The Labour Party recently appointed Gordon Nardell as ‘Labour’s in-house Counsel’. The position is an important one. Gordon Nardell will oversee the disciplinary process on antisemitism. If we are to gauge Labour’s approach to antisemitism through this appointment, it would be safe to conclude the Labour Party intend to actively protect the rampant racism that exists within Corbyn’s faction.
I found out about the appointment on the 9th June. I was ‘handed’ a post that Elleanne Green had shared in the Facebook Group Palestine Live:
Palestine Live is a secret group and was the focus of a report into antisemitism inside the Labour Party that I published in March. Elleanne Green founded the group and has shared large amounts of hard-core antisemitic material. A few things about Green’s post triggered my interest, so I began to investigate.
Green had also commented on Nardell’s appointment in another Facebook Group ‘Labour Against the Witch-Hunt’. This group is exclusively for those investigated, suspended or expelled from the Labour Party because of alleged antisemitism.
At this point it became clear there was a problem. ‘Trusts’ , ‘knows’, ‘likes’, ‘phone advice’. The Palestine Live group contained horrific levels of antisemitism. Far right ideology, white supremacist sites, conspiracy sites, Holocaust denial and all other manner of posts were shared there. Much of the material was shared by the central actors and major activists. There was no infiltration, nor was anything misreported. Yet Elleanne was apparently saying that the man who is now to lead Labour’s antisemitism investigation seems to have played down the incident. He was a man she even cc’d into her letter to the party (protesting the investigation of her own activity).
If the admin of Palestine Live are happy at an appointment like this, it is time for everyone else to be extremely concerned.
On June 9th I reported on this ‘twisted’ appointment via Twitter. The Jewish News and Jewish Chronicle both picked up the story a short time later. The Sun ran a piece on the appointment yesterday (including my original screenshot without giving credit guys – tut tut).
As the news had broken, Elleanne Green changed her profile picture to one of her and Gordon Nardell sitting together. Here is a picture of them on a table together at a recent Labour Party Fundraiser at Mumbai Square in Aldgate:
Just like with Green and Corbyn, Gordon Nardell and Elleanne Green ran into each other frequently online. Before I look at some of Gordon Nardell’s more troubling activity, these are some of his likes on Elleanne’s posts.
Given Elleanne’s extreme views, it is also concerning that two of those three are related to the Israel / Palestine conflict. There were also comments on some of her posts.
It is true that the posts and comments are mundane, but that isn’t the point. It is the relationship between Green and Nardell that is the problem.
Hiding the evidence
During the night of 13/14th June, as I was finalising this piece, Gordon Nardell suspended his Facebook account. This may have been in response to the media sniffing around. It was before the Sun (and Mail) published their story, so perhaps he had been contacted by them and wanted to limit the damage. Jeremy Corbyn had taken the same action when it was discovered he had been a member of numerous antisemitic Facebook groups. In suspending his account, Nardell removed all evidence of his activity on Facebook. He was a little too late. Here’s more of what I found:
Gordon Nardell and Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone has been the highest profile case of alleged antisemitism to hit the Labour Party so far. The Livingstone case also highlighted the current stalemate that surrounds the party. In short, Labour cannot act against antisemitism and the problem is not going away. The Livingstone case dragged on and in the end, because expulsion would probably have caused an internal rebellion, Livingstone resigned.
What Livingstone said was antisemitic. You have to be going out of your way NOT TO FIND antisemitism to simply excuse Livingstone. He was a man with a history of antagonising British Jews. But Livingstone was high profile and for many of Corbyn’s staunch allies, he was an old political friend. It became a defence of ‘badly-judged comments’, as if such an excuse would be acceptable for any other form of racism.
A Labour member by the name of Stuart Axon shared this post in defence of Ken:
From the perspective of someone who wants to see the Labour Party fight antisemitism, this post by Nardell is more than worrying. Nardell blatantly suggests the accusations against Livingstone are just ‘anti-Labour’ nonsense.
Gordon Nardell, Ken Loach and Lenny Brenner
Another post connected with the Livingstone issue is this one:
This post was about the performance of a play called ‘Perdition‘ in Dublin. Ken Loach, who Directed a version of the play, is no stranger to accusations of antisemitism. Perdition has its roots in Lenny Brenner’s book ‘Zionism in the Age of the Dictators‘. The book is a badly researched piece of work, that creates fictions around the ‘Zionist’ relationship with 1930’s Germany. It was the source of Ken Livingstone’s ideas about Hitler and Zionism.
Nardell ‘liked’ the post:
This ‘like’ is even more troubling, in that it isn’t about the intent behind Ken Livingstone’s ‘ill-judged’ remarks, but seems to indicate support for the twisted history that underpins the entire argument. Brenner’s work is supported by the hard-left and far-right because of the value the historical revisionism has to the cause of antisemitic anti-Zionism. Brenner’s work has nothing to do with a humanitarian cause and those supporting it are seeking to demonise Jews that tried to navigate the stormy waters of 1930’s Nazi Germany.
Gordon Nardell’s Facebook activity places him at the radical end of the entire anti-Zionist movement. The post above was shared by the Facebook page for Jackie Walker’s play, called ‘The Lynching‘.
Gordon Nardell and Jackie Walker
Gordon Nardell and Jackie Walker had previously worked together on the monthly political magazine ‘Labour Briefing‘. Since Livingstone’s departure, Jackie Walker has become the new ‘high profile’ case in the Labour Party. When Walker’s original suspension over antisemitism was lifted, Nardell liked this post celebrating the fact:
Walker wasn’t done though and soon ran into trouble again. Having written a family history of sorts in a book published in 2009 that never mentioned the word ‘Jew’, suddenly Walker could rarely make a comment without speaking of her Jewish heritage. Rather than look at her own unacceptable behaviour, Walker chose a different path and set up a one-woman-show called ‘The Lynching’, which suggests the entire antisemitism scandal is a ‘witch hunt’. In Jackie’s world, Jackie has no agency, everything that happens to her is the fault of others, most specifically, the Board of Deputies, the Editors of the Jewish Chronicle, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Jewish Labour Movement, Jews who support Israel etc, etc etc.
This is a post of her advertising the show at the 2017 Labour Party Conference in Brighton:
Which Gordon Nardell also ‘liked’.
Support for Jackie Walker and Ken Livingstone? You cannot help but think that whoever signed off on Gordon Nardell’s appointment has no intention of finding any racism inside Labour, no matter how bad it is.
Gordon Nardell and Jewish Labour Movement
The post above refers to a rule change proposed by the JLM and supported by Jeremy Corbyn, that was passed at the 2017 conference. The post is clearly hostile to the rule change, but goes on to say that ‘the aim of JLM remains to prevent Jewish members and others criticising Israeli policies.’ It fits in with the mind-set of extremists who see the JLM as the ‘enemy within’ and there were even calls from these extremists to expel the JLM from the party. It is a denial of antisemitism and implies that Jews are making up accusations of racism to protect Israel.
Gordon Nardell liked the post.
What is building up is an image of someone who believes that the entire argument over antisemitism in the Labour Party is bogus. This is reinforced further by the next post.
The Campaign against Antisemitism action is ‘revolting’
The post is made by Pete Firmin, who is part of ‘Labour Against the Witch Hunt’. He is sharing a post by David Rosenberg that attacks the Campaign Against Antisemitism, calling them ‘the Campaign Against Labour‘.
This was Nardell’s comment:
Firmin like so many of Nardell’s friends has also been accused of antisemitism.
Nardell and complaints to the BBC
This post by Michael Rosen attacks the BBC over a Today programme that discussed antisemitism in the Labour Party. The offending remark was that antisemitism ‘could be found in ‘the darker edges’ of the party‘. Apparently this should have been challenged (I was unaware the BBC interviewer had to challenge the obvious).
Gordon Nardell’s comment:
Gordon Nardell is even writing complaints to the BBC over the suggestion that there is antisemitism in Labour’s ‘dark edges’. Jeff Samuels (and Jeff is hardly someone who is against legitimate criticism of Israel) is right to point out to Nardell that Labour has an antisemitism problem supported by a ‘compelling body of evidence’.
Nardell is part of the camp that simply denies there is antisemitism in the Labour Party. He liked this post made by the ‘Jewish Socialists Group’:
and this one by the Yevsektsiya group, Jewish Voice for Labour:
Nardell’s connections to those associated with the antisemitic swamp inside Labour are endless. David Avery, who is another member of Labour Against the Witch hunt, shares a post:
Gordon Nardell ‘likes’ it:
Like so many people who are ‘anti-Zionist but not antisemitic’, David Avery seems to have a fixation with Jews:
What exactly an ultra-orthodox school in Stamford Hill has to do with Zionism or the antisemitism issue inside Labour, only David Avery knows, but he still shared the post in the Witch Hunt group. The response by Richard Gerrard is spot on. Avery seems to have an odd anti-Jewish obsession. As do so many of Gordon Nardell’s friends.
Gordon Nardell and his friends
The post was liked by Nardell. I am always wary of anyone with a profile picture that is related to ‘Palestine’. With so many issues facing the UK, a traditional Labour member has so many themes to choose from. The crisis in the NHS, the cost of student education, any of the effects of austerity. How about an attack on the Tory party? All of the problems we have in the UK, why is ‘Palestine’ the most important? This behaviour is always a ‘warning’ to me, so when I saw Nardell had ‘liked’ this post:
I went to see what type of posts Simmons-Jenkins shares. These are just some examples:
Another friend of Nardell’s with a Palestine image for a profile picture:
And some of Stephen Bee’s posts:
Now Nardell is not responsible for what other people share, but as you begin to look at his friends list, which also includes Tony Greenstein, Elleanne Green and Gerry Downing, you begin to wonder whether Nardell understands what antisemitism is at all.
Dictating the narrative
There is clearly an issue here. Who thought that someone who has signaled support for Ken Livingstone, Jacqueline Walker and Ken Loach, someone who is friends with Tony Greenstein, Elleanne Green and Gerry Downing would be the man to sort out Labour’s antisemitism problem? What was General Secretary, Jennie Fornby thinking? Given what is presented on this page it is difficult to imagine ANY suspension or expulsion case that Gordon Nardell would have supported. In fact, from his activity online he clearly thinks the entire antisemitism scandal is a hoax.
This is a man who wrote that ‘it is unlikely to be possible to lay down a ‘clear and unambiguous legal definition’ of the term” anti-Semitism, and will only use ‘part’ of the IHRA definition adopted by the government.
The question is why have the Labour Party turned to Nardell for his help?
The answer is that this is by design. Just as elements within the party are trying to make people see JVL as a legitimate Jewish voice, so too they want an ally driving the antisemitism investigation. There is an attempt to dictate the narrative, to get rid of Labour’s antisemitism problem by placing at the front a fringe group of Jews that will suggest it does not exist. This is no different from the IHRC placing the strange orthodox sect Neturei Karta at the front of their Hezbollah demonstration. It creates enough confusion so that onlookers become distracted from the real truth. ‘How can Hezbollah be antisemitic, there are Jews here’.
This appointment shows that Jeremy Corbyn is attempting to surround himself with people who will help ‘bury’ the antisemitism. It is an strategic move by Corbyn’s faction to move past the stalemate. It’s a chess move and a dangerous one. This must not be allowed to pass without a serious response.
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