Yet again, accusations of antisemitism are being made against the left – this time in an attempt to smear Unite incumbent Len McCluskey by association and bolster the dwindling chances of his main challenger for the General Secretary position, blairite Gerard Coyne.
A week ago, Coyne wrote an article for the Jewish Chronicle (JC) in which he appealed to Jewish people to ‘return’ to Unite – as if there had been some kind of exodus, an idea for which there is no evidence whatever. The SKWAWKBOX called him out on the fallacy.
The very next day, the JC published an article claiming that Coyne had been subjected to a ‘barrage of antisemitic hate messages on social media‘ from McCluskey ‘supporters‘ because of the article:
Various social media accounts were quick to jump on this and stoke up the outrage:
and even Len McCluskey felt he had to come out against the ‘members’ who were responsible:
There’s just one small problem with all this. The whole furore appears to wildly exaggerated at best – and completely fictitious at worst.
Let’s look at some of the ‘barrage’ of antisemitic abuse a little more closely, starting with the quoted anti-Jewish tropes, which are undoubtedly hideous.
For example ‘shadowy backers‘. The JC puts those words in speech marks, indicating that they are an exact quote. By putting them in speech marks as a search term on Twitter, it’s possible to search for that exact phrase. Here’s what we find:
Of the sum total of four instances in which that phrase appears on Twitter, two relate to something in the USA, one relates to right-wing group Progress, one is about a football club.
None is about Gerard Coyne.
But maybe the tweets were by accounts that have since been deleted? They would still show on Google, even if the links were broken. Let’s see:
Put “shadowy backers” and Coyne into the search box and only four results come up that contain the phrase and relate to Gerard Coyne – and they all link back to the JC‘s use of the term.
“Jewish Mafia” returns a number of results – it seems to be an appallingly popular phrase. However, not one of the results has anything to do with Coyne, his article or Unite.
Another exact quote in speechmarks is “cosying up to powerful Jewish…”. A search for that on Twitter returns this striking result:
Only two results this time. Both are links to the JC using the term – nothing else at all.
The remainder of the furore in the JC article concerns a Twitter account named @1unionbloke. The account was deleted, but references to it still come up in a search. That one account does indeed appear to have contained at least one repulsive tweet, which is the red one pictured in the Jewish News snapshot above.
A cached version of the account’s main Twitter feed is available from Google’s cache, but doesn’t show much except that the account was only set up in January 2017 – after the Unite leadership battle began. This raises the possibility of it being a ‘false flag’ account set up to misdirect people, but what’s visible on the feed doesn’t give any indication that it was. So it may be a genuine account.
However, even if it’s real – it’s one account. One account does not constitute a ‘barrage. One account does not constitute ‘supporters’ of Len McCluskey
One account, with only a single provable antisemitic tweet does not constitute anything, really – except that the person behind the account, if real, is an antisemitic idiot.
One account certainly does not say anything about Len McCluskey, his supporters or the supposed ‘hard left’, as the JC nonsensically terms, well, ordinary union and Labour members and supporters.
None of the tropes can be linked back to a single identifiable person, let alone to Len McCluskey. In fact, the only place it seems they can be linked back to is the Jewish Chronicle.
Which makes the whole ‘scandal’ look a lot more like a smear than anything else. Worse, using an antisemitism smear as a political weapon does a disservice – and risks doing damage – to Jewish people who have enough to worry about with the rise of neo-fascism around Europe.
Especially when it’s to support a candidate who just disgraced himself by writing for an ugly, right-wing rag that panders to those very right-wing sentiments– the Scum.
But mud sticks. And maybe that’s the point – especially if you want to revive the disastrous, unprincipled and dying campaign of a blairite challenger to a far more popular and substantial incumbent.
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