JVL reports Jewish Chronicle to IPSO

Jewish Voice for Labour has been obliged to make a formal complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation IPSO after the Jewish Chronicle declined to correct a story it published on Thursday with the misleading headline JVL founder calls for Labour members to ‘resist’ Starmer’s attempts to tackle antisemitism.

JVL Media Officer Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi reports:

Our complaint to the press regulator focuses on the headline and opening paragraphs of the Jewish Chronicle story arising from words I used during a discussion held via Zoom on September 28, organised by Harrow and Brent Palestine Solidarity Campaign. I was one of two speakers, both Jewish, discussing “The Labour Party and Palestine” with an invited audience.

The discussion was nuanced, complex and thoughtful. The organisers had no hesitation in placing a recording online.

The headline JVL founder calls for Labour members to ‘resist’ Starmer’s attempts to tackle antisemitism is correct in saying that I am a founding member of Jewish Voice for Labour. In every other respect it is incorrect.

I used the words “This has to be resisted” in reference to the actions of Labour Party general secretary David Evans who has banned discussion of controversial issues of vital importance to members. The Jewish Chronicle quotes at some length what I actually said lower down the piece. It is clearly at variance with what appears in the headline and lead paragraph, breaching IPSO’s Editors’ Code of Practice which states: “The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.”

The Jewish Chronicle’s misleading coverage has given rise to unwarranted attacks on me and JVL on social media, including calls for us to be proscribed from the Labour Party. The author of the piece has joined in attacks on Twitter, citing his own article as evidence that I am not fit to hold my position as vice-chair of Chingford and Woodford Green Labour Party. Harassment of this kind should not be tolerated by any reputable media organisation.

There were other inaccuracies in the article, in particular the assertion, prominently published with an EXCLUSIVE tag, that I had made a “damning admission” that “pro-Palestinian activists had left Jewish people feeling ‘defensive and uncomfortable'”.

Again, reference to what I actually said tells a different story. I devoted several sentences to explaining how attacks on pro-Palestinian activists can, regrettably, generate a tendency to use abusive language in response, which makes Jews uncomfortable. As the article correctly reports lower down, I said “It does also create an atmosphere in which Jewish people are genuinely going to feel defensive and uncomfortable. That’s not our aim. Our aim is to pursue a political agenda. Help us think of ways of doing it.”

No member of the Jewish Chronicle staff contacted me before publication of the article; the JC has rejected two requests for the inaccuracies to be corrected and I have been offered no right of reply. The Jewish Chronicle is therefore, in our view, in breach of at least two further sections of the IPSO Code with respect to inaccurate, misleading and distorted information which it has published about me and JVL.



Comments (19)

  • Charlotte Williams says:

    This is shocking. Sadly, IPSO is toothless. We need proper press regulation.

  • Dorothy says:

    Sadly too common in our useless and biased media

  • John Brown says:

    Solidarity !!

  • DJ says:

    The Jewish Chronicle has clearly descended into the gutter.It’s journalists specialise in fake news and truth twisting. They have just been forced to pay damages to a smeared activist by IPSO for the second time this year. It’s about time this failing rag was”put to bed”.

  • dave says:

    Lee Harpin is either a terrible journalist or knows exactly what he’s doing. I will leave people to make up their own minds on this. The answer though – maybe both…

  • Mary Davies says:

    Solidarity with Naomi and JVL.

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    Sorry to read this Naomi, but not surprised. It underlines the importance of always recording, not just formal statements and speeches, but the post platform discussion. What a sad reflection on the state of our politics today. All best wishes and hoping IPSO, no matter how toothless, at least issues a rebuke.

    T’other Naomi

  • Sean O’Donoghue says:

    Mike Sivier took Sunday Times to IPSO and had a printed apology from them …so not totally a waste of time

  • Allan Howard says:

    As if anyone on the planet would say such a thing! I mean I realise that Lee Harpin and Stephen Pollard know that Naomi didn’t, but is it really possible that the people who read the Jewish Chronicle could believe that it’s true! Perhaps Harpin and Pollard do it to amuse their readership. It’s certainly worth considering.

    I mean Jewish people aren’t stupid, and given that the JC have included what Naomi ACTUALLY said further down the page, it really does seem like an excercise in amusing yourself and your colleages at the JC no end in the first instance, and then amusing a section of your readership when you publish.

    Murdoch’s Times and The Telegraph do it quite regularly – ie falsely discredit someone – for example Jeremy Corbyn, knowing that most of their readers will realise it’s a falsehood, and they further amuse their readers by ‘developing’ it, just like Lee Harpin does in this case when he comes out with the line about Naomi not being fit to be vice-chair etc, albeit on twitter, as opposed to in the article itself.

    Nasty people are nasty people, and they just lurve being nasty!

    One thing is for sure though, that people who lie and fabricate and distort and demonise someone get a real buzz – and I mean a really real high – out of doing it. It’s like the bully in them at work, and their sadistic nature compels them to do it, precisely because of the high it gives them.

  • Jean Crocker says:

    The courage and reasonablenss of Naomi and other JVL officers is admirable

  • VJ says:

    It’s about time the JC was made to face their constant false accusations of antisemitism.

  • Linda P says:

    It is really frightening that much of the media can lie and distort the truth and get away with it, thank you JVL for getting the facts out there. Carry on the good work.

  • Margaret West says:

    Good luck with this ..

    Partly as a result of damages paid out because of previous
    misbehaviour – the JC has been in financial difficulties. As a result
    I believe it has had to be relaunched ..Will they never learn that
    their disgraceful behaviour will not be tolerated?

  • sandy Palmer says:

    Here’s hoping that IPSO show some teeth and again publicly reprimand this awful rag for the falsehoods it peddles. I was at the AGM and a more respectful and thoughtful organisation you won’t find. Good luck with this action. x

  • Rica Bird says:

    sorry you have been forced to instigate the action. Hope, even with a relatively toothless body like IPSO some good comes out of it. Thank you Naomi, and activists, for not giving up standing up for what is right.

  • John Spencer says:

    Sadly, the JC story is a typical example of the smear technique which underlies the witch-hunt against opponents of Israeli occupation and settler colonialism within and outside the Labour Party. Clearly the paper’s reporters are scouring social media to find short gobbets they can present, torn out of context, as discreditable, even antisemitic. The technique was repeatedly used against Jeremy Corbyn — remember “ironygate” in which an out of context remark torn from an argument with anti-Palestinian hecklers at a public meeting several years previously was systematically misrepresented as an insult to Jews in general. JVL is to be congratulated for standing up to this sort of media bullying. More power to your elbow!

  • Frances Kay says:

    I recently read ‘The Forgotten Palestinians’ by Ilan Pappe, and was shocked to learn about the history of Palestinians under Israeli rule. This is not a democracy; it is built on apartheid. I hope you win this battle – it is such uphill work.

  • steve miitchell says:

    Meanwhile the Labour leader is ordering MPs to vote for torturers and murderers to be above the law.

  • Rosa says:

    Well done. Stand up to these bullies.

Comments are now closed.