Media coverage of the phoney Labour ‘antisemitism’ scandal has been characterised by an abject indifference to, bordering on contempt for, truth.
Still, the extent of the recklessness and casual brutality staggers. Two examples.
- Dan Hodges
Dan Hodges gazed out his office window. There they were, the usual throng of commuters going about their day, as if everything was alright, as if oblivious to the fact that, at this very moment, on twitter, there existed Antisemitic Tweets, a full handful of Antisemitic Tweets, that had put their way of life in peril. True to his calling, Hodges sounded the tocsin: ‘antisemitism is now firmly embedded in the Labour party’s DNA . . . Labour is a racist party now’.
On twitter, Labour member Joe Sucksmith expressed his view that the ‘new antisemitism’, i.e., the proposition that antisemitism today manifests as hostility to Israel rather than to Jews, has functioned as a rhetorical device to discredit legitimate criticism of Israel. He cited the leading study on the topic, Norman G. Finkelstein’s Beyond Chutzpah (2005).
Hodges smacked his lips.
In fact, Sucksmith had referred specifically to the new antisemitism, as he graciously pointed out along with a reference for further reading:
Are you kidding? Dan Hodges hasn’t got time to read a book! Can’t you see we’re in a crisis?
Hodges then proposed that Sucksmith be expelled from the Labour Party:
Sucksmith at this point realised what he was dealing with, and abandoned hope for factual debate. But he did request that Hodges’ clear factual error—his claim that Sucksmith had described ‘antisemitism’ as a ‘propaganda construct’, when in fact he had so described the ‘new antisemitism’—be corrected:
Hodges publicly smeared a Labour member as an antisemite, in the context of an on-going ‘antisemitism’ controversy, and demanded that he be suspended or expelled from the party, on the basis of an immediately-verifiable falsehood. When politely asked to correct the record, he responded, Nope.
These are the people who have the temerity, the chutzpah, to accuse others of not taking antisemitism seriously; these cynics, who know nothing of antisemitism and who care less, and who dissemble about it as a matter of course; these bullies, who fling the term about like so much muck, and who are prepared to wreck a person’s life, to have them publicly branded a racist, and cast into the wilderness, on a whim.
Does the hysteria over Labour ‘antisemitism’ have the slightest connection to reality? Is it driven by concern for justice and for truth? Does it possess a scintilla of honesty or integrity?
- Hugo Rifkind
Claims that Labour has an ‘antisemitism problem’ amount to wild extrapolations from a miniscule number of alleged cases. Hugo Rifkind was aware that only a small number of suspect incidents had been identified, but he wanted to write a provocative column condemning the party anyway. How to resolve this dilemma? He paced his study for seconds, until it hit him:
Generally, I think it’s a mistake to look at nuts and imagine they’re a trend. The thing is, there is a trend.
I wrote an article for openDemocracy demonstrating that the sweeping allegations against Labour are devoid of factual basis. The article mentions Rifkind by name, and refutes his argument on multiple grounds. My claims are perpetually contrary to his and, if he has found out the truth, I have not. The article was drawn to Rifkind’s attention on at least two occasions. One might have thought Rifkind would be eager to mount a defence, or else to graciously acknowledge error. Well, not exactly:
It’s almost as if, um, Hugo Rifkind, um, couldn’t care less whether what he wrote was, um, true.