BBC Panorama’s “Is Labour Antisemitic?”

With the transmission on Wednesday evening of the Panorama programme Is Labour Antisemitic? the BBC has reached a new low point in its retreat from its once praised tradition of impartiality.

The BBC has entrusted a programme of great sensitivity to a muck-raking journalist whose prejudices are well known. The result quite predictably is a farrago of half-truths, distortions and outright invention.

The principal ‘witnesses’ offered by the programme were Labour Party ex-officials, appointed under Blair and deeply hostile to the members’ choice for Leader, Jeremy Corbyn. During the first years of Corbyn’s leadership it was officials working for the then General Secretary Iain McNicol who sabotaged the disciplinary process – not to protect antisemites, but so that Corbyn could be blamed for it. As described by Jewish NEC member Jon Lansman, on resigning they stole and then deleted whole tranches of correspondence – so that once again the Party could be blamed for not processing allegations effectively.

As the Labour Party has said: “These disaffected former officials include those who have always opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, worked to actively undermine it, and have both personal and political axes to grind.”

There has been an outcry against the leakers of privileged correspondence from our ambassador in the United States. Yet this Panorama programme invites us to accept and praise the behaviour of staff who have abused their trust. The BBC has abandoned its professional standards. 

Is Labour Antisemitic? was notable for its selective choice of additional witnesses. A small number of (unnamed) Jewish Labour party members made personal statements to camera of their discomfort at their sense of being in a hostile environment. But hundreds of statements from Jewish members entirely comfortable within the Party have been submitted to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission inquiry into the Party’s procedures. They are not difficult to find – yet none were interviewed. A whole constituency party, Liverpool Riverside, was grotesquely maligned as antisemitic and bullying, but not one member of the CLP, Jewish or otherwise, was invited to respond. 

The programme was unforgivably careless with its facts. Both Jackie Walker and Ken Livingstone were fingered as expelled for antisemitism. Livingstone wasn’t expelled, he resigned. And no charge of antisemitism was made against either of them, as it could not be sustained. The charge was ‘bringing the party into disrepute’, a conveniently flexible concept. Jackie Walker is Jewish. This was not mentioned. The only supposed ‘crime’ of hers referred to – pointing out the Jewish role in the slave trade – was falsely represented without noting that she had been acquitted of the charge.

The BBC is not alone in its uncritical coverage of the campaign of allegations that the Labour Party is antisemitic – it applies to the whole UK mainstream media. An expert survey by researchers from the Media Reform Coalition showed, however, that the BBC and Guardian out-did all their competitors in bias.

There is indeed a story here worthy of penetrating journalistic analysis. The public would be well served by a programme exploring how so great a moral panic came to be generated on so slender an evidence base. But that would require committed investigative journalism, and a willingness to uncover truths deeply unflattering to powerful people and organisations. The Panorama team would have benefited from watching WitchHunt, a documentary on the subject recommended by top filmmakers Ken Loach and Mike Leigh (who is Jewish).

Any allegation of antisemitism must be taken seriously – and proven cases must be dealt with appropriately. However what is obvious to many in the Labour Party, but not seemingly to Panorama or reporter John Ware, is that many of the alleged instances of antisemitism are not what they seem.  

Many are quite evidently statements that members have made about the Israeli state or Zionism, twisted athletically to assert that their criticism is directed at and insulting to Jews. Many are the result of bulk allegations generated on an industrial scale by just a few organisations, prominent among them the Campaign Against Antisemitism, and Labour Against Antisemitism, set up explicitly to undermine the Corbyn leadership and to protect Israel. The new General Secretary Jennie Formby has expanded the numbers of staff and NCC members struggling to catch up with the backlog of accusations that these operations have generated. Panorama mentioned none of this.

This programme has presented a grossly simplified and utterly distorted picture of Labour’s travails with allegations of antisemitism. It is shameful that the BBC has joined in an orchestrated campaign whose principal aim is quite clearly to prevent Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister of a Labour government committed to socialism. 

[revised with minor corrections on 13 July]

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Comments (85)

  • Sally Watling says:

    This was very much the view of the programme in our household. You won’t see the BBC publishing this review! It must be widely circulated

  • Wayne Croxford says:

    As a non-Jewish member of the Jewish Labour Movement I received this email immediately after the Panorama program. You will see my response first but scroll down to their email.

    Hi Mike

    Thank you for your email.
    The last time I attended a Labour Party meeting a middle aged lady said that antisemitism in the Labour Party was being exaggerated for political reasons, although she admitted that there was some (antisemitism). It was, apparently, all part of an establishment plot to remove the leader of the Labour Party.
    Most people shouted her down although a few did agree with her.
    It was quite upsetting.
    Is this the sort of thing you mean? I’m sure that I can obtain the names of the lady, along with the people who supported her, if necessary although I don’t want to over react.

    All the best to you in your fight for justice.

    Kind regards

    Wayne

    From: Mike Katz – Jewish Labour Movement
    Sent: 10 July 2019 22:01
    To: Wayne Croxford
    Subject: Panorama: racism laid bare

    Dear Wayne,
    Our response to Panorama…
    After seeing tonight’s programme, no one can doubt that Labour is institutionally racist against Jews. Revelations this evening are a vindication of our decision to refer the Labour Party to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, who are now investigating the Party for institutional racism.
    Panorama has laid bare the corruption and political interference in Labour’s process, and the toxic culture which allows Jew-haters to prosper in the Party.
    We salute Sam Matthews, Lord McNicol and the other whistle-blowers who have defied legal threats and come forward to exposed Labour’s racism. They should be applauded – and we demand the Party desist from any legal action against them.
    Having uncovered clear wrongdoing throughout the Party – from people working directly for Jeremy Corbyn to local party officers, it is clear that those responsible need to be held accountable for their actions.
    We must see action – sackings, suspensions and CLPs put in special measures.

    Mike Katz
    National Chair
    Jewish Labour Movement

  • Martyn Wood-Bevan says:

    Excellent response from the most authentic Jewish voice in the Labour Party who is honest, detailed and fair-minded. It is so blindingly obvious that right-wing Neoliberals in the Labour Party have had their noses put out of joint by the Popularity of the new Socialist Leader & a very popular 2017 Manifesto, which trounced anything that Tory-Lite “Centrism” could achieve. Destructive envy is malignant!

  • Gary says:

    Excellent.

  • Mark Francis says:

    This is all allegations of “meta-anti-Semitism”. It all seems to be technical gripes about procedures. Nobody shouted racial abuse at any of these people, except Seumas Milne once “laughed” at Michael Creighton.
    Why do (or did) the Labour Party employ such social inadequates ?

  • Hilary Barker says:

    Thank you, thankyou as an organisation willing and able to stand up against these orchestrated smears!

  • Paula McCourt says:

    Excellent post that clearly sets out the failings, distortions and misinformation peddled as truth in this latest media attack on a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour Party. I see this latest piece as yet another attempt to undermine the Labour leadership. I have complete confidence in the efforts being made to deal with all forms of racism in the Labour Party and I will continue to stand alongside Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues in the fight for greater equality, fairness and justice for all. JC4PM 🌹🌹🌹

  • Nira Yuval-Davis says:

    I fully agree. Indeed, what was pointed in the program as something illegitimate – the need to differentiate between a political critique and antisemitism is indeed the crucial task of accusations of antisemitism. But this applies not just to a critique of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians but also against the continued existence of Israel as a Zionist state, an ethnocracy which inherently discriminated against all non-Jews, especially Palestinians, just as it was legitimate – and important – to criticise the continued existence of apartheid South Africa. It is not just a question of an historical analysis of the Zionist movement as a settler colonial state but about on going political, social and economic reality. Other colonial settler stayed – from South Africa to New Zealand have been trying to encounter their historical roots.
    That said, there is no doubt that s certain tradition of the Left which has tended to construct ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ and not just defended the rights of the victims of imperialism but also saw them uncritically as political allies, had been very problematic and Corbyn had been part of this although, given ISIS and other extreme right fundamentalist movements in all religions in the global South as well as the global North have made the differentiation between the two more visible.
    The struggle against antisemitism and other forms of racism needs to continue as well as a global as well as local struggle for social justice. And in the meantime we need to find a way to counter the damage and what amounts to criminalisation of the Labour Party under Corbyn that the attacks of the Right using the lever of ‘antisemitism’ is causing not just to Lsbour but to many many Jews.
    The use of the accusations of antisemitism in this way only helps to ‘normalise’ it. We should not let this happen.

  • Eddie Welch says:

    At last – an honest, reflective, and grown up voice to counteract the hysteria being whipped up by the Corbyn-hating Establishment. Thank you JVL.

  • I would love to see the above statement from JVL featured on the MSM as a balance to the narrative currently discussed.. a big thank you for trying to address the injustice of these allegations

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    Terrific statement – couldn’t be bettered! I have chosen to use the BBC complaints procedure to ask specific questions about the lack of an evidence base. This is what I have written:

    I have five specific questions and would like specific answers:

    Research evidence showing that antisemitism is far more widespread on the right than the left (with the Labour Party on ‘the left’) was not used e.g. from the Community Security Trust, Institute for Jewish Policy Research, YouGov, Home Affairs Select Committee. The programme relied entirely on individual ‘stories’ and allegations. I realise television requires ‘colour’, but to demonstrate WIDESPREAD SYSTEMIC ABUSE as Panorama alleged, stories have limited evidential value without a research base. Why was relevant research not used?

    There is evidence in the public domain as to how allegations of antisemitism are being dealt with. Jenny Formby, General Secretary, has issued numbers of complaints received, how they have been progressed, how substantiated. E.g, she has shown the majority of Margaret Hodge’s hundreds of allegations relate to non LP members. Formby, was expressly criticised in the programme: why was no reference made to information she has produced germane to allegations of systemic discrimination?

    Several interviewees were unnamed, and minimal indication was given of their background. I can only comment on one that I recognised, Ella Rose, formerly employed by the Israeli Embassy. Since antisemitism allegations are closely intertwined with views on Israel/Palestine, surely Ella Rose’s history is relevant. Why was essential contextual information not given re this interviewee and the others?

    Professional researchers, social scientists, lawyers etc, many Jewish, have produced research evidence on LP antisemitism and on a key part of the LP antisemitism battleground – the IHRA antisemitism document.. Why was the only academic to appear a known critic of Labour, Dave Rich.

    Why did the programme not acknowledge those Jewish LP members who reject the allegations of widespread and systemic antisemitism? They are easy to find – why for example, no interviewee from the Jewish Voice for Labour?

  • JT Johnson/member No. L1718854 says:

    Every fibre of my body knew/knows that the complaints are orchestrated. I’ve yet to see any complainant properly define AS as a deliberate discriminatory act or language against Jewish people. Worst of all the more ‘liberal’ papers have been in the forefront littering their articles with iterative unsupported use of the word AS against ‘Corbyn’s’ Labour. Always ‘Corbyn’s Labour’. Every internal critic wastes no time in referring to JS on any issue.

  • Katrina Finn says:

    Good analysis JVL

  • Dulcie Ogilvie says:

    Thank you for this statement. A sensible and considered response.

  • Thank you JVL for this comment, which puts last night s Panorama
    travesty, much simpler and better, than I am attempting to do online!
    I have emailed the BBC and Panorama and see that, many members have done the same. I hope, with your help and other Jewish groups, like Manchester Jews for Palestine, who are willing, to step forward and expose the lies, can reach the Public and support Jeremy Corbyn, during this shameful crisis.

  • Vincent Felton says:

    Excellent summary of what was obviously going to be a distorted and utterly biased attack on the Labour party from a forme Sun reporter using the Jewish religion as a weapon. It not only totally dishonoured journalism but also the Jewish religion too.

  • Fran Heron says:

    I can’t thank JVL enough for this response to the disgustingly unprofessional and clearly biased Panorama programme. You are a welcome voice of sanity and clarity so missing in the fog of anti-semitism noise.
    I am not Jewish but have recently joined as an affiliate member to support your efforts to seek justice and clarity.

  • Barbara Gwinnett says:

    Thank you for putting out this statement. BBC panorama long ago lost my respect as a purportedly investigative documentary series, but last night’s programme plunged to new depths of bias. The use of unsubstantiated claims, the use of partial information and the seemingly deliberate attempt to answer its own question with ‘yes’ was truly appalling.

  • Janet Elizabeth Stains says:

    Thank you so much JVL. I agree with all the previous comments . I also am
    not Jewish, but have joined to support your excellent work Please, what can
    we do, to quote Nira, above “to find a
    way to counter the damage ……. and criminalisation of the L/P under Corbyn.” Thanks also for providing the open letter from Momentum to the BBC -any response yet?

  • David Lightfoot says:

    I await the broadcast of a ‘report’ by Panorama entitled
    “is the BBC anti-Democratic?”

  • Jakki Oldfield says:

    Thank you. It is rare to find anything in support of Labour nowadays or that speaks the truth about the anti-semitism furore being whipped up by the media and stoked by those who know the truth but ignore it for their own ends.

  • John Anderson macdonald says:

    Enough is enough. It’s time you took legal action against this and BBC you only taking tory run organisation to court and red tories. BBC not a impartial broadcasting company this is targeting Labour hardly hear them talking abt the islamaphobics in tory party but seem to raise antisemitism shite poison being spread abt the current Labour Party to deflect from more fuk ups they create or has been brought to light. I’m glad I don’t pay a TV licence to these bastards I get my information from online. Biased British Conservative broadcasting company gets fuk all from me jc4pm.

  • Thomas Ratcliffe says:

    I watched every minute of this sorry excuse for an unbiased report, not only was not one shred of evidence produced but in a court the statements made would all have been hearsay because it was he said, she said, they said and we heard from someone, absolutely no evidence provided. This brought the BBC to an all time low in it’s bias against Jeremy Corbyn.

  • Sheena says:

    By disgustingly choosing to air this blatantly one sided sickening tory propaganda panorama, with a muslim hating gutter journo who has been discredited many times before for his inaccuracies and has a terrible history of coming after Jeremy ever since he was elected as Labour party leader, they didn’t even bloody mention that our great friend Jackie Walker is JEWISH before they spread the horrible smears again, using partial bits of emails which were about speeding up the process also after help was asked for they claimed this showed ‘interfrence’. What a load of codswollop. The bbc has lost what little reputation it had left and is now seen as the equivalent of the laughable trump mouthpiece fox ‘news’. Boycott the stupid state sponsored sniveling snakes.

  • Kenneth L Cohen says:

    [JVL web says: We’re posting this silly message as an example of the kind of rubbish we often get and trash. It contains no attempt at providing evidence or argument simply childish assertion. And what it asserts is incoherent or simply wrong. It is hard to know why the author has bothered but perhaps it makes him feel better…]

    Important to note that the so called “Jewish Voice for Labour” is a thrown-together group of Corbyn shills, who don’t address issues of Jewish concern – their *sole* purpose is to be a figleaf to cover charges of antisemitism and to counter the venerable Jewish Labour Movement.

  • Eric Goodyer says:

    As a Jewish member of the Labour Party for 42 years I have no hesitation is stating that I have never experienced any form of anti-semitism, either personally or institutionally. I have however experienced some very unpleasant attacks from other Jews for expressing my opposition to Zionism – which I believe is the underlying issue. I might add I joined JVL because it is representative of my views, and I am not a Corbyn supporter.

  • Danny says:

    As a Jewish socialist I won’t touch JVL with a bargepole [reasons given have been edited out – web editor]

    But I think the documentary stank. It was appalling; it was not a documentary at all. It was disgraceful that the only rank and file Labour members who were invited were those who wanted to attest to the alleged very widespread anti-Semitism when there was the whole membership of JVL and many other people like me who take a different view. I think many of those taking part had an ulterior motive: whilst I disagree with JVL’s closing words that a Corbyn government would be committed to socialism (if only!), the right wingers are nonetheless scared that Corbyn would do too much for the “lower orders” of British society. (They needn’t worry since he’s this week entirely sacrificed his prospects of becoming Prime Minister by capitulating on the second referendum and remain, thereby throwing away Labour’s chances in 80% of the target seats.)

    The failure to include an array of rank-and-file Jewish Labour voices completely undermined the credibility of the programme.

  • different frank says:

    So here are the witnesses they produced:
    1. Ella Rose violent ex-Employee of the israeli Embassy
    2. Alex Richardson assistant to Joan “Million Pounds” Ryan
    3. Alan Johnson BICOM israeli lobbyist
    If there is so much evidence why use these three loathsome individuals as evidence, the only answer is they couldn’t find anyone else looooool
    These are only the three caught so far there are more to follow throughout the day

  • David Ruffell says:

    I hope you will write a formal complaint to the BBC.

  • Lee says:

    I whole heartedly concur with everything said here. The unrelenting daily smears from the BBC – especially by the unsubtle presenters on Newsnight – make a mockery of their mandate of impartiality.
    Is there no way they can be sued for so obviously breaching it? I object to being made to pay for this biased compromised (news) arm of the corporation in my annual license fee, which I pay for their other stations – and suggest it be hived off as an add-on for those wanting solely to confirm their mainstream, political biases supporting as they do the status quo!

  • Colin Rese says:

    OK
    Let’s examine what “anti-semitism” really is.
    (without going into a linguistic/anthropological definition but accepting the current usage).
    There seem to be three major types.
    1) The classic type as practised by the Nazis during the 30s and 40s – also in other societies – which is an “irrational hatred of Jewish people and a wish to exterminate them from society”
    2) Any criticism of The State of Israel (a secular nation state) – a position which is somewhat absurd given that Jewish people across the world are hardly responsible for the actions of a nation state – even if it is nominally “Jewish”
    3) The (again somewhat absurd) claims from certain people that “the Jews run the banks and control international finance”
    The first type is simply a form of racism and as such is no different from any other hate crime if and when expressed and acted upon. As someone who was born Jewish and had a Jewish father, I would have been subject to that in Nazi Germany (as were many members of my extended family) and exterminated.
    Concerning the second type, it is an amalgam of Judaism as such and The State of Israel; and is used by many people as a way of stifling any criticism of the actions of The State of Israel (the current PM of Israel being among the worst culprits).
    The use of the expression in this case is detrimental to the position of Jews outside of (and even citizens of) the country as it creates a toxic environment among any right thinking people who observe Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and by default tarnishes the image of “Jews” across the world.
    The third type (often held by people of left wing views) is, for the most part, ridiculous.
    It is backed up by conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds owning central banks (!!!) and starting all the wars in Europe etc.etc. But even they are not really “anti-semitic” in that they do not wish to exterminate people like me.
    Those who claim that “anti-semitism is rife in the Labour Party” are being highly disingenuous; because they are implying that it is the first type when clearly it is the second and/or third types.
    The first type is abroad in the world and needs to be addressed and fought.
    Confusing the first type with the other two diminshes the capacity to fight the first type.

  • Myrna Reynolds says:

    Having read this and listened to Panorama programs I am astounded at the BBC not fact checking what is supposed to be a factual program before airing it. Sadly I am now of the opinion that no Panorama program can be trusted.

  • Jo Hammond says:

    Thank goodness for the truth in this article, was apalled as I watched this prorganme, couldn’t believe the obvious attack on Corbyn but not surprised after all other attempts by L Berger and M Hodge and Triesman etc have failed. If only the general public had access to this.

  • pat massie says:

    I’m not Anti- Semitic, in fact, I’ve had no contact with anyone who is. I had no understanding of what it was because I hadn’t knowingly come into contact with it until this rampage of complaints set up against The Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn. What I do understand is that Netanyahu made it a crime recently for anyone to criticize Israel. It has been very easy for anyone who criticises Israel of deaths and beatings of Palestinian children, a reporter and unarmed civilians. So anyone who expresses shock at that behaviour seen in videos and press photos of such things happening are now called Anti-Semitic. The last time I looked I lived in the United Kingdom and we are able to criticise shocking behaviour by any country including our own. So excuse me if I continue to be shocked at such behaviour anywhere and expresses as such.

  • Fiona Sanders says:

    Absolutely agree. What a disgrace the BBC has become. Seriously thinking of cancelling my TV licence!

  • Liz Segal says:

    Thank you, JVL, well said.

  • Claudia Hector says:

    Panorama did a hatchet job on a school I worked in many years go. It was a good school but after the programme aired people stopped choosing to send their children there and although there was an eventual court case that Panorama lost decisively the school had to close.

  • Fran Halloran says:

    Whilst never a very active Labour Party member, I joined in 1979 and regularly attended meetings in London since the 1980s and 90s, have turned out to help at many elections in London and on the south coast, and I have never heard a word of antisemitism from anyone in the Labour Party. Have to admit that I avoid social media, which I think we know tends to attract people with problems, and where a person’s real identity can be easily hidden. But still, can only say, that while I have come across antisemitism elsewhere – and this includes in the workplace where a very senior former BBC recruiter, then acting as Chair of a charity, rejected a job application specifically because the applicant was Jewish – I have simply never heard it from anyone in the Labour Party.

  • rebekah hirsch says:

    Thank God for JVL. Our world is turned upsidedown – the right wing, (where anti-semitism is demonstrably much more prevalent than in any left-wig organisation) are going unchallenged in an all-out attack on Labour under Corbyn. We are not suprised to find this kind of gutter journalism in many newspapers and TV channels but is appalling that the BBC has jumped on this bandwagon, replacing investigative journalism with propaganda.

  • Jack says:

    The trouble Labour, led by Mr Corbyn, has got itself into is down to the conflation of Jewish identity with the politics & actions of the state of Israel. Until Labour members are able to keep these separate (& clearly they have not managed that very well to date) I would recommend silence on the latter altogether, and a sustained commitment to welcoming all on the democratic Left regardless of cultural or ethnic background. I believe that will require a change of leadership.

  • Brian Leahy says:

    I prefer to listen to what the Jewish Labour Movement said: “The testimonies of whistle blowers confirm what we have suspected for some time. The culture and scale of antisemitism within the party has been perpetuated and exacerbated by those at the very top. Those responsible must be held accountable.”

  • Bernard Grant says:

    They, those that pretend to be Socialist and belong to the Labour Party are actually frantic to stop a Labour Socialist Government, led by a true and solid Socialist in Jeremy Corbyn.
    They have watched the MSM and the BBC, trying every attack on JC, (I won’t bore you with their accusations, you know already) they haven’t even dented the growing enthusiasm across the Country in support for him. This is their last and ultimate weapon ‘Antisemitism’. We have Prominent Labour supporters suspended, even Jewish members and Jewish MPs, they have all used the AS card and because they are supported by the MSM and the BBC, they are sure that it’s working. Thank God for the JVL, for me reading your post has made me feel so much more confident that we can beat it.
    Thank you 🌹❤️🌹

  • Sally Thallon says:

    Thank you for injecting sanity and clarity into this BBC mess. I was shocked by the programme.

  • Rev. Liz Gifford says:

    I watched the programme which was propaganda not objective journalism. I have met Jeremy, like what he says and believe that his track record of behaviour supports the fact that he is clearly not antisemitic in the sense of bias against Jews.

  • M. Steven says:

    A good rebuttal, thanks. I would just like to pick up on part of Naomi Wayne’s excellent reply:

    “Several interviewees were unnamed, and minimal indication was given of their background. I can only comment on one that I recognised, Ella Rose, formerly employed by the Israeli Embassy. Since antisemitism allegations are closely intertwined with views on Israel/Palestine, surely Ella Rose’s history is relevant. Why was essential contextual information not given re this interviewee and the others?”

    I too found it noteworthy that many of the worst allegations of anti-Semitism came from unnamed people. Rose is very significant.

    http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/jewish-labour-movement-worked-israeli-embassy-spy

    As is the man who came immediately after her, Alan Richardson, parliamentary assistant at the time of the 2017 Al Jazeera exposé to Joan Ryan, chairperson of Labour Friends of Israel. Here he is trumping up the ‘anti-Semisitm’ case against poor Jean Fitzpatrick:

    http://youtu.be/L3dn-VV3czc?t=463

    Richardson: ‘I think if it makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s the point which you call it out and report it,’

    If that’s how people like Richardson define anti-Semitism, then no wonder there have been so many complaints and I pity the poor folk who have to wade through them all!

  • Catherine Hutchinson says:

    Thank you for such a level-headed and well-informed response to John Ware’s latest hatchet job. I was membership secretary for our CLP in 2016/17 during the time of Ian McNicoll and can only say I wondered what kind of party I had joined. We were asked to inspect the social media accounts of new members and supporters in an intrusive and, as the leadership ballot approached, frankly McCarthyite way. The criteria were clearly about purging the party of Corbyn supporters and nothing to do with antisemitism in those days. None-the-less the one person we did exclude (because she had recently stood as a local candidate for another party) accused us of – guess what: antisemitism.

  • David Stretton says:

    Well done the Labout Party office…biting back at last…

  • Keith CLIFF says:

    And so the tentacles of the Israeli embassy spread most likely with the encouragement, if not instigation, of Netanyahu.

    I think there is a good case for investigation into the interference of the Israeli embassy into political parties, ie the Labour Party, of the UK.

    Feel free to use my name.

  • Emma Tait says:

    Well put.

  • Dave Lawrence says:

    Well done JVL for speaking out so well on the disgusting slander that the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn in particular are antisemitic. Time for an investigation into dirty tricks operations against the Labour Party by those who do not want a friend of Palestine as PM . Organisations like JLM need to take a long hard look at themselves and decide where their priorities and loyalties lie.

  • William Beeby says:

    Very good article and all true .

  • Gary O’Dea says:

    Brilliant response and thank you for stepping up and standing up for the truth.

  • Katy Coxall says:

    Should right wing thugs rise up and attack any minority group, it will be the Labour Party and its supporters on the streets protecting them. Should the people behind these malicious allegations, of antisemitism, prevent a Socialist government, we’ll keep on fighting for what is just but be overwhelmed by the additional suffering the liars and schemers have caused. #JC4PM #VoteLabour

  • Liberty says:

    JVL please keep speaking truth to power, the corrupted British media has broken every broadcasting, impartiality and accuracy rule in order to destroy our Labour, Trade Union and Peace movement, hold those that wish to harm our party to account. All the institutions of the establishment are being used against us all and we have no one left to turn to.

  • TP says:

    Read the following from a news article today to know what the real racists in power are doing while their appeasers chase after Jeremy Corbyn, Jenny Formby, Jackie Walker and Chris Williamson;

    “Another day, another terrible Donald Trump retweet. This time, however, the president of the United States has decided to re-tweet right-wing pundit Katie Hopkins, and people are outraged.
    In a tweet shared on Wednesday night, the controversial commentator listed the names of four European politicians, all of whom have a track record of discriminatory and populist views.
    In the tweet, which Trump shared on Thursday, she wrote:

    God-willing / jihadi-failing I am going to be alive to see Trump in the White House Boris in Number 10 Netanyahu building Israel Bolsanaro, Salvini, Orban, Kaczyński, & the Right Minded bringing strength in depth What a time to be alive The fightback by proud nations is on

    Of the four European leaders that Hopkins mentioned, Bolsanaro, a populist leader of Brazil, is a vocal opponent to same-sex marriage, abortion, and immigration, reports the Huffington Post.
    Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister of Italy, called for the expulsion of Roma people from the country; Viktor Orban, the authoritarian prime minister of Hungary, has restricted free speech and suggested that white Europeans are being replaced by migrants from Africa and the Middle East; and Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is a polish minister, ha called LGBT people a ‘threat’ to Poland”

    Where is the bloody outrage from the media? The disgraceful bbc won’t be doing a panorama on this sick lot will they.

  • Kim Miles says:

    A bit of sanity in a world gone mad. Thank you JVL. My 16 year old was yelling at the tv. And then on r4 this morning they read out the whole Milne email – which radically changed its meaning, and a contributor to the tv prog talked – unchallenged – about anti semitic Jews… This is all about attacking Corbyn, a principled anti racist who has fought anti semitism, racism and islamaphobia for years. Equating anti semitism and anti zionism is letting the voices of the far right into the mainstream and is dangerous.

  • Mike Scott says:

    Let’s insist on a right of reply, broadcast in the same slot – I’d be very happy to take part!

  • S H says:

    I saw this thread on George G’s excellent Twitter feed about the panorama hatchet job;
    ‘then why did it censor the Chomsky letter?
    – ‘the letter contained signatures of a 100 or so Jews, who are the wrong kind of Jew (also known as self-loathing Jews). In other words, they don’t really count. Another reason is that they are supporters of Corbyn, who (as Jeremy Hunt warned last week) could be our next Hitler’ (*irony)

    Media Lens
    @medialens
    The Panorama farce dismantled:
    ‘Ware and the BBC made a highly politicised decision to choose to focus exclusively on Labour and antisemitism, while ignoring the well-documented racism of the Conservative Party. That choice matches Ware’s own skewed political priorities.’

  • Disgusting I’ve cancelled my license it’s out of order you can’t watch ITSO Predudist of labour fake news even Question Night all one sided Very depressing

  • John Palfreyman says:

    Somehow the voice JVL has to be got into the msn
    It is shameful that other Jewish voices are bring heard.
    Does OFCOM have any influence on the outrageous bias at the BBC?

  • Rob McIndoe says:

    Disgusting documentary.
    Thank you JVL for your voice of sanity in this McCarthy witch hunt.

  • Kevin Harrison says:

    If Jeremy Corbyn resigned tomorrow accusations of anti- semitism would disappear like magic .
    It’s a smear they hang onto for grim death.

  • Elaine Bruce says:

    Utterly disgusted by how low the bbc have dropped. They are continuing to play the anti semite card. Well thats a joke considering the indigenous Palistinians ARE SEMITES. Bbc should be ashamed of itself. Another station bought for 30 pieces of silver. I genuinely hope JC sues the lying slandering bully boy cult ( bbc)

  • Tracey Allen says:

    The BBC is now run by ex Murdoch employees. Whilst the left were standing against anti semitism and racists in the streets. The far right were working behind the scenes getting their right wing candidates in place.
    I fear that those falling for the Labour is anti semite and those pushing it are going to rue it, when the far right have leaders in America, Italy, Britain and other countries.
    Lest we forget.
    Seems we have very short memories.

  • John says:

    The question Panorama should be asking is “Is the BBC Anti-Labour?”
    It is interesting to note that Jeremy Newmark’s former boss at the so-called Jewish Leadership Council – Sir Mike Davies – now holds the joint posts of Chief Executive and Treasurer of the Conservative Party.
    What is going on here is an undeclared war against the Labour Party with the Israel government in cahoots with the Conservative Party.
    May was not slow to throw around false accusations of antisemitism at her PMQs on Wednesday, slipping it into her last comments – which the Leader of the Opposition has no possibility of responding to.
    Hunt too brought the subject up during his leadership bid in a truly scandalous fashion.
    These vile Tories and their partners in crime – the Israel regime – will stop at nothing to keep Corbyn out of 10 Downing Street.
    It is high time the Labour Party leadership disaffiliated both the Jewish Labour Movement and Labour Friends of Israel.
    They should also get rid of Watson and others of his ilk for disloyalty to the Labour Party.

  • Agnes Kory says:

    The BBC is meant to uphold the principles of balanced journalism. This Panorama programme did not even pretend any balance: not one voice opposing the accusations was presented.
    In case the BBC reads this message: I am a Jewish Holocaust child survivor, voluntary Holocaust researcher and Labour Party member. I have never come across antisemitism in the Labour Party.

  • John Bowley says:

    I wholly agree with the JVL statement. Thank you, JVL, for your good work.

    I sadly suspect that ‘Labour antisemitism’ is seen to be fashionable amongst the media and the shallow-minded. They will keep it up regardless of the facts. Of course, ‘Labour antisemitism’ is a tool of the old right-wing minority within the Labour Party and the Israel lobby which is out to suppress support for the oppressed Palestinians.

  • John Davies says:

    Many are quite evidently statements that members have made about the Israeli state or Zionism,

    That says it all

  • John Spencer says:

    “Twisted athletically” is absolutely right. The names “Shai Masot” and “Gilad Erdan” were not mentioned on Panorama.

  • Pauline Anne says:

    And thenhe bbc then repeated their allegations in their following newscasts as if the àllegations were somehow independent news items.

  • patsy hickman says:

    The Point is – the point – is –
    that Corbyn has not dealt with this situation clearly or in a fashion befitting the noble aspirations of everything Labour Stands for. The Antisemitic question has become a test of his leadership. And many, many people who hoped he promised much are disappointed.

  • Susan Reilly says:

    Thank you JVL for your very measured response to the programme. I was totally disgusted by the bias displayed & will be complaining to the BBC-just wanted to do a bit more research myself into who the participants were. So sad that the BBC can no longer be trusted to deliver impartial news & has become a voice for the Tories.

  • Kay says:

    Freedom of speech is flushed down the toilet with this programme. Zionism may be an inspiration of the Jewish people but the zionist agenda was always to murder non-jews in West Asia and steal their property. Now if we are not able to criticise Israel coz this zionist calim they are above any criticism or if we are not allowed to side with the most oppressed people in the world today, the Palestinians… that is a most severe attack on the freedom of speech.

  • Joanna Spikes says:

    what a very good, sensible article

  • Neil Constant says:

    Very enlightening piece and it’s just occured to me whouldn’t JVL be the perfect people to oversee this. Just a thought.

  • Susan Ilsley says:

    Excellent response to what is journalistic muck raking and political bias. It is a sad day to see a good man so badly undermined by gutter press tactics

  • I like this article for its calm approach to its subject. It defines real journalism &offers the possibility of doing a real programme on this subject.

  • Tim Drayton says:

    The trial took place recently of a right-wing extremist who tried to burn down a synagogue in Exeter last year. Yet, this this clear and blatant anti-Semitic attack does not attract the same degree of attention. It’s scary.

  • jay henderson says:

    there is a vast amount of evidence that allegations of A.S. against Labour are 100% fabrication by the media. Yet why does Corbyn not speak out? Does he not realise that as he is demonised by these lies so are we all? It is appalling to have to listen to such filth and have no voice.

  • Darrall Cozens says:

    A foretaste of what is to come as we approach a general election and the probablity of Corbyn becoming PM. Those in power and their acolytes in the LP will do everything possible to protect an economic and social system that only exists to benefit the Few and not the Many. The BBC and the Guardian in particular can lie and smear but history shows that you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Our time is coming.

  • Sara says:

    This ingenious post on the Stop the War Coalition site when Jeremy Corbyn became our Labour Party leader is especially relevant and pertinent today. Enjoy;

    Remember these 10 reasons why you should never vote for Jeremy Corbyn
    Corbyn may have won the Labour leadership, but columnist Cyril Waugh-Monger warns against him ever becoming prime minister.
    THE BIG political story in the UK this summer was undoubtedly ‘Corbynmania’. How a 66-year-old antiwar activist and socialist had gone from being the rank 200-1 outsider in the Labour leadership contest election to be the red-hot favorite, and then the eventual winner.

    Jeremy Corbyn, a modest, unassuming man who wears an open necked shirt and slacks instead of the usual politician’s suit and tie, has really proved a big hit with the public, who have grown tired of slick politicians who are always ‘on message’, and who don’t seem at all sincere in what they’re saying.

    Not everyone though has welcomed Corbyn’s advance. One man who has made repeated warnings about the ‘dangers’ of Jeremy Corbyn is Cyril Waugh-Monger, a ‘Very Important’ newspaper columnist for the NeoCon Daily, a patron of the Senator Joe McCarthy Appreciation Society and the author of ‘Why the Iraq War was a Brilliant Idea’, as well as ‘The Humanitarian Case for Bombing Syria’.

    Below are Mr Waugh-Monger’s ten commandments telling UK electors why they should not, under any circumstances, vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

    1. Jeremy Corbyn wants to ‘stop the war’.

    Jeremy Corbyn opposed the bombing of Yugoslavia. He opposed the invasion of Afghanistan. He was against the invasion of Iraq. He was against bombing Libya and also voted against military action in Syria.

    I ask you – is this the sort of man who is fit to be prime minister?

    If Corbyn – heaven forbid – had been British Prime Minister in 2003 he would not have committed British troops to the invasion of Iraq. Just imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t invaded Iraq! Well, I’ll tell you what would have happened – the Middle East would now be a haven for terrorist groups which would be targeting British tourists on beaches when they go on their summer holidays. The whole Middle East would now be in turmoil. We’d be facing a refugee crisis with people fleeing all the countries that we hadn’t destabilized.

    2. Jeremy Corbyn is a dangerous leftist.

    Just look at the sort of policies this man supports. He wants to re-nationalize the railways which have the highest fares in Europe.

    He wants to scrap university tuition fees which consign students to a lifetime of debt. He would like to make housing affordable for ordinary people.

    He wants an economy to suit the needs of the majority and not the 1%.

    He wants to keep the Sunday trading laws as they are and not introduce 24/7 shopping. He is opposed to illegal wars which kill hundreds of thousands of people and he does not want to bring back fox-hunting. Quite clearly the man is some kind of left-wing nutcase.

    3. Jeremy Corbyn has been critical of the US and Israel.

    Outrageously, Corbyn has criticized US foreign policy and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. He seems to think that the US and Israel have to abide by international law – and should be held accountable for their actions. The man is quite obviously a communist and as such should not become Britain’s prime minister.

    4. Jeremy Corbyn has extremist links.

    Not only is Corbyn a dangerous radical himself, he also associates with dangerous extremists. He once spoke at a meeting where one of the other speakers had once shared a platform with a speaker who had once shared a platform with a speaker who had once shared a platform with a speaker who had once praised Joseph Stalin – proving undeniably that Corbyn is a Stalinist.

    Also on Twitter, Corbyn once retweeted a person who had once retweeted another person who had once retweeted another person who had retweeted a tweet from someone who I don’t approve of – proving once again Corby’s extremism.

    5. Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable.

    Jeremy Corbyn wants to do things which the majority of the British public wants, such as re-nationalize the railways and keep Britain out of Middle East wars. This makes him unelectable because politicians are only electable if they want to do things the public doesn’t want.

    At the last election, Labour lost heavily to the anti-austerity SNP in Scotland and also lost lots of votes to the anti-austerity Greens. So it’s obvious that to get these votes back, Labour needs a leader who supports austerity, and not someone who opposes it, like Corbyn.

    I’m a very wealthy right-wing, pro-austerity warmonger, but believe me, I only want the best for Labour – which is to be a right-wing pro-austerity, pro-war party – barely distinguishable from the Tories.

    Having two main parties who have identical views on the main issues is what democracy is all about. Corbyn as Labour leader will be very different from the Conservatives, which would obviously be very bad for democracy as it would give the electorate a real choice.

    6. Jeremy Corbyn wants to take us back to the 1970s.

    In the 1970s the gap between the rich and poor was at its lowest in the UK’s history. Living standards for ordinary people were rising all the time and large sections of the economy were in public ownership. The banks did not run the country and the taxation system was steeply progressive.

    Corbyn wants to take us back to these times! Think how disastrous that would be for rich people like me who would have to pay much higher rates of tax which would be redistributed to horrible working class-type people and people on middle incomes. The 1% would really suffer and the most talented people – like myself – and my neocon friends, would leave the country. That’s what lies in store for us if Corbyn succeeds!

    7. Jeremy Corbyn would leave Britain defenseless and open to invasion.

    Corbyn has promised to scrap Trident.

    If Trident was scrapped there’s no doubt that the Russians, Iranians, Syrians and Hezbollah would launch a full scale invasion of Britain within 45 minutes.

    Britain would be carved up between the ‘Axis of Evil’, with the Russians taking England, the Iranians Scotland and the Syrians, Wales (and Hezbollah in charge of Northern Ireland).

    Just imagine, Aberystywyth under the control of the evil dictator Bashar al-Assad. Russian troops patroling the streets of Godalming. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard marching in Sauchiehall Street. A nightmare scenario indeed, but all this would be the reality if Corbyn gets his way. The very future of our country is at stake.

    8. Jeremy Corbyn once welcomed an article by John Pilger.

    In 2004, Jeremy Corbyn was one of 25 MPs who signed an Early Day Motion which welcomed a Pilger article on Kosovo.

    How outrageous! To think, a man who is now the leader of one of Britain’s major parties once welcomed an article by John Pilger!

    No one who has ever cited John Pilger with approval – let alone signed a motion supporting him – should be allowed to stand for high public office in Britain. The freedom to hold and express views and opinions in a democracy should only apply to opinions and views that myself and fellow elite neocons approve of! And we most certainly do not approve of John Pilger!

    9. Jeremy Corbyn opposes austerity.

    Austerity is working brilliantly at the moment.

    It’s provided a great excuse for the government to flog off remaining state assets at below their true market value to ‘the right people’ in the City. The welfare payments of lower-class people who have far too many children are being cut. Libraries and local authority services are being closed. Yet, guess what? The bearded one opposes all of this. He says that “austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity.”

    He wants to protect public services and libraries from cuts – and instead wants to crackdown on tax evasion and increase taxes on the very wealthy! I ask you – is this the sort of man we want leading Labour – or worse still, the country?

    And finally, but most importantly, the tenth commandment:

    10. Jeremy Corbyn is very popular.

    …And if he succeeds, it’s game over for me and my little clique of elite warmongers. We won’t get our wars and we’ll have to pay more taxes and it’ll be all perfectly horrible! So, don’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn, because although he’ll be very good news for you – his success will be terrible for us!

    Source: Sott.net

    Stopping Wars Is Essential for Stopping Climate Change

  • Linda Edmondson says:

    I have sent the following complaint to the BBC, having just watched this travesty:
    The BBC commissioned a programme on the issue of antisemitism in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn. The BBC is supposed to be an even-handed presenter of fact and opinion, but this travesty of a documentary lacked impartiality, misquoted extensively from emails and communications from those it was investigating, omitted essential information (e.g. that Jackie Walker, investigated and finally expelled from the party, is herself half-Jewish) and was clearly intended to find the defendant guilty from the first minute of the show. The documentary told us that as soon as Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party the number of complaints of antisemitism within the party rocketed. A decent documentary would do more than insinuate that the reason for this was the new leader’s dodgy credentials on antisemitism. It would ask whether the rise in complaints was the result of a concerted campaign on the part of Corbyn’s enemies to sow doubt in the minds of his supporters about his honesty and integrity. As he is well-known for his support of Palestinians and critical of Israel, he was an obvious target for a campaign claiming antisemitism. I am Jewish and a Labour voter and member. I am not resigning from the party because it is allegedly antisemitic, but continuing to support it against the vilification contained in programmes such as this. I have read a great deal about the issue of antisemitism in the Labour Party since the accusations began to flow and I can say honestly that I have not seen anything quite as disreputable as John Wade’s vicious ‘investigation’ contained within this programme. The BBC really has sunk to a new low in broadcasting this and deserves to be taken to court for its libellous statements contained within the programme.

  • John says:

    Two of the “participants” shown in the article https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/ujia-1650000 featured separately in the Panorama hatchet job attempt can be seen to be known to each other very well.

  • Aneurin Wynne Davies says:

    Perhaps JVL, should point out that the tribalistic claims of the JLM and other groups are not bourne out by scientific facts.
    More by deliberately misdirected Ideaology that is completely alien to all decent minded people – They are Supremacists! Full Stop.

  • David J Booth says:

    Thank you. What I don’t understand is how the idea of a “whistle blower”, which usually involves people risking their jobs and futures, can be applied to people who have already ended their employment, whether voluntarily or involuntarily.

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