Well, that was an interesting hour or so and not in a good way.
In it, a so-called ‘journalist’, all-too-often featured on TV as well as in right-wing rags, managed to both disgrace himself and provide an object lesson in the cynical ‘weaponising’ of antisemitism and racism generally by a faux-Left desperate to divert attention from the light shed on its moral bankruptcy by Jeremy Corbyn’s integrity and track record.
The trigger for it all was my having the temerity to respond to an emetic tweet by Hodges – who says he used to be a Labour supporter, astonishingly – in which he attempted in his usual snarky fashion to smear Jeremy Corbyn by smearing his supporters:
Personally, I’m ‘staggered’ at the constant attacks on Shami Chakrabarti, which to me appear driven by racism, especially given that the report she prepared was welcomed by even right-wing Jewish groups until it became expedient to attack her and it.
But Mr Hodges seems untroubled by that, preferring to concentrate on ‘racism’ for which even the recent, supposedly-damning, lamentable Home Affairs Committee report concluded there is no reliable evidence.
Perhaps I touched a nerve, or else it’s simply Mr Hodges’ normal charm, but the response was strikingly offensive:
Dare to challenge Mr Hodges’ baseless assertion and you might find yourself tarred not just a racist, but a ‘racism apologist’. As someone who spends his own time, for no pay (unlike Mr Hodges’, who is paid by one of the most xenophobic rags) writing to expose and combat any form of inequality, demonisation or exploitation, I find the slur deeply offensive as well as risibly fact-free. But again, not out of character.
And note the dot before my username, which is an attempt to slander me not just to me but to everyone who follows me on Twitter. Classy.
However, I tried to respond with some humour at first:
Which didn’t do any good. Mr Hodges attempt at a retort simply repeating the same three debating failures, double-underscored-yah-boo:
If he’d ended it with ‘so there’ instead, it could hardly have been more childishly intransigent. So I tried again, a little more pointedly:
Nope, still not getting it. A couple of others challenged him on his approach or pointed out information that shows his ‘logic’ to be fatally flawed:
But Hodges essentially stuck his fingers in his ears and shouted ‘lalalalala not listening!’
Oh, the shining wit, Dr Spooner. I’d find Hodges simply ridiculous, were it not for the deadly serious side to his behaviour.
Do you see what happened? Faux-Labour Hodges, determined to smear Corbyn and his supporters and challenged about ignoring the racism directed at Shami Chakrabarti, is determined not to be sidetracked from his aim.
So he turns it into a racism accusation against his challenger, seemingly unworried about committing slander, perhaps because his employers have deep pockets, being owned by billionaire tax exiles and all that.
But the original point gets swept aside and ignored, lost in a tide of fake indignation and misdirection, so the perpetrator can reinforce his monomaniacal slur on Corbyn via his supporters.
No opportunity to use this tactic is lost, as the behaviour of his vested-interest supporters afterward showed. We’ll address that, briefly, in a moment. But first a bit more on Hodges.
My old mum used to say that people see in others what they see in themselves. You’d think Hodges would tread at least a little carefully given his own recent behaviour – which was denounced as racist – toward a Jewish person who had politely asked him to stop misusing antisemitism accusations:
I’d never be that crass, but if I had been I’d be backtracking quickly. But again no:
When challenged on the obvious incorrectness of the basis for his slur, as well as – correctly – on its ‘grotesquely poor taste’, Hodges simply responds in an even more grotesque way. When the facts about his nonsensical claims are pointed out to him, his response is to dig deeper:
The commonsense of his interlocutors stands in stark contrast. But it seems the only way Hodges knows to go is lower – with spelling that calls into question his fitness to be a journalist.
So much for Dan Hodges, the ‘useful idiot’ of the Daily Mail – which, incidentally, has a history of incontrovertible antisemitism and of applauding actual nazis. In view of his track record, being insulted by him is a badge of honour.
But it also triggered a sadly predictable, deeply unpleasant, but illustrative, response by some of his followers who were determined to revive smears against others and didn’t mind if they stooped to their own antisemitism and racism to do so, by launching into a hideous ‘not Jewish enough’ attack on the black, Jewish left-wing activist Jackie Walker and on Jewish NEC member Rhea Wolfson, who has already been antisemitically smeared by right-wing Labour figures attempting to prevent her election to the NEC. The fact that some of them claimed to be Jewish only made it more hideous.
Pictures of Ken Livingstone and Jeremy Corbyn in Nazi logos also appeared, again from Jewish people who should be ashamed of trivialising the suffering of the Jewish people for small-minded political ends.
The tweets are too disgusting to have a place here.
Mr Hodges is a ludicrous figure. But his tweets and the storm of nonsensical, fact-free, frankly racist shit that they triggered are a perfect illustration of the ugly, cynical, shameless tactics that he and his ilk – including some masquerading as Labour MPs – all-too-readily resort to in an effort to obscure the massive integrity and impeccable anti-racist track record of Jeremy Corbyn and the genuine desire for change for the better that his movement represents.
Shame on Hodges and on them all.