Andrew Neil weighs in on antisemitism, forgetting he once paid six figures to a holocaust denier

Andrew Neil
Kerry-anne Mendoza

BBC host Andrew Neil has weighed in on the antisemitism row. But he seems to have forgotten that he once paid a six-figure sum to a holocaust denier while editor of The Sunday Times.

Six figures

Andrew Neil has had a lot to say on the supposedly ‘endemic’ antisemitism within the Labour Party.

Any and every condemnation of antisemitism is welcome. But sadly, unless you’re against racism by anyone to anyone, you’re not an anti-racist – you’re an opportunist. This opportunism is highlighted by the reaction of a toxic coalition of the Labour right, the right, and the far right of UK politics over the weekend. When Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sat down for Passover Seder with left-wing Jewish group Jewdas, the far-right Guido Fawkes blog ran a hit piece. The antisemitic rant stripped Jewdas members of their Jewish identity, for the sake of attacking Corbyn. It was truly foul.

Jews on the UK left were quick to point out the antisemitic nature of the attack:

Despite this, the Labour right joined the attack, with Labour MP Angela Smith unable even to spell ‘Seder’.

The entire establishment media, including the BBC, leapt on the Guido story as fact. And so did a host of pundits who have seized on the issue in efforts to oust Corbyn. This means Britain’s liberal commentariat acted as cavalry in a charge against the left led by Guido Fawkes. Guido. Fawkes.

Enter Andrew Neil

Neil bought into the Guido smear too, promoting and legitimising the hit job.

But he may live to regret it. Because people in glass houses should lay off the stone throwing.

Andrew Neil is the host of the BBC‘s Daily Politics and Sunday Politics shows. He is also chairman of Press Holdings – a company registered in the tax haven of Jersey. The company (owned by the billionaire Barclay brothers) owns a number of conservative media outlets, such as The Telegraph and The Spectator. Neil was formerly a political adviser for the Conservative Party, and an executive editor of Fox News in the US. So when it comes to fake news, Neil is a veteran.

He was also once editor of the The Sunday Times. While there, he reportedly paid a six-figure sum to infamous holocaust denier David Irving. The Hitler apologist denies the basic facts of the holocaust, stating that “the gas chambers were a figment of British propaganda”. And when Neil was criticised over the decision, he argued that Irving was only an “amateur Nazi”.

OpenDemocracy editor Adam Ramsay and others were quick to point out Neil’s hypocrisy on the issue:

Enough is enough

It’s difficult to overstate the wrongness of journalists and politicians declaring who is a ‘good Jew’ and who is a ‘bad Jew’. This despicable situation is only exacerbated by privileged non-Jews playing Chief Rabbi, laying down the law to Jewish people. Especially when their support of the Jewish community is contingent upon political allegiances. Enough really is enough.

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