A few days ago, an *11500* word article was published on Medium. Titled ‘Enough is Enough: Rachel Riley, GnasherJew, and the Political Weaponisation of Antisemitism‘, it was written by ‘Shaun Lawson‘ and was quickly shared amongst many of the Corbyn hard-left support group. Everyone from Aaron Bastani to Owen Jones seems to have acknowledged it.
The article does exactly what blogs like this are supposed to do. They deflect attention from a problem. They also provide a weapon for others to do the same. This is an 11500 word article, which means nobody but someone as obsessive as myself is ever going to hold it up to genuine analysis. The ‘Corbynista’ needs to be able to answer the question about antisemitism in Labour. But he/she cannot do it honestly, so they need to be able to point to things and say, ‘look- here is the proof it is all a smear’. That is what this article is to them. It performs for the cult as a religious book does to a true believer. No critical thinking needed.
The Jewish equation
Shaun begins the article by deploying his Jewish identity. He is Jewish and his Grandmother was a Holocaust survivor. These credentials are important enough for Shaun to repeat them over and over throughout the article. But these are desperate shouts without value. Jews speak as people, not as Jews.
Surely if holding a view ‘as a Jew’ is important, then what the majority of Jews think is even more important, and Shaun is vastly outnumbered by the other Jews in the room. So why mention it? Shaun deploys his Jewishness as a minority veto. It is clearly brought to the battle as a weapon.
Why the right and not the left?
Shaun then moves on to create the landscape. He painstakingly seeks to paint the extreme right as the key enemy and asks the obvious question – why all the focus on the left? The question is ideologically naive. Why? It is absolutely true that antisemitism exists on the right. Nobody needs to be reminded how violent far-right antisemitism can be. There is however a vital difference. In UK politics, the (far-) far-right don’t have a voice. They are disenfranchised. The Tory party does not represent them and beyond the Tories are other parties and small groups of extremists – some of which have even been banned.
On the left, this is no longer the case. Far-left antisemitism is not seen as violent or dangerous, so it is more easily accepted into the mainstream view. Over the last few years, Labour have digested many of the extremist groups on the left – even some on the far-right joined Labour when Corbyn was elected. *They are inside the party*. If we seek to keep anti-Jewish racism from power, then the clear and immediate target would be fighting its growth in the Labour Party.
Even so, much of Shaun’s description of the political terrain misrepresents reality. As many have already pointed out – he downplays the level of public criticism given to those who associate with the far-right. The press do pick it up and contrary to Shaun’s distortion, they do talk about it. It seems for Shaun that no level of criticism of the right is ever enough, and criticism of the left is always wrong. From the perspective of the moderate, it remains impossible to deny that Corbyn’s election had an effect. People joined because of him (you can see some of Tapash’s antisemitic shares here). Tapash is only one of many, many examples.
Corbyn the innocent
Shaun needs to address the history of the current crisis and this is the point that his politics overtake his reason. Shaun moves on to excuse Corbyn’s presence inside the antisemitic Facebook Group Palestine Live. He suggests Corbyn was ‘likely added to this group without his consent’. Jeremy Corbyn had no less than thirty separate interactions with the Group’s founder Elleanne Green, even liking her posts about art and holidays. Whilst inside the group, Corbyn’s office arranged with Green for an event in Westminster and he only left Palestine Live *after* he had been made leader. At this point you realise Shaun is not dealing with facts. He has set out to cleanse one side and smear the other.
Shaun accepts that ‘an alarming number of posts in that group were disgustingly, revoltingly antisemitic’. That is good to know, but there is no acknowledgement from him of the number of those posts that were made by Labour Party Members. Shaun doesn’t even mention Jewish Voice for Labour, or the presence of many of their members in the group. More importantly, Shaun doesn’t acknowledge the number of these people, including the founder of the group, who joined Labour explicitly because of Corbyn:
Notice too how he distances Corbyn from the antisemitism in the group, when he says – ‘not many Facebook users scroll through a group’s entire content before posting something perfectly innocently‘. An attempt to turn the antisemitism inside the group into some random and rare event. Yet the research into the group showed that over half of the people posting actually share rabid antisemitic material, and some of Corbyn’s own comments were underneath highly problematic remarks:
Shaun, however, is not interested in any of this. He is just mentioning Palestine Live to lay the groundwork for his ten-thousand-word smearing of British Jews. What he seeks to do is convince everyone that the State of Israel, the Jewish press, the Jewish people speaking out against Corbyn and indeed 93%+ of all Jews everywhere, are actually the real antisemites.
Some of his arguments are at first glance logical. Take this one:
‘Anyone in politics who cares about this ever-protracted conflict and wants to help resolve it is bound to meet some deeply odious individuals, with whom they entirely disagree.‘
Clearly an attempt to cleanse Corbyn further by softening the damage of Corbyn’s past associations. Yet the logic always falls at the first test. Such an argument holds true if the ‘mistakes’ even themselves out, but Corbyn’s never do. In fact, he blatantly avoids meeting anyone that he personally would consider ‘odious’ (the Israelis) choosing only to meet with his ‘friends’ (the terrorists). Shaun is simply finding excuses for Corbyn.
There is no sense of introspection at all. The ‘what if I have it wrong‘ question is never raised. Shaun is ideologically blind, and anyone who gets in his way, is there to be smeared.
The smears begin – Gnasherjew & I
Having established his credentials and ‘vindicated’ Corbyn of almost all wrongdoing, Shaun can finally get to the point. After all, 80% of this article is going to be dedicated to creating his own web of conspiracy. Shaun begins, as all good conspiracies on the subject should, with the @gnasherjew Twitter account.
Gnasher (or ‘Gnash’ as I call them) is a small band of hard-working, dedicated Labour / (ex-Labour) activists who are horrified by what has happened to the party. And here we run into the first contradiction of facts. Shaun disgracefully accuses Gnasher of ‘Holocaust Denial’ of ‘doxxing’ innocent people and then he goes on to say, that I am probably one of the people behind the account.
Apparently, I have a rather disturbing ‘backstory’. I (are you sitting down), spoke at the launch event of Herut UK. But here it gets messy, as it usually does when someone is rushing to smear people without engaging in proper research. Shaun gets his facts completely wrong, wasting a few hundred words linking to, and then talking about Likud -Herut UK, (Likud UK) which is absolutely nothing to do with the non-aligned ‘Herut UK‘ group that launched.
So far he has made two accusations about me. Firstly, I am Gnasher (wrong) and secondly that I spoke at a Likud-Herut event (also wrong).
To show how absolute devoid of all understanding all this is, Shaun suggests that my choice of topic for the talk at the Herut event (Jabotinsky) was ‘curious to say the least’. To be frank, that’s balderdash. The father of Herut’s ideology was of course none other than, Ze’ev Jabotinsky.
Having earlier denounced McCarthyist tactics, Shaun then deploys them without shame. He suggests my friends are ‘far right lunatics associated with Britain First and the English Defence League (EDL)‘. He presents two pieces of evidence for this. One is a Tony Greenstein smear special. Greenstein of course has been expelled from the party. The date of that article was 21st March which means it was clearly written to deflect attention from the awful antisemitism I discovered in Palestine Live. The other is this image below:
I am walking down a road at a demonstration (bald head, black jacket) and someone has linked me via this image to the guy in the blue jacket in the background. His name is Paul Besser. I have no interest in what Besser is or is not, this is a clear guilt-by-association smear -the very thing the hypocritical Mr Lawson had said that he hates. And there isn’t even an association. I am on the same street as him? That’s it? Look at the image.
When you see it said I have links to the EDL – that is the image the smear is born from. Like his other errors, Shaun is building his castle on non-existent sand.
Collier’s friends – Jonathan Hoffman
Having wasted 10% of the article on making up lies about me, who better to move on to than Jonathan Hoffman. Shaun explains that ‘Hoffman’s specialty is intimidating pro-Palestinian activists; even Holocaust survivors‘. Notice here the addition of the Holocaust survivor smear. It is as fake as all the others. You see the vast majority of Jewish people, including Holocaust survivors agree with Jonathan and not Shaun. Jonathan is allowed to disagree with people, even if they are Jews and yes, even if they experienced suffering at the hands of the Nazis. There will be more of this ‘Jew on Jew’ action later.
In the Hoffman section, having no more on Jonathan than his tendency to become overly vocal at meetings, Shaun returns to attacking me. This time for my ‘offensive, racist opinions’.
Collier’s non-existent racist opinions
How am I a racist? Well, according to the dimwits on the hard-left of the spectrum, it is because I don’t believe the descendants of the refugees from the 1947-1949 conflict should be held in camps. I think (and I have stated this many times), they should be given full and equal rights wherever they are. The idea that the Palestinian refugee sitting in Lebanon is one day going to ‘return’ to a city inside Israel (a land neither they nor their parents ever stepped inside) is a cruel lie.
*It* is a lie that was supported and fueled as a political weapon, with no regard at all for the victims themselves. A lie that has held people in a perpetual prison for over seventy years. It is a lie that attempts to justify the daily abuse of their human rights. There is not a serious politician on the planet that believes the full Palestinian right of return is viable. It is true ‘some’ may ‘return’ to a new Palestinian state if one is created, but that is not to Israel.
I referred to this weapon as ‘it’. Shaun, claims it makes me a racist. Now, I assume he doesn’t want these refugees to remain refugees for ever. I would hope that somewhere in the midst of his clear intention to smear everyone who has a problem with Corbyn, he has enough room left in his heart to want them to be given full human rights. At the moment, some live in an Apartheid system in Lebanon. In the very speech he quotes from I state quite clearly, that the Lebanese should stop abusing the human rights of those people born within its borders. Only in Shaun’s mind does this make me a racist and I think he would have an extremely difficult time trying to defend that libel (amongst others) in a courtroom.
Hoffman the ‘far-right’ menace
Having completely missed the mark with me, Shaun turns his attention back to Hoffman.
Shaun plays at being McCarthy again. He has a picture of Jonathan in the same street at the same time as someone who is allegedly an EDL activist. Think about this level of association. Jonathan needs to know about every single member who may be in a crowd at a demo. For failing to do this he becomes a far-right racist to be smeared. And yet on the other hand, Corbyn can stand on platforms with some of the most odious people on the planet. He can lay wreaths at ceremonies attached to horrific terror attacks and he can call radical Islamist groups his friends. Yet Corbyn is fit to be PM and Hoffman is the devil.
The antisemitism trap – victim as aggressor.
Having dealt with myself, Jonathan and Gnasher, Shaun spends another 1400 words on the ‘rather brilliant trap’ that ‘has been laid for the Labour Party’. Overstating the size of his own marginal group of asaJews (those who rely on people like Tony Greenstein for evidence), Lawson seems to believe ‘some Jews’ are using antisemitism as an excuse to be rid of Corbyn. In a display of desperation, he uses the antisemite’s favourite video (that of Shulamit Aloni), to drive home his message. As he does this, he joins Stormfront, David Duke and every other antisemite in the world who has shared that video. What is he saying now? That antisemitism doesn’t exist at all, that it is just a trick?
Shaun portrays himself and other Corbynites as the victims, suggesting everyone is doing this just ‘to silence liberal Jews’. In other words, all those people complaining about antisemitism are actually antisemites attacking Jews – but only ‘good Jews’ are allowed to be the victims. In a feat of literary brilliance, Shaun has managed to turn Corbyn’s antisemitic thugs (and let’s face it there are no shortage of them) into innocent victims and to place the blame on British Jews.
The Jewish Chronicle and Stephen Pollard
Shaun Lawson then spends the next 11% of the article attacking Stephen Pollard and the Jewish Chronicle. Pollard has probably written millions of words, and in any haystack, there are bound to be some items useful for distortion. Because that is all this is, a smear attack seeking anything that can be decontextualised and used against the author. Lawson ludicrously suggests Pollard’s opposition to Islamofascism (radical Islamists) is racist. We are back at the same type of smear he used against me. Much of the Middle East has been swimming in innocent blood for decades. The vast majority of the people living in the Middle East, would agree 100% with Pollard’s commentary.
It is absolutely absurd to suggest that those who want to see a more open, liberal society in the Middle East, or those who seek to protect ours over here, are racists. It is almost as if Lawson is suggesting that radical Islam is a racial characteristic that needs protecting. There is little more racist or dehumanising than that.
The rest of his attack on Pollard is no less weak. Pollard is the editor of a newspaper. He has annoyed a few people in his time. Big wow. NEWSFLASH. Pollard has annoyed me too at times. So what? He is there to do his job, not please me or anyone else.
Shaun Picks on the numbers lady
Lawson labours on. The next 3000 words (over 25% of the article) are dedicated to bashing people like Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman. Lawson’s ‘beef’ with Riley begins when Riley doesn’t read an article that he sent her. He was clearly annoyed enough to mention it. In fact in the article, there are several examples of this type of response. When you do not take him seriously, Shaun Lawson gets broigus. Shaun then begins to smear Rachel via her associations. This time it is via her ‘praising’ of Sussex Friends of Israel. No need for further analysis here – the links he relies on for evidence are, as usual, devoid of all credibility.
There is a sewer that exists to discredit those like Simon Cobbs at Sussex. Most of those engaged with creating it are antisemites. Simon has been fighting Israel’s corner for years. On the streets and in the face of real hate. Finding words to be twisted, moments we became angry, images that show us walking near someone that can be used to discredit us are all Soviet Union tactics.
Shaun loves saying Jews are being antisemitic. He tries to play that trick on Rachel too. Why? Because when Riley referenced Sugar’s ‘Jewishness‘ in a tweet, she was being antisemitic. Shaun – this level of discourse is puerile. Sugar did not mention his Jewishness in that specific video (although he explicitly ruled out avoiding tax as a motive). Sugar has raised his Jewish roots and the problem of antisemitism numerous times over the last few months. If as Lawson claims ‘ hardly anyone even knows that he’s Jewish, let alone cares about it‘, then we are really in trouble. It means a sitting member of the House of Lords can complain about anti-Jewish racism and nobody even listens. That’s the logical assumption from Lawson’s words, not mine.
At this point, people are poring over ever single word in every tweet or interview that Riley has ever uttered. I wouldn’t be surprised if hard-core Corbyn activists haven’t employed code-breakers to see if one or more of the range of numbers Riley put together on Countdown cannot be twisted to imply the delivery of some dark coded message.
It is truly a disgraceful episode to watch. Rachel Riley put her head up because she fights against racism. In return she received a torrent of abuse. She objected to the torrent and received a tsunami. Anyone paying attention can see this, but Lawson is having none of it. Instead he joins in with a horde of antisemites in attempts to discredit her and twist what she has said into something that can be used against her. This is the Corbyn cult at its vulgar best. He then tries to smear Rachel again, by taking another swipe at me. This one deserves special mention.
Everyone a Jew
A few weeks ago I noticed the ‘haters’ circulating video footage taken in February 2017.
It was an interesting event. My research from that specific event showed that 40% of those at the demonstration share hard-core antisemitic material. You would think perhaps that Lawson would be more interested in asking why the Neturei Karta are standing amongst such a crowd, but no, he wants to attack me. He suggests, people should reject me because of how David Collier ‘allows his fellow Jews to be insulted and abused in public’.
Firstly, David never opens his mouth. He attends, he makes notes or records and then he writes. So the core criticism is balderdash but it is far deeper than that. Everyone in that image is Jewish. Which means this is an internal Jewish argument. Once again Lawson’s bias shines through. He seems to be saying that these fringe Jews (NK are most certainly not with the secular anti-Zionists on the left) are more important than the 93% he disagrees with. Lawson doesn’t deal with this as Jewish people arguing, he sees this as ‘bad Jews – the 93%’ abusing ‘good ones’. Just as he does in his false accusation of Holocaust Denial, Lawson denies the Jewish majority the right to disagree with the small minority. We are being antisemitic if we argue with ‘good Jews’. He is in effect employing a two-class system.
Back to Riley
Shaun shambles on, throwing even more inaccurate accusations. He suggests Riley called Chomsky an antisemite. She didn’t. Just as with everything else in the article, these accusations are poorly researched. His next trick is to blame Riley for an episode with a sixteen-year-old activist she had no part in.
The whole episode of the sixteen-year-old reeks of behind-the-scenes manipulation and if any one of these people had any real sense of duty towards her, they’d pull her away from the action. You cannot push a 16-year-old into the action and then hold up the fallout as evidence of anything. Who are these people, Hamas?
Then the clearly vindictive, spiteful Lawson writes this – ‘For her conduct, Riley should be fired from her job.’ I’m sorry but what? What a spiteful, awful man. But the whole article is one hypocritical, badly researched, rant by someone who hits out in spite.
Shaun, Smears and nothing but the smears
The article seeks to attack everyone and Lawson goes out of his way to associate everybody with antisemites. I cannot imagine he did not use a check-list for this process. Apparently most of the people listed are mentioned (like Emma Feltham) because they liked a tweet, by someone, who once posted something Lawson thinks is antisemitic. I am once again reminded of the relationship between Jeremy Corbyn and Elleanne Green. That wasn’t on Twitter (which is far more anonymous), but on Facebook. If one single like is enough for Lawson to attack these people in an article, why is he still desperate for Corbyn, a man whose sticky fingerprints are all over the accounts of antisemites, to become our PM?
Antisemitism and anti-Zionism
As Lawson draws to a close, he attempts to sound rational on the issue of antisemitism and anti-Zionism. It doesn’t work. Nothing he does works. I’ve spent years in Labour forums: either Lawson is blind or he is deluded. He understates the correlations between antisemitism and anti-Zionism and minimises the true nature of antisemitism by portraying it as little more than someone’s anger at Israel, causing them to slightly exaggerate their feelings. I don’t remember too many people at the height of their opposition to the Iraq war asking for the entire UK to burn in hell. Lawson has clearly swallowed anti-Israel propaganda whole and his rants on Israel are not intellectually supportable.
Like many far-left Zionists (are you really still a Zionist Shaun – who quotes Greenstein?), his emotional ties with Israel are a mixture of guilt and anger. He feels as if Israel is personally letting him down. It is poppycock of course, but as we have already seen, when Shaun thinks you have let him down, he holds a grudge. Shaun’s anti-Israel rants are his spiteful revenge.
Shaun attacks Riley again
Lawson clearly has a fetish for Rachel Riley, because on the subject of Zionism, he brings her up again. Lawson simply will not leave Rachel Riley alone. Yet of all the people who fight against antisemitism who also speak out on Zionism why on earth is he picking on Rachel for this? He even says ‘Riley is especially fond of educating her audience on Zionism‘. Riley hardly ever touches the subject and when she does, she can be quite critical. But ‘truth’ is of no relevance here. Lawson is trying to smear everyone who has annoyed him, with as much baggage as possible.
And his conclusion
Mercifully for us, Lawson’s conclusion is only as long as an average blog should be (1300 words). I use it just to make sure I have covered all his central points. 75% of his conclusion gives away his motives. It is all about how bad the world is, how bad our government is and how good a true socialist government could be. The final quarter is just to accuse Jews of weaponising antisemitism. Of a calculated smear designed to unseat Corbyn. And he ends as all leftist fools end, by talking about the threat of right-wing antisemitism, totally oblivious to the hard-core antisemitism of the left that swims alongside him. Take a look at this tweet from a couple of days ago:
This is the level of Corbyn’s thugs and their vindictive nature. These people are looking at my family. Once the British Jews have been firmly disenfranchised (we are just working for a foreign power), we then become legitimate targets for this level of abuse. I mean, this isn’t even hidden. This is just a signal. An act of intimidation. Which articles such as Shaun’s enable and empower.
In the end it we all need to put Shaun’s ‘hornswoggling boondoggle’ (H/T Susie Dent) to one side and ask a series of simple questions.
Do the antisemites in the Labour Party exist? And the answer is yes they do. Far more than Corbyn’s cultists are willing to admit.
So question two – have the Labour Party dealt with them? The answer is that they most certainly have not.
Which leave one final question. Why not? And it is the answer to that question that Shaun Lawson wrote 11500 words deflecting attention from. It doesn’t matter that there isn’t an ounce of value or honesty in any of it. It wasn’t written to do anything but change the subject.
I recently purchased Nur Masalha’s latest book ‘Palestine – a Four Thousand Year History’. The book is yet another brick in the wall of absolute balderdash currently being constructed under the umbrella of modern academia. It butchers history, draws impossible connections and is plugged by an inner circle of academic revisionist activists who all engage in the same industry. I am working my way through it now and will review it when completed.
In March 2018 I published the Palestine Live report. It mainly focused on antisemitism within the UK context. However, the secret group had a global reach and many members from the United States were highly active in the group. By spotlighting them, it is possible not only to draw attention to the antisemitic swamp that key activists in prominent ‘peace groups’ operate inside, but also to point out the comfort with which they they mingle with far-right extremists. The report draws from the 10000s of screenshots taken during the original research and has involved building a cross-Atlantic partnership to identify key activists.
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