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Friday 9 October 2020

Jewish Chronicle Takes Another Libel Hit

Legal bills, it has to be assumed, were a factor in the declining financial state of the Jewish Chronicle, which went bust earlier this year before its assets were acquired by a consortium including former BBC boss, avid Brexiteer and failed Prime Ministerial spinner Robbie Gibb. Also part of that consortium was Panorama man John Ware. Stephen Pollard returned as editor, and so did resident journalist Lee Harpin.

Sadly, as the JC has now admitted, the legal actions had not all been settled at the time its assets were liquidated: a defamation action over another Harpin mis-step has just concluded with the kind of apology that leaves us in no doubt that this was another smear.

Lee Harpin

In a number of articles last year, the Jewish Chronicle published a series of allegations concerning Nada al-Sanjari, including that she was one of a number of Momentum activists responsible for inviting an antisemitic activist to a Labour Party event and turned a blind eye to antisemitic statements published by a fellow activist. We also alleged that she had launched a vicious protest against Luciana Berger MP in terms suggestive of antisemitism, and that she tried improperly to interfere with a democratic vote at a regional Labour Party meeting” the JC tells, before giving us a glimpse of reality.

In fact, Ms Al-Sanjari had nothing to do with the two activists referred to and she has never been a member of Momentum. Although Ms Al-Sanjari was, with others, strongly critical of Luciana Berger in an online local ‘Disabled People Against Cuts’ members forum, she did not ‘launch’ or ‘orchestrate’ any campaign nor attend any protest against Ms Berger. Ms Al-Sanjari has assured us that she is strongly opposed to antisemitism and racism of all types. Further, we accept that her attendance and conduct at the Labour Party meeting was entirely proper”. They had to say sorry and pay damages.

Nada al-Sanjari had instructed Messrs Carter-Ruck, which means it was expensive. And once again, we see the JC casually defaming Muslims, a habit which has been picked up on by Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain, who has mused “It is unfortunately the latest in a long line of appalling articles by the Jewish Chronicle related to Muslims”.

You can read that thread HERE. Also highlighted is using opinion pieces from the likes of Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips to demonise Muslims. Jack Mendel, then at Jewish News, was not impressed at one manifestation of this: “A month after #Christchurch , depressing read from Melanie Phillips, calling the comparison of #antisemitism - #Islamophobia 'grotesque'. Far-right extremism, which kills in mosques, churches and shuls, is the problem. Denying it, helps it”. Versi had another example.

The Jewish Chronicle's editors know Muslims are fearful, as many in the Islamophobic far right feel emboldened. Yet they choose now to publish this vile piece [“Don’t fall for bogus claims of ‘Islamophobia’”] from the awful Melanie Phillips - as Islamophobia is on the rise”.

Daniel Finn of Jacobin Mag concluded “I'm sure we'll see keen interest in this expensive litany of falsehoods from journalists who were happy to lean on the JC's ‘reporting’. We might even get a few questions posed to John Ware and Robbie Gibb about why they were so anxious to keep Stephen Pollard in his chair”. Or we might not.

The JC is under new ownership. But the smear merchants remain. I wonder why.

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1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Karma comes around at the most inconvenient times, seems those who gave Jeremy Corbyn a hard time, are now faced with a potential large legal bill due to their chief reporter not bothering with the basics of his profession..namely fact checking and verifying your sources.

As a mature student, I have to do it for assignments, otherwise I could be accused of plagiarism.

It's not hard, but the time put in checking can save a lot of regrets later on.