth is that zionism is a political ideology.
    Ultra-Islamists are now picking up on this approach.
    Many local councils are now passing anti-Islamophobia motions, in which the wording is identical to the so-called IHRA definition and examples, with the one exception that the word ‘Islamophobia’ is substituted for ‘antisemitism’.
    The Guardian is colluding in the suppression of free speech in Britain.

  • patrick edlin says:

    The Government’s majority has been cut to 1 seat only by the defeat in the recent by-election. Boris’s lot lost 9.5% of a 8000 majority. Since its creation in 1918 Brecon & Radnorshire saw Labour win four times out of eighteen and always by a close margin. Their last win was in 1970.

    But that has not stopped the establishment encouraging the Tories accompanied by Labour spin-doctors Mandelson/Campbell, and some Labour MP’s mud-slinging for years. George Osborne’s (remember him the chancellor that introduced ‘austerity-politics’) now as editor of The Evening Standard, as we know has Labour’s best interests always at heart; offers a poll asserting that the majority of Labour voters want Corbyn to stand down.
    The assault on Corbyn’s Labour has been relentless with David Blunkett to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg just ten minuets after he was elected leader by 59% in September 2015.
    Lets be honest no one, least of all Corbyn, expected the veteran left-winger to win. He was nominated to give the appearance of an open contest that was designed to appease the left. But he won.
    Then like headless chickens opinion writers went into overdrive, as they knew better than Labour Party rank and file voters, Obviously.
    The coronation of Boris Johnson with, not 44 million voters, no no no come on, only 92.000 Tory members crowned him Prime Minster with out the tacky need for a general election. Which pales into comparison when 313.000 voted to elect Corbyn as leader.
    Of course it’s ABC, Anyone But Corbyn where smears keep inaccuracies for company are thrown on a daily, if not hourly basis in obvious desperation. Some say the right of the Parliamentary Labour Party would support Boris Johnson, in any form, rather than let Labour win. The last thing they want is an honest decent clear speaking messenger as they are hell bent on rubbishing the message to prevent Labour getting into Number 10, democratically.

  • Norma Parfitt says:

    I agree with and support every point in Ghislaine Peart’s letter.
    I will no longer read the Guardian; maybe I was naive to ever think it was independent and trustworthy; maybe you just sold out.
    BUT should I ever want propaganda I’ll know where to find it

  • DAVID ROGER says:

    A beautifully articulate letter that summarises what many of us feel
    It would be good to know when/if the Guardian replies !

  • different frank says:

    I started reading the Graun when I was 17.
    I stopped when it became a neoliberal mouthpiece.
    “The Guardian’s direct collusion with media censorship by secret services exposed”
    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/22/guar-j22.html

  • Malcolm Segall says:

    As a Jew and a Corbyn-supporting member of the Labour Party, I wholeheartedly agree with the above two letters.

  • Simon Lynn says:

    The comment here from ‘Liberty’, in language and content, significantly undermines the perspectives expressed in the letter.

  • Len Harries says:

    I agree with every word of that wonderful letter. The increasing sense of cognitive dissonance that I have been feeling each time I read the Guardian has been worrying me. Now I know why.

  • Liberty says:

    Simon, how exactly does MY own personal views, as you have your OWN opinion, undermine the letters of others to the Guardian? I only speak for myself as you are doing. We are already being torn apart by those who wish to harm us, our communities and our protectors. We don’t need anymore infighting or division so please let’s have unity.

  • S H says:

    Thank you to JVL and all our comrades on here who are magnificently helping to keep our spirits high and fighting back against our enemies from within the party, NO CONFIDENCE IN WALLY WATSON THE WITCH HUNTER GENERAL and the disgusting murky media who twist everything and are bloody awful too. Keep strong comrades we will overcome this and have all our good friends reinstated.

  • Lily says:

    The letters and support for Jeremy Corbyn and the real Labour Party is amazingly brilliant. So incredibly happy to be on the side of these truly inspiring people and contributors. The guardian has let us badly down and they need to answer some very serious questions about their conduct. ‘This is one example ‘On 27th September 2017 the Guardian published an article by Jonathan Freedland called Labour’s denial of antisemitism in its ranks leaves the party in a dark place. Ken Loach wrote a response for Comment is Free beginning “The taint of antisemitism is toxic. Yet, with hints and innuendos, your columnist, Jonathan Freedland, tries to link me, Len McCluskey and Ken Livingstone to Labour’s ‘dark place’, for which it seems we are in part responsible. This is cynical journalism.”
    The Guardian has refused to carry Loach’s article’. The guardian is nothing more than a vehicle for the pro ethical cleaning of Palestinians and the openly zionist Freedland who is using undue influence on its editorial policy to target Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. When the far right is growing and committing atrocities against us all from ethnic minority backgrounds, from the New Zealand massacres, the Pittsburgh attacks to today the white supremacist mass killings of Hispanics in Texas we are in very dangerous times and need to protect vigorously Jeremy Corbyn as he has protected us for years.

  • Stanley Knafler says:

    As Jewish, non -religious, labour member, my feeling, at my local branch, was that Corbyn’s close relationship with Hamas and the Palestinian people has emphasised their present plight without a thorough assessment of the historical/political situation. This bias against Israel is then translated into anti-semitic comment which, when confronted, has led to indignant denials. The impending motion to Conference regarding the plight of the Palestinians and demand for a trade embargo against Israel, when seen against Labour’s indifference to the many hundreds/thousands of Muslims slaughtered by their own Leaders in the Middle East with the aid of the Russians, has certainly confirmed this bias to me. We will have to see if the present official investigation into anti-semitism in the Labour party will give us a clearer picture.

  • Sheena says:

    The warning signs about the lack of standards and gross bias in the guardian were evident years ago when they purged anyone that stood up to Freedland, and was critical of the actions of the horrific Isreali regime and dared to support Jeremy Corbyn.

  • Stewart Eames says:

    The Guardian editorship has lifted not a finger to put any of their investigative journalists onto the origins or financing of anti-Labour/Corbyn smears.

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    I have read the Guardian for decades and I never regarded it as a left wing paper. It seemed to me to be a very decent liberal journal which carried a wide range of opinions and stood up for liberty, equality, fraternity – and free speech and wide ranging debate. What appals me now is how it has abandoned those principles. Though its Jerusalem correspondents continue to be pretty good (though reporting from there is sparse), its handling of the Labour/antisemitism story in Britain has been quite frighteningly poor journalism. Not just biased and partial, but lacking in basic evidence gathering and fact checking. Plus, nearly all its commentators write by the book, taking Labour antisemitism as a given, and going downhill from there. Added to which, in spite of its vaunted Readers Editor system for considering complaints, its Comment is Free space, and its letters page, it has increasingly narrowed the opportunities for readers to express their disagreement. This is almost worse than a left paper gone right.

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