Yesterday the Labour MP Chris Williamson briefly trended on Twitter when he was attacked for retweeting an article that this blog had published hours before the horrific mass murder of Jewish worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue.
The article had nothing to do with Jewish citizens in the US and did not attack Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl, who was referenced in the title and had been accused of using an antisemitic trope in a piece published by the Jewish Chronicle. The SKWAWKBOX had written to Ms van der Zyl to invite her to comment:
The article pointed out that Ms van der Zyl appeared – as the Jewish Chronicle appeared to agree – to be under attack for a statement suggesting a degree of engagement with the Labour Party.
Williamson retweeted the link to this article – and was immediately ‘dogpiled’ for having done so on the day of the massacre, even though the article bore no reference to the awful incident and Williamson had been at an event all day, so may not have been aware of the news.
However, plenty of cynical exploitation of the tragedy has been on show – in the form of mainstream journalists who disgraced themselves and disrespected the memories of the victims by using it as an opportunity to launch further attacks on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn had issued a statement of unequivocal support and solidarity to the victims and their families:
My thoughts are with those killed or injured in this horrific act of antisemitic violence, and with their loved ones. We must stand together against hate and terror.https://t.co/3fpyISfJM0
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 27, 2018
But that did not prevent Guardian journalist Christina Patterson making a shameless attempt to link Corbyn to the terrible events in Pittsburgh during a Sky News panel that left her fellow guest looking stunned:
Pundit and broadcaster Bobby Friedman took a similar tack during the Sky News review of newspapers this morning, sparking disgust from viewers:
A contributor to Andrew Castle’s show on LBC made similar comments – and Castle was accused of giving him free rein to smear the Labour leader:
The same bleakly cynical exploitation was on show from print journalists, too. Patterson’s Guardian colleague Harriet Sherwood couldn’t resist a spurious reference in a piece quoting the public statements by various figures:
No mention of the Tories’ proven and recorded mass support in the European Parliament for racist, antisemitic Hungarian premier, but – of course – the alleged ‘Labour antisemitism’ got a mention.
Israeli journalist Lahav Harkov – who falsely accused Orthodox Jews in London of of forgery when a letter of support for Corbyn was published signed by thirty-four rabbis – used Corbyn’s words of solidarity as a platform to make her own contribution to the cesspit:
Chris Williamson was attacked for a retweet that had nothing to do with the terrible events in Pittsburgh.
But the man accused of the murders was a rabid right-winger – a Trump fan with a long history of the vilest racism and antisemitism. Those who attempted to use the horror he inflicted to score cheap points against a lifelong anti-racist disgraced themselves and were rightly criticised for it.
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