Skewed journalism

Under a sensationalist but largely unfounded headline, “UK left activists attended events with far right antisemites”, Mark Townsend’s Guardian article has sought to add to the narrative ​that the UK left is a safe haven for antisemitism. The strapline is “Ex-Labour members secretly recorded at meetings with Holocaust deniers”.

The story, however, provides video evidence only of a far-right speaker.

The news should surely be “Holocaust denier secretly filmed at far-right meeting.” That gross holocaust denial, as documented in the appalling video clip, is going on in the UK today is horrifying to us at JVL and to every anti-racist in the Labour Party and wider society. But instead your readers are fed a confection of tenuous links between “ex-Labour members” and the much broader category of “UK left activists”, and are left with the implication that the latter are sympathetic to the views of the antisemites who were actually responsible for organising the meeting.

Yet again a deeply serious story about the increase of holocaust denial and other forms of racism and intolerance across society – and especially on the far right – has been used by the Guardian to take a swipe at the Labour Party.


Comments (12)

  • Eoin says:

    In the final “report” the Labour party is mentioned 47-times, and there is a dedicated section: “The Labour Party and Keep Talking.”

    Yet during the 3-years timeframe studied there was not a single Labour party member that attended a meeting other than a member that was already suspended and has now been expelled (or has resigned).

    It’s a ridiculous report, and if anything interesting was uncovered, it appears to have been ignored.

  • Jim Denham says:

    [This comment has been edited – JVL web]

    Keep Talking speakers have included the Elleanne Green and Vanessa Beeley, – not (as far as I know) labour or ex-Labour people, but often considered to be on the “left”.

    The conspiracy theorist and increasingly bizarre absolute ant-Zionist Peter Gregson, expelled by both the GMB and Labour, but (until recently) defended by “Labour Against the Witch Hunt” has been a speaker at a Keep Talking event.

    “Left” participants seem quite at home in a milieu that includes holocaust-deniers/ holocaust-minimisers and conspiracy theorists…

    The way promoters of antisemitism are to one extent or another accepted, excused and even defended by these people shows the logic of “absolute anti-Zionist” politics.

    • Read the report (27 pages) at

  • Anti-fascist says:

    The Guardian article, exposing real antisemites, is used to further the relentless witch-hunt against the left. It is a classic example of fake news

    None of the individuals mentioned in the article even belongs to the Labour Party. They are, variously, “former”, “ex”, “suspended”, “once a member”, “rejected” Labour Party members etc.

    JVL supporters should take note of the roles of the CST and HOPE not hate.

    Both have form in feeding the witch-hunt and neither of these organisations has corrected the Guardian’s bogus claims.

  • RH says:

    I think the Guardian can be forgotten as a vehicle for news that is independent of the security establishment agenda.

    Have a look today for the sort of forensic reporting about the Assange trial that, at one time might have been expected.

    Since Viner was put in place as an editorial patsy, the tradition of independent contrarianism has largely disappeared, even though there is still some writing of worth.

    The sort of bug-eyed fantasies that comprise ‘holocaust denial’ are, in my experience an unbalanced fringe pursuit that I’ve never encountered.

    Similarly, the bug-eyed fantasies about the ‘institutional’ antisemitism of the Labour Party (also something I’ve never personally encountered in 40 years) are daily fodder for the Graun.

    So much for journalism.

  • Margaret West says:

    This was a disgraceful article in the Guardian – with little real information.
    So instead of confining themselves to ex-Labour Party members, why not, in the interests of balance, provide information on how many ex-members there were from other political parties eg Tory, Brexit, UKIP etc?

  • Dr ALAN MADDISON says:

    Surveys suggest about 1% of Labour voters, and 1% of Conservative voters, are Holocaust deniers. Twice as many Conservative than Labour voters believe that the Holocaust is exploited by Jewish people for political gain.

    As Michael Rosen said, if you are only interested in antisemitism in the Labour (or ex) Party, and not in the Conservative Party then you are not attacking antisemitism. You are attacking the Labour Party.

    The evidence that antisemitism is more prevalent on the right of politics, especially the far right, is quite convincing. If this does not guide scrutiny then at least it should be used to provide context in these articles.

    The Conservative Party and the growing far right must be feeling safe to manifest their own more prevalent antisemitism.

  • Gerry Glyde says:

    Today it was finally reported that despite all the resources of the Met to investigate the ‘dossier of 45 cases of antisemitism ‘ leaked to LBC they have only been able to come up with one charge. They made the specific point that there is no right not to be offended or upset by what another person says.
    The so-called CAA is fizzing with anger and considering Judicial Review or private prosecution.
    If just one out of 45 that blasts a hole in the claim of a crisis of antisemitism

  • Andrew Hornung says:

    I don’t disagree with Dr Maddison’s central point but it would do to unpick such things as statistics relating to the statement “the Holocaust is exploited by Jewish people for political gain.” When asked whether this is true or false, my guess is that people will often take this to be true because pro-Israel sentiment is often based on the view that the “Jews deserve their own state because of the Holocaust”, “Where else could the survivors of the Holocaust go?” In this sense, Israel and pro-Israel charities draw benefit from emphasising – “exploiting” is the emotionally charged negatively loaded version – the Holocaust. Questions like this give, in fact, almost no indication of what people think. Indeed, it encourages of confusion between Jews and pro-Israel entities. Such questions also operate at another level: since most people are politically disengaged, they see little difference between “exploiting” an undesirable situation and campaigning to eliminate that situation. Thus, the Right-wing press doesn’t say that Labour is campaigning against poverty but that it is exploiting the issue for political gain. The objective difference between the two is zero but they represent two entirely different ideological frameworks and emotional approaches.

  • Allan Howard says:

    In relation to what Gerry said:

    The so-called ‘secret dossier’ was passed on to the Met Commissioner live on LBC radio on September 4th 2018, and it then took another two months before the Met announced it is opening an investigation into the cases contained in the ‘dossier’. In an article posted on the Sky News website on November 2nd 2018 the sub-headline was ‘The Metropolitan Police is seeking advice from the CPS over a dossier of hate crime claims against Labour members’, and says the following:

    The Met is now seeking “early investigative advice” from the Crown Prosecution Service.

    In a statement on Friday, the Met Police said: “The complainant alleged that the documentation included evidence of antisemitic hate crimes. The contents have been examined by specialist officers.

    “A criminal investigation has commenced into some of the allegations within the documentation.”

    So the contents have been examined by specialist officers. And……! And what on earth is “early investigative advice”! It then takes another four to five months to decide that three people should be arrested (as reported across the MSM at the end of March 2019), and then a further month to decide that a fourth person should be arrested, and it was of course just coincidence that it should happen to be the day before the local council elections! Arrested, but NOT charged with anything!

    Anyway, I just found this Daily Mirror article published on Jan 8th (this year) and it finishes with the following details:

    7 March 2019: A man in his 50s arrested in Birmingham. He was interviewed under caution in Birmingham and released under investigation.
    14 March 2019: A man in his 50s arrested in Tunbridge Wells. He was interviewed under caution in Kent. He was released under investigation.
    21 March 2019: A woman in her 70s arrested in Wandsworth. She was interviewed under caution at a south London police station. She was released under investigation.
    1 May 2019: A man in his 40s arrested and warrant executed in Newham. The man was released under investigation.
    9 July 2019: A man in his 60s interviewed under caution.

    Plus a sixth case still being probed by police
    10 July 2019: A man in his 60s interviewed under caution on suspicion of distributing material likely to stir up racial hatred. A warrant was executed at an address in Bradford. The man was released under investigation. Enquiries continue.

    It also quotes Cressida Dick – the Met Commisioner – as saying that “We’ve submitted five files to the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] in September last year.

    And further on in the article it says the following:

    A Scotland Yard spokeswoman confirmed the force sought “early investigative advice” – used in complex cases – from the CPS on 2 November 2018.

    The Met had been considering that advice since 29 January 2019 and handed five case files to the CPS on 27 September 2019.

    What can you say! It’s all just a complete and utter joke. Eight months to consider the CPS ‘early investigative advice’, and then a further five months for the CPS to conclude that only ONE of the five cases warranted being charged! Oh, right, but they were ‘complex’!

  • Allan Howard says:

    So that’s at least six ‘stories’ that have stemmed from the so-called ‘secret dossier’ AND widely covered by the MSM during the course of the past eighteen months, and we can expect MORE, because according to this Daily Mirror article – primarily about Mohson Rasool being charged – another five ‘new’ cases have now been ‘handed to prosecutors’:

    Man charged in Labour anti-Semitism probe as five more cases handed to prosecutors

    And the Mirror article again quotes what Cressida Dick – the Met Commissioner – said in January:

    “It’s a very complex crime type to be honest.

    “There is a lot for [officers] to look at and a lot for them to consider as to whether there is either sufficient evidence to charge or it is in the public interest so to do.”

    Yeah, sure it is (a complex crime, that is), as if it would take an expert – or just about anyone for that matter – more than a few minutes to conclude that something is an offence, but she obviously threw this in by way of an explanation for it all taking so long to ‘investigate’ the cases.

  • Tony says:

    I saw that article and wondered how much to believe it.

    I stopped donating to Hope not Hate because it changed its original stance on Labour Party anti-Semitism to something very different. It demanded the expulsion of Williamson and praised that dreadful Panorama programme in which Jewish supporters of Corbyn were not allowed to appear.

    The Guardian appears to have no problem with people praising Nancy Astor though.

  • Colin Lomas says:

    To Guardian Editor – sent 23/2/20
    Some time in the distant future, the Guardian will cease its search for evidence that anti-Semitism is a characteristic of the political left.
    Story after story is printed to “prove” this theory.
    This morning was the story that some ex-Labour party members are regularly liaising with Holocaust deniers, and generally promoting anti-Semitism.
    You call them “left activists” with clear suggestion that these anti-Semites are representative of the left.
    If you could take off the blinkers, you would easily find people who promote extreme right-wing intolerance and who were once members of the Tory Party. Would you then have a headline “Tory Activists promote Islamophobia”?
    I will resume buying the Guardian when it returns to providing mature analysis of anti-Semitism, and stops dancing to the tune of other people, but this looks to be a long time in the future.

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