An Examination of the Sunday Times assault on the Labour Party’s alleged antisemitism in its 1st April edition

 

Glyn Secker
3 April 2018

 


1. The front page refers to “2000 racist, antisemitic, misogynistic, and violent abusive message”.

Assuming that racist abuse is abuse directed at black or Asian people, otherwise it would be classified as antisemitic if directed at Jews, and assuming a roughly even distribution of the categories of abuse, we come down to roughly 500 antisemitic comments. So 0.12 % becomes 0.03%

2. Nowhere in the articles is there a definition of antisemitism by which the comments are judged. It is very likely that the full IHRA definition is being employed, with its conflation of criticism of Israel and antisemitism.

3. In two full pages and a two thirds front page (the Sunday Times is still full folio size) the actual number of examples given is about 12 (depends on the grammar how they are counted).

4. If their research was serious they would at least have published a table showing a summary breakdown of the 2000 abusive comments in each of the four categories and given sub-categories for the antisemitic ones.

5. There is no attempt to identify the number of abusers in each fb (Facebook) group – even by the given (presumably anonymous) names of the posters. This may indicate that there is a tiny group of abusers in each fb group.

6. The articles across the three pages repeat the same, main examples.

7. There are no statistics at all, re. the fb groups, there is no attempt to give even a rough idea of the numbers of antisemitic posts found in each group.

8. In the main article on p.6 they refer to 44 comments on the biggest fb group (We Support Corbyn), 14 of which were abusive or antisemitic. They are pretty nasty, but (a) 14 is a tiny number and (b) these could be by just one or two individuals, they don’t give the names on the posts.

9. There is no certainty that any of the authors are LP members.

10. There is evidence that the fb groups were researched is some detail – in the main article on p.6, Vitriol and the threat of violence: the ugly face of Corbyn’s cabal, they state “the biggest group is comprised mostly of older white men”, and “an analysis of a sample of the two biggest groups shows that 60% are over 60yrs and only 13% aged between 18-24.” “That members of the two groups were more likely than the general population to be paranoid and agree with statements condoning violence against female politicians; half of them definitely believe the world is controlled by a secretive elite.” This is highly unlikely to be typical of LP members, rather, it resembles far right groups, which we know from police stats to be responsible for most of the online antisemitic abuse. This suggests that people from this end of the political spectrum may have been attracted to the Labour Party fb groups because they give the opportunity for antisemitic attacks on the BoD, JLC, Israel etc.

11. As this level of research has been done on the groups it is surprising there was no accurate account of the figures of the antisemitic posts they refer to, even if only by sampling. This would suggest that the evidence is not there or does not stack up.

The LP may have a case in court!

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See also Wendy Patterson The truth about Corbyn supporters’ Facebook groups