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Friday 1 May 2020

Jewish Chronicle Back - And Smearing

After the Jewish Chronicle apparently went bust, there was a brief and rather undignified battle for the title’s assets, this being won by a consortium including former Downing Street spinner Robin Gibb and various others. The winners reinstated former JC editor Stephen Pollard to the editor’s chair from which he had appeared likely to be ejected. And all was well - there was even a place for former JC stalwart Lee Harpin.
Prof John Ashton

So what stories would be pitched to pique the interest of potential readers? Ah well. Here we get to the heart of the matter: it soon became clear that the kind of nudge-and-wink smear journalism that had been pitched by the likes of Pollard and Halpin - and which had landed the JC in legal hot water recently - would be the order of the day.

And, as with the hatchet job on Audrey White, it is Labour-supporting figures who are being targeted, the first high profile subject being Professor John Ashton, who has had the audacity to possess expert knowledge on epidemiology. This meant he was in demand for media appearances on the Coronavirus pandemic. He criticised the Government’s approach. And with the certainty of night following day came the personal attacks.

Ashton had been a Labour supporter. Thus his expertise could be dismissed. Then in waded Harpin, who had been trawling through Ashton’s Twitter back catalogue. Like what? “Writing in November 2012 in response to Israeli military actions in Gaza, he stated: ‘Sickening to see Zionists behave like Nazis.’” He said that in response to former Labour MP John Woodcock. Woodcock is one of those on the consortium taking over the JC.

He also Tweeted “Time for an enquiry in Labour Friends of Israel. A party within a party”. What else has offended Harpin’s sensibilities? “The academic, who has held positions at Liverpool and Southampton universities, wrote in April 2018 that: ‘In Germany in the 1930s the Nazis blamed the Jews for everything. In UK in 2018 the Tories blame Corbyn for everything.’” And then came an anonymous follow-up article.
Lee Harpin. Twitter feeds trawled while you wait

With the ominous claim “Senior members of Conservative Friends of Israel have written to BBC Director General Lord Hall of Birkenhead to express their 'grave concerns' over the inclusion of public health expert Professor John Ashton in BBC programming after the JC revealed his history of inflammatory statements about ‘Zionists’, Israel and Jews”.

Let’s just take a step back and consider the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which, let us not drive this one around the houses for too long, is what is being implied against Ashton. “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities”. Was Ashton practising Jew-hatred? No, he was not.

He may have been unwise to use terms such as “Zionist”, given that its abbreviated version “Zio” has become a loaded term right now. But not anti-Semitic. That, though, is not where Harpin and Pollard are at. They are trying to drive John Ashton out of public life.

That’s the same John Ashton whose expertise is key to understanding Covid-19, which is killing British Jews at a disproportionally high rate - three times the national average. But hey, what’s a nudge-and-wink hit job between friends? Funny old world.
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grim northerner said...

Modern mcarthyism, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

John Ashton was also at the forefront of the campaign for justice for the Hillsborough families. Within days of the disaster he was on TV denouncing Murdoch/Rothermere lies. It was he who helped uncover solid evidence of establishment alteration of statements and other related matters.

So small wonder a far right tory shitrag like the Jewish Chronicle has gone after him. His condemnation of publicly recorded Israeli government atrocities against innocent Palestinians is guaranteed to have nutjob fanatics like Pollard and Harpin spitting rabid hate.

But Ashton is a strong human being. Whereas the Jewish Chronicle is riddled top to bottom with cowardice and corrupt propaganda.

More power to Ashton's opinions. 40 years of facing down far right scumbags has made him more than capable of crushing powerful enemies, let alone tenth rate lying gobshites.

Sam said...

Uniquely, the vast majority of Britain's Jewish community wouldn't support the JC unlike every other newspaper aimed at Jewish communities around the world. The message is clear - they obviously don't like what the JC was selling. It's now a vanity publication not unlike some of Murdoch's newspapers which he props up to wield power but Murdoch has a far larger readership. The fanatics who contribute to the JC may have thought they were on a real winner attacking Corbyn with such viciousness but it hardly made a dent in the electron despite the ballyhoo. The election was lost by Labour's bungled EU stance. At most the endless antisemitism propaganda campaign sucked the oxygen out of Labour's message in the MSM. Pollard and the JC are now about to find out they are merely shouting into the wind and the only attention they'll get with the rag is perhaps on Twitter etc. If they couldn't even get the attention of the market they aimed at before the election, what makes them think anyone gives a toss about them now?