Miko Peled, target of the latest Labour anti-Semitism allegations, is a Jewish Israeli, former member of Israeli special forces, son of a famous Israeli general and grandson of a signatory of Israel’s founding Declaration of Independence. You can object to his views, but he can hardly be anti-semitic in any sensible meaning of the term. Nor is he either British or a member of the Labour Party, nor was he speaking at an official Labour Party event.
Given all of the above, in what rational world can Miko Peled said spark newspapers from the Guardian to the Daily Mail to carry, as their lead stories, articles on anti-semitism in the Labour Party, centred entirely on Peled’s comments to a fringe meeting last night?
What Peled is alleged to have said is that discussion of the Holocaust ought to be allowed – with an apparent inference that means discussion of its existence or extent. Now we only have versions of what he said put out by his opponents, so I do not know the precise words he used or their context. I have always banned holocaust denial from this blog, because having had occasion to serve in Poland and both meet survivors and be involved in commemoration events, I have had much closer contact than most people with the overwhelming evidence for what happened. I also find it to be true that those who espouse holocaust denial are often using it as a vehicle for actual anti-Semitism and even for Nazi sympathy. So it is not allowed on this site. But neither do I think it should be actually illegal to hold that view. In context, Peled may have been saying no more than that.
If Peled was saying holocaust denial ought to be a valid subject for party political meetings, I disagree with him very strongly. It also contradicts what he is reported to have said immediately afterwards. He said that platforms are not given to neo-Nazis and were not given to supporters of apartheid South Africa, so they should be denied to Zionists too. I broadly agree with that – but would deny a platform to Holocaust deniers on the same score.
Peled’s remarks have been a great boon to the mainstream media who have had a great deal of difficulty in finding a way to denigrate Corbyn’s leadership sufficiently. They had fallen back on the old “Misogynist” charge related to Laura Kuenssberg, with the BBC’s extraordinary propaganda decision to give her a bodyguard in case she was yet again subjected to joking pantomime hisses.
Which brings me to one of the great unanswered emails of our time:
Jasper Jackson is the Guardian’s assistant media editor who had published a piece on online abuse of Kuenssberg. It seemed reasonable to ask whether he had actually seen any evidence, as I had been unable to find any. He did not reply – and I am willing to assert he did not reply because he had no evidence.
Jackson however is not in the same category as David Babbs of 38 degrees, who lied through his teeth about the existence of misogynistic comments on an anti-Kuenssberg petition. Babbs refused to speak to me but I did manage to interview their press spokesman on 11 May last year, and it is a piece of real journalism of which I am very proud:
Hello Adam. I hope you are not quite so busy today? Has it calmed down for you?
It is a bit less busy. Well we are very busy on other important things. Did you see the article by David Babbs in the Guardian today?
I did, but it doesn’t really answer my question. I haven’t received the evidence of the abuse connected to the petition which you said you would consider sending me. Are you going to send it?
I don’t really have the time for this
But you must have this evidence. You took a well-supported petition down. You must have the evidence you based your decision on.
There were abusive tweets and comments
Can you send them to me?
You can search for them yourself online
I have done so. But you must have the evidence?
Look yourself online
This is a big story. In all the national press. You must have kept the evidence on the basis of which you made the decision?
You said yourself you had seen misogynistic comments
I said I could find a single one – very unpleasant but only one – out of hundreds of comments I read
So you did see misogynistic comments
Search yourself online. There were tweets.
So far I have been able to find one. That is one comment and one tweet. Have you seen more?
There were misogynistic comments and tweets
More than two? Out of thirty five thousand signatories? How many have you seen?
There was misogynistic abuse
How many have you seen. You personally Adam. You said yesterday you had seen the evidence. Have you, personally, seen more than two?
If you are going to start shouting at me
More than two? Simple question, yes or no?
I don’t expect you to be impolite and abusive towards me.
How much evidence did you see?
We had seen sufficient evidence.
Is that more than two? Is that more than two? That’s a very simple question.
We had seen sufficient evidence.
Have you seen more than two things? Have you seen more than two things? That’s a very simple question. I am recording you. Is that more than two things?
You can record if you like. We had sufficient evidence.
Is that evidence more than one tweet and one comment?
I could…I have got to go I have things to do here
Do you have more than one tweet and one comment?
It is also worth stating that there was no evidence at all the two nasty comments – out of 35,0000 signatures – aimed at Kuenssberg had any connection to Corbyn supporters.
To threaten someone with violence is very serious, a crime. The police act on such complaints. Stuart Campbell of Wings over Scotland has been harassed by police over his non-threatening tweets. If there was serious abuse and threat made towards Kuenssberg, there would be police investigations and people would be appearing in court. Where is the evidence for all of this happening? There remains a complete dearth of evidence, yet that did not stop the Guardian alone from running five articles about the Corbynite threat to Kuenssberg this week – every single one of which was 100% evidence free.
That was before they diverted on to the story of the Jewish, ex Israeli Special Services veteran being an anti-Semite.
I do not doubt Kuenssberg receives some abuse. Everyone in public life does. I receive abuse including threats of violence. But if there is evidence that there is a genuine and unusual threat to Kuenssberg, that evidence has never ever been shown. God knows, I have very genuinely tried to access that evidence (I have also asked Kuenssberg if I can see it – she did not reply either). What does exist is a huge volume of complaint about her obvious right wing bias. The established media is desperate to portray this kind of challenge to their authority as illegitimate.
I am obliged to conclude that both the “anti-Semitic Corbynites” meme and the “misogynist Corbynites” meme are Fake News. They are Establishment media concoctions designed to protect the interests of the Establishment from political radicalism. I also conclude that the BBC gave Kuenssberg a bodyguard, not because there is any danger at all she will be assaulted by Corbynites, but in order to boost that propaganda.
I continue urgently to need contributions to my defence in the libel action against me by Jake Wallis Simons, Associate Editor of Daily Mail online. You can see the court documents outlining the case here. I am threatened with bankruptcy and the end of this blog (not to mention a terrible effect on my young family). Support is greatly appreciated. An astonishing 4,000 people have now contributed a total of over £75,000. But that is still only halfway towards the £140,000 target. I realise it is astonishing that so much money can be needed, but that is the pernicious effect of England’s draconian libel laws, as explained here.
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