The newly released Vice News documentary on Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, contains footage of Corbyn on the phone to Seumas Milne, his head of communications, discussing Jonathan Freedland’s article for the Guardian: ‘Labour and the left have an antisemitism problem.’ The article alleged that “Under Jeremy Corbyn the party has attracted many activists with views hostile to Jews….many Jews do worry that his past instinct, when faced with potential allies whom he deemed sound on Palestine, was to overlook whatever nastiness they might have uttered about Jews, even when that extended to Holocaust denial or the blood libel.” Published in March in the left-leaning paper, it helped kick off the latest smear campaign against Corbyn’s leadership that continues to have a chilling effect on free speech.
Corbyn is filmed saying (see the video below, at 3 minutes 30 seconds):
The big negative today is the Jonathan Freedland article in the Guardian. Utterly disgusting, subliminal nastiness, the whole lot of it. He’s not a good guy at all. He seems kind of obsessed with me.
While Freedland’s insidious article is frequently cited, forgotten are the several letters to the Guardian repudiating his allegations. This is just one:
As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor I never stop worrying about how we can make “never again!” meaningful. But as an active member of both the Labour party and my Jewish community, I can say that the assertion that “Labour has become a cold house for the Jews” is simply not borne out by the facts. The party has become a much warmer place for everyone, including Jews, since Jeremy Corbyn was elected. However, some people, inside and outside the party, appear to use allegations of antisemitism to pursue other, political ends.
As Lukes points out, Freedland’s assertions are not borne out by the facts.
Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, Jeremy Newmark discovered at an employment tribunal in 2013, that giving evidence of antisemitism judged to be “false, painfully ill-judged and preposterous” has consequences for one’s reputation. And so it is with Jonathan Freedland. The examples he provides as evidence of an ingrained problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party would not stand up in court: they would be treated with contempt and the case thrown out. Continue reading “Labour leader calls Freedland’s antisemitism accusations “disgusting, subliminal nastiness””