October 16, 2017

Another Letter by Loach, Another Lie by Rich

Ken Loach has had a letter published in the New York Times refuting demonstrably false claims made about him by Howard Jacobson.

Here's the letter:
To the Editor:
Re: “Now Labour is the Enemy of the Jews,” (front page, Oct. 7-8):
Howard Jacobson alleges that I defended questioning the Holocaust. I did not and do not. In a confused BBC interview, where question and answer overlapped, my words were twisted to give a meaning contrary to that intended. The Holocaust is as real a historical event as World War II itself and not to be challenged. In Primo Levi’s words: “Those who deny Auschwitz would be ready to remake it.”
Exaggerated or false charges of anti-Semitism have coincided with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader. Discredit his supporters, and you weaken his leadership. The Jewish Socialist Group wrote: “accusations of anti-Semitism are being weaponised to attack the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party.”
We will not be intimidated. The Labour Party will continue to assert “the values of peace, universal rights and International law” as proclaimed in its manifesto.
KEN LOACH
LONDON
And here's what he was refuting:
In a moment that will live in infamy, the distinguished film director Ken Loach defended questioning the Holocaust. “I think history is for all of us to discuss,” he said, dodging the question of why the Labour Party should have chosen the Holocaust, of all historical events — and not slavery, say — to subject to scrutiny. 
But the defaming of Ken Loach didn't start with Howard Jacobson and didn't end with him either.  Dave Rich of the Community Security Trust thought he detected a claim of victimhood in Loach's letter.  He tweeted:
I immediately knew he was lying but I was pleased Ken Loach had another chance to answer his slanderers so I followed the link and word searched "victim".  Obviously, you don't have to use the word "victim" to claim to be one.  But on reading the letter and re-reading it, there was nothing there to suggest that he was claiming that he was a victim.  Scroll back up.  See what he wrote.  Any sign of self-pity?  This is a guy who supports the Palestinian cause.  It's inconceivable that he would claim victim status when the only reason he's being smeared is because he supports the cause of a victimised nation.  Of course, Ken Loach has been victimised but I think he has enough self-awareness to refrain from complaining about it.  He was simply setting the record straight.

So did he write anything at all that could be construed as claiming victimhood?  Let's take it line by line.
1.   Howard Jacobson alleges that I defended questioning the Holocaust.
Nothing there.
2.  I did not and do not.  
Nope, not there.
3.   In a confused BBC interview, where question and answer overlapped, my words were twisted to give a meaning contrary to that intended. 
 Nor there.
4.   The Holocaust is as real a historical event as World War II itself and not to be challenged.
Hmm, nothing in that line about Ken at all.  I'm starting to think Dave Rich made this up.  Surely there was a kernel of truth, as Goebbels used to say.  Let's keep looking:
5.   In Primo Levi’s words: “Those who deny Auschwitz would be ready to remake it.”
Aha!  Now I could give Dave a bit of a pass here and say that he might have thought that in agreeing with Primo Levi, Loach was actually likening himself to Levi.  See if he tries that one.  It would be all he's got because, well, let's see some more...
6.   Exaggerated or false charges of anti-Semitism have coincided with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader.
Nope, that's about Corbyn, not Ken.
7.   Discredit his supporters, and you weaken his leadership. 
Again. mostly about the leadership but also about the supporters.  Discrediting isn't necessarily victimising.  Dave to me is an utterly discredited figure.  He's hardly a victim.
8.   The Jewish Socialist Group wrote: “accusations of anti-Semitism are being weaponised to attack the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party.”
Now that's not a claim of victimhood, in fact it looks like Dave's job description.

Ok, to the final paragraph and what have we here?
9.   We will not be intimidated.
What we have here is a flat contradiction of what Dave Rich is claiming Ken Loach said.  What's extremely concerning is that Dave was so confident that his followers would "agree" with him, he even helpfully provided the link to the letter that he so flagrantly lied about.  If you look at the tweet, look at the replies too.  Last I checked I was the only one pointing out that Dave was misrepresenting what Ken Loach had said.

So to the last line:
10.  The Labour Party will continue to assert “the values of peace, universal rights and International law” as proclaimed in its manifesto.
And so we see, er, nothing to see.  And that is Dave Rich, one of the UK's most prominent antisemitism hunters.

But I did say in the headline, "Another Lie by Rich". So what else have we.  How far before yesterday do we have to go.  Well, the day before yesterday.  Really.  Check out this exchange between Rich and Jamie Stern-WeinerHere's a tweet that sums up the whole thing but there's a whole thread above and below it:
And from exactly one year ago, here's Dave smearing Jonathan Rosenhead of  Free Speech on Israel.

And here's what he was referring to on Free Speech on Israel:
It is impossible to know from the outside exactly what and who have made this moral panic [the antisemitism smear campaign] go with such a swing. Key individuals may well be Jeremy Newmark, well-placed in JLM, though only just in time, to fan these flames. The wily Mark Regev took up his post as Israeli ambassador in London at the start of April. In July Ella Rose left her job as public affairs officer at the Israeli Embassy to become Director of JLM. Who knows? Organisationally, judging by their public pronouncements there is an at least informal coalition of forces involving JLM, Progress (the Blairite pressure group), and Labour Friends of Israel which have all been promoting the idea that the left is permeated with antisemitism.
 See that?  Dave was clever here. He put the word "wily" in quotes but not the word "Jews".  So he could, and did, claim that he wasn't actually misquoting.  Again check out the thread.

And this is Dave Rich's job and, apparently his hobby too.

Dave Rich is just one player in this annoying and damaging game.  He's not a particularly bright one by any means, in fact, a sure sign that Rosenhead wasn't generalising about wily Jews is that, whilst many of the merchants of smear can be justly accused of fabrication, Dave Rich and many others can never be accused of being wily.

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