After Jeremy Corbyn attracted a significant amount of adverse comment for attending a Seder held by a group called Jewdas - mainly through the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog suggesting that Jewdas were “the wrong kind of Jews” - it was clear that this was a group whose radical stance did not meet with the approval of all in the Jewish community. And so it has proved once more.
Stephen Pollard, editor, Jewish Chronicle
This confirmation came from the Jewish Chronicle, which has run a story headlined “Jewdas activist compares Zionism to Nazi ideology during 'antisemitism awareness' Labour event”, authored by Lee Harpin. The target of this attack piece was Annie Cohen, who also passed adverse comment on policies pursued by the Israeli Government.
However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, whatever Ms Cohen might have said, she did not say what the headline claims. Also, a recording backs her up, as she confirmed. “I've only just read this and this headline is an outright lie. I didn't and would never compare Zionism to Nazi ideology, I said that there were Zionists in the early 30s who made those comparisons and I cited references. The whole thing was filmed”.
She also asked why the JC would run such a headline. “When @JewishChron writes lies about a Jewish activist that could ruin her whole career just because she doesn't share their politics, it has to be asked - whose side are they even on? Do you really want to combat antisemitism, or only when it affects Jews who agree with you?”
So it was no surprise when she then told “OK so I now have the recording of last week's talk have consulted two lawyers who confirm the headline, which @lmharpin did not even back up in his article, is defamatory. @stephenpollard @JewishChron I want this headline changed, immediately, with an apology”. What say the JC?
Well, the JC said nothing. It ignored Ms Cohen. “Well I've now sent @JewishChron @stephenpollard three complaints, over 24 hours and they have not responded. Donations to legal fees would now be appreciated”. Also, the JC’s description of her as “a 32-year-old mature student and member of the Jewish Socialist Group and Jews For Justice For Palestinians” is highly selective - as in what it leaves out.
We know this as the Dulwich and West Norwood CLP has issued a statement which confirms she is also “a researcher on the Holocaust, a student of Yiddish and history, and a teacher at a local Synogogue”. That statement adds “the article was published with no warning or right of reply offered to the CLP or Annie Cohen”. And there was more.
“Given the flagrant inaccuracies, and the fact that even in advance of the meeting the Jewish Chronicle had run a story on it, we are deeply concerned that the Chronicle’s behaviour falls short of journalistic ethics”. And more.
“We understand that Ms Cohen is seeking legal advice on the grounds of defamation, and we have launched a complaint with the Independent Press Standards Organisation regarding the article … we call on the Jewish Chronicle to retract the article”.
It looks as if the JC is in check. Perhaps, whisper it quietly, it is in check mate.
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