Labour Against the Witchhunt Calls for an Inquiry as Smeeth's Claims of 25,000 Anti-Semitic Tweets are Shown to be Untrue
|Smeeth has also been shown to be an informant for the US Embassy|
Remember the Press Conference hosted by Shami Chakrabarti and Jeremy Corbyn on June 30th 2016? It launched the Chakrabarti Report into Racism and Anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. Owing to the publicity-seeking antics of Ruth Smeeth, a right-wing Labour MP and officer of the Jewish Labour Movement, the main story that came out was about how a Labour MP had been subject to an anti-Semitic harangue by Marc Wadsworth. So upset was Smeeth that the poor dear left the press conference in tears. This narrative has continued to hold sway despite the video evidence of the day. It is an instructive story of how a media manufactured story can trump the facts.
Marc Wadsworth, a Black anti-racist activist of long standing had criticised Smeeth when he saw Kate McCann handing over a press release to Smeeth. It was clear to those like John Pinar of the BBC and other journalists surrounding Smeeth that Wadsworth clearly didn’t know his place. His lack of deference was quite shocking. After Kevin Schofield of Politics Home (a favourite contact with Labour Party leakers like Sam Matthews) and an ex-'journalist' on the Sun, who was sitting behind Smeeth, encouraged her to get up by saying 'I think this is antisemitism' , Smeeth, got up off her haunches and left. Although we are told she was in tears the camera did not manage to capture any, not even crocodile ones.
What the camera did capture though were her words of haughty anguish ‘Are you serious? How dare you, How dare you, how absolutely dare you’. It was as if the mistress of the house was talking to her uppity Black slave. Or maybe an insubordinate Black servant who didn't know his place. After a good 20 seconds during which she appeared to take advice she got up and left followed by the same journalists she was accused of briefing. Marc of course was immediately demonised in the press and expelled from the Labour Party before being readmitted only to be suspended.
|It was at the press conference to launch the Chakrabarti Report that Ruth Smeeth MP staged her tantrum and walk-out|
This tantrum and the orchestrated hysterics which followed were deliberately designed to destabilise the Chakrabarti Report and focus attention once more on the false anti-Semitism narrative.
Smeeth has been one of the key figures in the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement arguing that under Corbyn the party has faced an “anti-semitism” crisis. Smeeth claimed to be one of the prime victims of anti-Jewish abuse inside Labour. Smeeth alleged that she had personally received some 25,000 abusive messages online, most of them via Twitter, in a few days in June 2016, of which no less than 20,000 occurred within a 24 hour period.
|Ruth Smeeth - an informant and possible US agent|
These figures have always been suspect. Why would 25,000 people single her out over her histrionics? It is now clear that Smeeth was deliberately lying. Smeeth is no victim of antisemitism. She is guilty of false victimhood. Her purpose was to provide substance to the false anti-Semitism smears in the Labour Party, smears suspected to have originated in a deliberate campaign of destabilisation in the Israeli Embassy. She was also an informant for the US Embassy.
|Smeeth's orchestrated walk-out and tantrum was guaranteed to get maximum media coverage|
There is one major problem with her claim. There is no easy way to see how it could possibly be true. A new study by the Community Security Trust, a Zionist charity, identified only 15,000 anti-semitic tweets for the whole of the UK in a 12-month period that included June 2016. Either the study was grossly flawed, or Smeeth is a bad liar.
Smeeth did huge damage both to Corbyn’s personal reputation and to the Labour party’s image. She claimed that Corbyn's followers were responsible for a wave of anti-semitism and that under his leadership the party was no longer ‘a safe space for British Jews’. A headline in the Standard quoted her saying: “I’ve never seen anti-semitism in Labour like this, it’s normal now.”
Such quotes were intended to undo the good work that the Chakrabarti report had done and damage the Labour Party. Their real purpose is to counter and undermine support for the Palestinians and anti-Zionism. The Chakrabarti Report found little evidence of anti-semitism in the party, but this was entirely sidelined, as was intended, by the media furore that ensued from Smeeth’s claims.
The Jewish Labour Movement and the Zionist claim that ‘anti-Semitism’ is damaging Labour’s electoral prospects is false. What has damaged Labour are these false reports of anti-Semitism. The kind of PR damage Smeeth caused the party may even have lost it a handful of seats at the last General Election – one of the closest-run in recent memory – allowing Theresa May’s Tories to stay in power. Certainly Zionists like Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, Joan Ryan wanted Corbyn to lose. Ryan even telling her electors that she understood why they trusted May more than Corbyn.
Much of the following information is taken from research by Dr Alan Maddison who has also written an article for Jewish Voice for Labour.
The public relations damage that Smeeth caused the Labour Party may even have lost it a handful of seats at the last General Election
Remember also the wider context. Labour’s Blairite bureaucrats have been waging a witch-hunt against Corbyn-supporting activists, many of them anti-Zionist Jews such as myself. We have been suspended and expelled on trumped-up charges either of anti-semitism or of damaging the party’s image. The latest victim is the Secretary of Jewish Voice for Labour, Glyn Secker.
There can be absolutely no doubt that Smeeth did far more damage to the party’s image and standing through her allegations than any of these activists.
Will she be investigated? Will she be suspended? Will she even be criticised? Don’t hold your breath.
Evidence suggests Corbyn supporters may suffer the most abuse Dr Alan Maddison, 1st March 2018
On-line abuse is unacceptable and causes psychological stress as well as offence and upset. There have been repeated allegations that Jeremy Corbyn supporters are the worst offenders. They are accused of frequently being abusive to Labour MPs who do not support him. Such claims are mostly anecdotal, made by those who contested his leadership, but still need to be explored.
However, recent studies suggest it is in fact the Labour MPs that have been loyal to Corbyn who get the most abuse.
Corbyn blamed for abuse received by Labour MPs opposed to his leadership
Jess Phillips asked Corbyn to distance himself from Momentum after complaining about alleged high levels of abuse against female Labour MPs (Huffington Post, 22nd February 2017).
Previously Phillips said that “Jeremy Corbyn should name and shame ‘ring leaders’ abusing MPs’ (Daily Telegraph, 16thAugust 2016). She also said that she had received 600 rape threats in one night, and a further 5000 twitter posts involving sexual abuse, though she did not relate these solely to Labour (Independent 31st May 2016).
Ruth Smeeth MP claimed to have received 20 000 abusive on-line messages within 12 hours of the Chakrabarti press conference, and a further 5000 in the following weeks (Guardian 2nd September 2016). The implication was that these were mostly antisemitic and sent by supporters of Corbyn. Smeeth said that antisemitism had become “normalised” in Labour and that under Corbyn there was “no safe space for British Jews” (Evening Standard, 20th September 2016).
Referring to Smeeth’s allegations, Marie van der Zys, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said, “.....the party needs to drain the cesspit of antisemitism that has become so apparent in recent months” (Jewish Chronicle, 2nd September 2016).
Despite these public attacks on Labour, we still don’t know how many of these abusive messages were antisemitic as implied, and what proportion were from Corbyn supporters.
A minority of Corbyn supporters may indulge in unacceptable abuse and even hold antisemitic views, but the Home Affairs Select Committee, in their report into antisemitism (October 2016), stated that, despite Smeeth’s contribution, they could find no convincing evidence that antisemitism was more prevalent in the Labour Party than in any other political party. The same lack of comparative evidence applies to other forms of abuse too.
In a recent study undertaken by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research group (1), the largest of its kind, it was clearly demonstrated that contrary to repeated claims, people on the Far Left and Left of politics have a low prevalence of strong antisemitic attitudes (3.6%), and that this prejudice is indistinguishable from those from the rest of the political spectrum, except for those on the Far Right, where it is around 4 times higher (13%). You would expect manifestations of antisemitic abuse to correlate with antisemitic attitudes, and despite their small population size, the Far right has indeed been identified repeatedly as responsible for 60-70% anti-Semitic incidents motivated by political reasons, as reported by the Community Security Trust charity (2) shown below. Labour Party member perpetrators were never identified in these annual reports.
Given this evidence, we have to ask whether these repeated and damaging allegations about Corbyn supporter and antisemitic abuse represent the true picture. Three prospective, well-designed, studies into on-line abuse are reviewed below and may help provide the answers to these questions.
1. Azmina Dhrodia, Amnesty Global Insights, September 4th 2017 (3)
This study involved tracking on-line abuse for 177 female MPs over the 6 month period from 1st January to 1st June 2017. Of the total of 900 223 tweets received in total, 25 658 (2.85%) were judged abusive.
Below are the top five women MPs receiving the most abuse. There were two Corbyn supporter victims, with Diane Abbott MP getting around 8 times more abuse than the other four.
Amnesty Global Insights, 2017
We don’t know who the abusers were, apart from the fact they engaged in these on-line political exchanges, but it is likely many were members of political parties. As there are far more members in Labour (around 550 000) than any other political party, and as over 62% of these previously voted for Corbyn, it is likely that Corbyn supporters would dominate the membership participation in on-line exchanges. Yet as they are unlikely to attack the few Corbyn supporting MPs it seems reasonable to say that Corbyn supporters probably generate less on-line abuse than those supporting his critics, despite their greater numbers.
Jess Phillips is the only anti-Corbyn MP in the top 5, and got only 1/8th of the abuse to which Diane Abbott was subjected, which also rather argues against Corbyn supporters issuing most of the abusive tweets.
Some complained that at last year’s Labour Conference Corbyn referred to Diane Abbott’s online abuse, rather than the alleged antisemitic abuse. However, none of the Jewish female Labour MPs appeared in the top 5. This means that they each had less than 1000 abusive tweets over the whole 6 month period, or less than 5.5 per day. This is a surprising result, given Ruth Smeeth’s allegation that she had received 20 000 abusive messages in one day alone in 2016 , which is almost three times higher than received by Diane Abbott (by far the top scorer in this study) over the full 6 months. Perhaps Ruth Smeeth’s 20 000 abusive tweets were generated by robotic accounts and not genuine Corbyn supporters?
Jess Phillips, who claimed to have previously received 5000 ‘sexually abusive’ tweets, only received a total of 1002 abusive tweets over the 6 months of this study, an average of about 5.5 total abusive tweets per day.
Although abuses can spike significantly relating to specific events, it must be reassuring for those concerned that over the full 6 months period anti-Corbyn and Jewish MPs seem to have been rather spared. On the other hand it is of concern that Corbyn supporting MPs suffered more abuse than others, and that this is rarely mentioned in the media or the Labour Party itself.
A further analysis in this Amnesty study was made over the 6 week period up to the General Election. As shown below, we see with Angela Rayner’s inclusion there were 3/5 Corbyn supporting MPs in the top five and none of the Labour MPs opposing him.
Over the 6 months 25 658 abusive tweets were generated by 16 707 perpetrators, the highest rate was 236 abusive tweets over 6 months from one person. The average was 1.5 abusive tweets over 6 months per perpetrator, indicating these are not chronic repeat abusers as the media has often implied.
There was apparently insufficient data to analyse the influence of religion, but Black and Asian MPs received 35% more abuse than White MPs even when Dianne Abbott’s data was removed as shown below.
Racist abuse is related to racial prejudice, and racial prejudice has been repeatedly shown to be about twice as prevalent with right-wing voters than with Labour voters. Labour Party members have a strong tradition as being anti-racist too, and it is reasonable to consider that such on-line abuse to Black and Asian MPs has probably come largely from those on the Right, who strangely get very little media attention.
For the full 6 months period of this study, Corbyn supporting MPs, dominated by Diane Abbott, received 76% of abuse in the top five group, and 88% in the 6 week run up to the General Election. These findings totally contradict the allegations made in the media and by anti-Corbyn MPs.
This study involved female MPs only, but in the next study (McGoughlin and Ward) on-line abuse to all MPs were analysed.
2. Liam Mcloughlin and Stephen Ward, ECPR, 25th-29th April 2017 (4)
This earlier study into on-line abuse ran for 6 weeks from 14th November 2016 to 28th January 2017, and involved 573 MPs.
The Table below shows the top 50 MPs having the most abuse.
Jeremy Corbyn is at the head of this list, receiving over twice the abuse of Theresa May.
If we include Corbyn, his 3 supporters (Diane Abbott, Clive Lewis, Richard Burgon), and those 3 previously cooperating with him (Andy Burnham, Sarah Champion, and Ed Miliband), then these seven had 1203 abusive tweets. Those 6 opposing Corbyn (Chukka Umunna, Ben Bradshaw, Owen Smith, Chris Bryant, David Lammy and Jess Phillips) had a total of 718 abusive tweets.
As for the Amnesty study, these results demonstrate more abuse received by Corbyn and his team (63% of abuse to all Labour MPs in top 50) than those Labour MPs opposing him.
Of the 20/650 (3.1%) Jewish MPs in Parliament today, Ed Miliband was the only one included in the top 50 for abuse in this study, taking a proportionate share of 161/4761 top 50 abusive tweets (3.4%), though this is not necessarily related to his being Jewish. None of the other 19 Jewish MPs appear in the top 50. So Ruth Smeeth, Louise Ellman, Luciana Berger who have frequently complained about significant anti-Semitic abuse, must have received less than 50 abusive tweets (anti-Semitic or otherwise) over these 8 weeks.
The total of 6,952 abusive tweets came from 4,775 twitter accounts, and only 28 accounts sent more than 10 abusive tweets. Once more the media stereotype of chronic “keyboard warrior” abusers was exposed as false. Most abuse occurred as a reaction to an MP tweet rather than being planned in advance. Specific events could trigger spikes of abuse, and Anna Soubry mentions this in relation to the abuse she received over her Remain position when discussing brexit, including death threats. As around 88% of Labour Party members voted Remain, it is unlikely they contributed significantly to this abuse about brexit received by Anna Soubry.
Another finding contradicted the media theme that female MPs received more abuse than their male colleagues. For male MPs 3% of their tweets were abusive, for female MPs this was 1.7%, although female Mps did receive more gender –related “hate “ messages.
The authors of this study make quite a number of observations, including that the number of MPs receiving abuse may not have increased over recent years as many have claimed, just that letters may have been replaced by social media as a medium, allowing a greater volume.
They also make the important point that we need to understand what is motivating such abuse, rather than just analysing the symptom itself. The ‘political news packaging’ by the media, becoming more punchy and emotive, with more polarisation and populism, they say, leads to a more extreme and divided climate in political journalism.
3. “Antisemitic Content on Twitter”, 2018 Community Security Trust (5)
In this recently published study by the Community Security Trust (5) it was revealed that for the whole UK, over a 12 month period (from October 2015 to October 2016), according to the criteria employed, there were 2.7 million tweets concerning Jews, of which only 15575 (0.6%) were considered to be antisemitic. The authors found this low proportion rather reassuring.
This study covered the period in which Smeeth claimed that she herself had received 25,000 abusive messages, mostly on twitter, with 20,000 of these sent over a single 12 hour period.
The problem is that such a large number of antisemitic tweets, allegedly received by Smeeth, were not picked up in the CST survey which ran throughout that same period. In fact the maximum peaks the CST team found were around 200 antisemitic tweets a day, and that was for the whole UK.
While it is possible that not all of Smeeth’s tweets included the antisemitic key words used in the CST search, it seems unlikely that less than 1% of them did.
More abuse seems to come from those opposing Corbyn
Many allegations of abusive behaviour have been made against supporters of Corbyn. The findings of these three studies suggest there was far less on-line abuse detected, including antisemitism, than would have been expected from the previous allegations.
Furthermore, those MPs opposing Corbyn received less abuse than those loyal to him. This suggests that it is individuals in the groups that do not support Corbyn that are generating the most on-line abuse, which is the opposite of what had been claimed.
This is not surprising. Corbyn and the Left has received a volume of never ending abuse from the Tory tabloid press and it is no surprise that this has encouraged abuse on social media.
Phillips once observed that she found left wing men were the worst sexists. This is a strange generalisation from somebody who claims to fight abuse! Phillips also threatened to “knife Corbyn in the front” and allegedly brags about telling Diane Abbott to F***K off.
More recently, Smeeth is reported to have spoken at a Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) meeting at the Labour Party Conference in September 2017 (Jewish Times of Israel, 4th September 2017 ), about the need to “break and destroy” the leaders of this alleged Labour Party antisemitism. Words such as “break and destroy” could be taken as an incitement to violence against fellow Labour members. In addition, Ella Rose, the Director of the JLM, was filmed threatening to physically attack the anti-racist supporter of Palestinian human rights, Jackie Walker (6).
Such comments from members of the JLM, an affiliate to the Labour Party, would be considered abusive by most people, yet complaints by Corbyn supporters have been ignored.
According to McLoughlin and Ward, on-line abuse is encouraged by the sort of aggressive, emotive and divisive language described above.
Abusive behaviour, including that motivated by antisemitism, exists across society and all political parties. But there is no justification for allegations that abusive behaviour, or antisemitism, is more prevalent amongst Corbyn supporters than other Labour members, or indeed the general population. The allegation that most of Smeeth’s abusive messages were sent by Corbyn supporters has no foundation in fact.
The ‘training’ sessions currently run by the JLM are contrary to the recommendations of the Chakrabarti Report. They are inappropriate. The JLM is an openly Zionist grouping, i.e. it supports the worlds only ethno-nationalist state, Israel, which is a segregated and apartheid society where Palestinian Arabs are institutionally discriminated against.
Given the serious electoral and reputational consequences for the Labour Party, its leader, and indeed the possible impact on millions of Labour voters too, it seems important that the Labour Party undertake a full and urgent investigation into the evidence for the damaging allegations and criticisms that continue to be made by MPs opposing Corbyn.
1. Anti-Semitism in contemporary Great Britain” by Daniel L Staetsky, September 2017 http://www.jpr.org.uk/documents/JPR.2017.Antisemitism_in_contemporary_Great_Britain.pdf
2. Anti-Semitic Incidents Report, Community Security Trust, 2017. https://cst.org.uk/data/file/f/c/Antisemitic_Incidents_Report_Jan-June_2017.1501074748.pdf
Amnesty Global Insights.
4. Liam McLoughlin and Stephen Ward, April 25-29 2017, European Consortium of Political Research Joint Sessions, University of Nottingham, Nottingham
5. “Antisemitic Content on Twitter”, 2018 Community Security Trust (cst.org.uk)
6. “Ella Rose (Israeli Martial Artist) Wanting to Take Out Jackie Walker #Israel Lobby JLM”