Labour leader calls Freedland’s antisemitism accusations “disgusting, subliminal nastiness”

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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.
Sue Lukes
London

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.

Freedland’s own preposterous evidence relied heavily upon one case; that of Alex Chalmers who quit his post at Oxford’s Labour club, saying he’d concluded that many had “some kind of problem with Jews.” But Asa Winstanley’s article for the Electronic Intifada, in April, ‘How Israel lobby manufactured UK Labour Party’s anti-Semitism crisis,’ exposed Chalmers as a falsifier and part of the UK’s Israel lobby, having worked in the past for BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre:

Chalmers has also been accused of disseminating a false allegation that a left-wing Labour student at Oxford had organized people into a group to follow a Jewish student around campus calling her a “filthy Zionist,” and that he had been disciplined as a result.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the accused student said that he had reason to believe Chalmers may have been behind the dissemination of this smear.

Paul Di Felice, the current acting principal of the Oxford college in question, confirmed to The Electronic Intifada the authenticity of a statement from its late principal denying all the allegations. “I have found no evidence of any allegations being made to the college about” the student “involving anti-Semitism, or indeed anything else, during his time at the college,” the statement read. (Asa Winstanley The Electronic Intifada 28 April 2016)

It can only be regretted that Jeremy Corbyn did not make public in March his disgust at Jonathan Freedland’s pernicious lies. The Guardian and Jewish Chronicle columnist wrote, “No one accuses [Corbyn] of being an antisemite. But….” before insinuating just that. It was a disingenuous and cynical smear against Corbyn who is a long-standing defender of Palestinian human rights. Freedland has made no secret of his loathing for Corbyn, which the latter understandably interprets as the journalist being “kind of obsessed with me.” The leader of the Labour Party has belatedly outed liberal Zionist Freedland as “not a good guy at all.”

Soon after the documentary was released on Wednesday, Jewish News reported on letters written by Corbyn while he was a Parliament member in which he urges then-Foreign Secretary William Hague in 2013 to “stop allowing Israel’s criminal politicians to come to our country freely.” On the subject of banning Israeli politicians, he wrote:

I cannot help wondering how long successive governments are going to stand by pretending that an occupying power of so many years should be treated in the same way as the people whose land is not only occupied, but routinely confiscated.

Corbyn also wrote in 2012 to Hague that Israel treats Palestinians “with disdain” and that its

victimization of the people of East Jerusalem is an abomination that is totally illegal. Surely the only logical way forward here is to penalise Israel via the most obvious method… There is clearly no time to lose to take action via the EU-Israel Association Trade Agreement.

A good guy, this Corbyn.

 

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