The cycle continues: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reaches out to his critics, including Britain’s Jews, and in return receives a pile-on of dismissal, claims of insincerity, and forthright abuse. In the vanguard of the pile-on is our free and fearless press, ensuring that whatever Jezza does, he cannot do right for doing wrong.
And when it comes to press critics of Corbyn, no-one does the criticism more thoroughly than the Murdoch press, as witness this week’s lame attempt by the Times to link him with the KKK - yes, the “story” that the Sun ran this time last year. So it should come as no surprise to see Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman entering the fray.
Shippers is the doyen of shippers of bull
Here is Shippers’ latest shipment of bull: “Labour complains the press is out to get them. All most political hacks want is to cover something that observes basic professionalism. Corbyn put out his piece as the Sabbath began and cut and pasted chunks of it. Amateur hour … And before you Corbynistas all come at me, I've written more than anyone else about the various ways this government is a rolling clusterfuck as well. Both of our main political parties are an embarrassing shambles”.
So let’s pick the bones out of that. “Corbyn put out this piece”. Wrong. The Guardian published it. “As the Sabbath began”. Wrong twice. One, it’s Shabbat, and Two, the piece was published at least two hours before Shabbat. Also, it will be available after Shabbat ends. “Cut and pasted chunks of it”. Two things here. One, they are his words, so what? And Two, Shipman’s sister paper the Times just cut and pasted a year-old Sun hit job.
It gets worse. “Corbynistas”. Term of abuse. Real grown-up journalism, then. And “I’ve written more than anyone else about …” Yeah, and most of it was crap. Lame appeal to authority. Meanwhile, Michael Rosen had some reminders for Shippers and his fellow shippers of bull which they might find less than totally comfortable.
“Great to see the press so vigilant about antisemitism and so alert to the nuances just as they were when they themselves pumped out stuff about Ed Miliband, bacon sandwiches, traitor father, two kitchens and how, y’know, he didn’t look, y’know, normal … ‘Hello I’m from the press. When Labour has a Jewish leader, we use antisemitism to pull him down . When Labour has a pro-Palestinian leader, we use antisemitism to pull him down. Using antisemitism in this way is not antisemitic. Of course not. Trust us.’”
We won’t be hearing anything from Shippers about that any time soon. And at least one Labour supporter didn’t buy this latest confected row. “Shabbat began at 20.45. This went out at 17.30. I very much doubt Corbyn was able to dictate to the Guardian what time they were going to put it out, but even if he did, it still wasn't ‘as Sabbath began’”.
Moreover, those Jews who were allegedly unable to respond to Jezza’s article were, er, doing just that, as another Tweeter pointed out. “Enjoying Stephen Pollard [editor of the Jewish Chronicle] tweeting furiously on the Sabbath that it was anti-Semitic of Corbyn to publish a statement 6 hours before the Sabbath”. Bit of exaggeration on the time of publication - but the point is well made.
Labour may need to do more to tackle anti-Semitism in its ranks. The press may need to do more to stop spraying their credibility up the wall. I’ll just leave that one there.
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