The Guardian refused to publish this scathing letter from over 200 Jewish women. It’s obvious why.

Guardian logo and Jeremy Corbyn
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It turns out the Guardian refused to publish a scathing letter from over 200 Jewish women on 10 March. The Guardian claims that it didn’t include the letter because it already covered similar ground.

But there are other obvious explanations for its refusal. Because the letter is critical of the Guardian‘s reporting on Labour and antisemitism – particularly its “unquestioning” coverage of rhetoric from political opponents of Jeremy Corbyn. Also, the Jewish women are communicating a perspective on Labour and antisemitism that the Guardian rarely acknowledges.

“Baffled, hurt and infuriated”

The letter, which was published by the Morning Star, opens by calling out the Guardian‘s approach to allegations from Margaret Hodge:

We, all Jewish women, are baffled, hurt and infuriated by your unquestioning coverage of Margaret Hodge’s campaign against Jeremy Corbyn (‘Just Close them down: Margaret Hodge on antisemitism in Labour’s branches’, March 9). Hodge extends her allegations that Corbyn is an ‘antisemite and racist’ under whom antisemitism ‘has been given permission to come into the mainstream and, like a cancer, is infecting and growing through the Party’.

Hodge provides no evidence of such horrific wrongdoing by Corbyn, nor by ‘mainstream’ Labour members. Her own submissions to the Labour Party certainly don’t do the job: General Secretary, Jennie Formby reported that Hodge’s 200 complaints concerned 111 individuals, of whom only 20 were actually Party members.

“A legitimate critique”

The Jewish women also expressed support for Chris Williamson, who Labour recently suspended for questioning the party’s approach to antisemitism allegations:

Williamson presents a legitimate critique; Labour’s response to antisemitism accusations has been unnecessarily defensive, he said, not that it has been ‘too apologetic about antisemitism’ itself.

Read on...

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Indeed, Williamson did not deny that there’s antisemitism in Labour. The MP for Derby North referred to the “scourge of antisemitism” in the same address. He took issue with the party’s failure to properly tackle Corbyn’s political opponents, who have been demonising Labour wholesale “as a racist, bigoted party”.

“The IHRA document has been shredded”

The group also criticised the Guardian‘s reporting on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism:

Meanwhile, no mention that the IHRA document has been shredded by two QCs, plus Jewish human rights specialist, Sir Geoffrey Bindman and Jewish retired Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Stephen Sedley.

The mainstream media consistently report on the IHRA document as the ‘internationally recognised’ definition of antisemitism. But IHRA is only made up of 31 member countries and only 26% of them recognise Palestine as a state. The lack of Palestinian representation explains why these member countries accept a definition of antisemitism that Palestinian advocacy groups uniformly condemn. In contrast to the IHRA nations, 71% of the 193 UN countries do recognise Palestine. So the widespread affirmation that the definition is ‘internationally recognised’ is disputed.

Indeed, 24 Palestinian organisations, trade unions, and networks in the UK have also criticised the definition:

This non-legally binding definition attempts to erase Palestinian history, demonise solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality, suppress freedom of expression, and shield Israel’s far-right regime

Guardian response

The Guardian claimed it decided not to publish the letter because the issue had “already been aired before”. In another letter to the Guardian, over 200 Jewish Labour supporters also condemned the narrative on Labour and antisemitism:

We believe that the Labour party under the progressive leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is a crucial ally in the fight against bigotry and reaction. His lifetime record of campaigning for equality and human rights, including consistent support for initiatives against antisemitism, is formidable. His involvement strengthens this struggle.

Yet the paper has no problem publishing hundreds of articles amplifying allegations of antisemitism against the Labour Party. A spokesperson also told the Morning Star that the paper receives:

hundreds of letters a day and unfortunately cannot publish every letter we receive.

“Hijack our history”

Rounding off their letter, the Jewish women wrote:

All signatories to this letter grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust. We know we must maintain eternal vigilance against antisemitic resurgence. But we also celebrate our Jewishness, especially the disputatiousness (pace our aphorism: two Jews three opinions) central to Jewish identity. We are terrified by Margaret Hodge’s attempt to hijack our history and rewrite our identity and by unwillingness to investigate, fact check and challenge her allegations.

The data supports their condemnation of the establishment for weaponising antisemitism against Labour. Analysis from academics at Goldsmiths found that reporting across the mainstream media of Labour and antisemitism was ‘distorted’, ‘inaccurate’ and ‘misleading’.

With the media peddling such an entrenched smear campaign, we must join these Jewish people in unapologetically correcting the record.

Featured image via Rwendland/ WikiCommons

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  • Show Comments
    1. Semites are of Arabic descent and therefore Israel is an anti-Semitic state. Even JVP has backed BDS and come out against the settler colonisation and recognises the Palesinian people and Palestine.
      That so many non-Zionists or non Pro Israeli voices are shut down or not given the same coverage as the pro Israeli Zionists is in fact anti-Semitism in and of itself. Hundreds of pro Zionist/Israeli posts and their attendant lies are given print time or airing on the BBC while ordinary Jews opposed to Zionism and Israel ar treted so very badly in that they are ignored repeatedly – this is Anti-Semitism – they have a right to be heard.

    2. What a clear meaning letter from those Jewish women who grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust.
      Why is the Guardian behaving like this is really a good question to ask them. Was it because of the British Treaty which created Isreal?
      This treaty business from the Colonial era really needs a revist for the troubles caused.The French have done irreparable damage to Haiti collecting vast sums over the years for its slave rebellion in the 1700’s without a second thought while supporting a corrupt regime.
      The fact that ignorant Margaret Hodge is stealing these Jewish women’s story, and Labour’s stance is what it’s all about. She wants her story to dominate the social scene just like as it was with colonialism.
      It’s so wierd, and wierder yet the Guardian’s misreporting on the facts.
      Are these the Dead Parrots Jimmy talks about?

    3. Look no further than Jonathon Freedland, member of LFI. Then consider some of the non-political columnists and note how many times they are able to bring in anti-Corbyn and anti-Palestinian comments in the the most unlikely of contexts.
      But it may be that the message is getting through; over the past three weeks, a number of reports and even a couple of op eds have been published that are supportive of human rights. Guilt? The Guardian is alienating its readership…and knows it.At the moment, its only defence strategy is to bar readers’ comments to avoid embarrassment. Comment is Free has all but died in the past year.

    4. I have thought for a long time that Ms Hodges OTT comments would actually do her cause more harm than good. You can fool some of the people some of the time but the rest of us can see through the propaganda.
      Politics is a crooked and devious business and the population is starting to wake up to that fact.

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