Chronicle attacks Corbyn meeting with Orthodox Jewish leaders – with more fake news

Steadfastly anti-Corbyn publication claims visit provoked ‘fury’ – but gets its facts wrong again
This morning’s Jewish Chronicle front page

The right-wing paper The Jewish Chronicle takes a steadfastly anti-Corbyn position – and has a poor history of accuracy in its attempts to undermine positive comments by Jewish people about the Labour Party and its leader.

Its front page article this morning is no different, claiming that a proposed meeting between Charedi (Orthodox) Jewish leaders and Corbyn this weekend has provoked ‘fury’ in the Charedi community. The article claims that:

Mr Corbyn’s decision to attend the meeting sparked outrage both within his local community and among Jewish Labour activists after it was revealed on the JC website on Tuesday.

The JC understands that Levi Shapiro, founder of the increasingly influential Jewish Community Council, was among those demanding that the meeting was cancelled. Leading rabbis within the UOHC also made clear to Mr Stern their anger at the meeting and said they would issue a statement condemning him.

Mr Stern relented and sent out a text message on Wednesday to allies that the planned meeting with the Labour leadership had now been postponed.

However, the SKWAWKBOX has heard a recording of a telephone call in which Mr Schapiro says that he told the Chronicle that he didn’t wish to make any comment except that he had heard that the meeting was ‘postponed for a different date’ – and then confirms that he had accepted the invitation to attend.

In fact, the meeting had never been confirmed for this weekend, as Corbyn’s calendar was already full with campaigning commitments in other parts of the country.

Past performance

As shown above, the article also claims that Shraga Stern, one of the organisers of the meeting, was the target of the anger of ‘leading rabbis within the UOHC’ (Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations). However, Mr Stern told the SKWAWKBOX that in fact there was a single rabbi arguing against the meeting and his arguments were rejected by the rest of the rabbis.

Thirty-four UOHC rabbis have signed a letter supporting Jeremy Corbyn – a letter that was also attacked as fake by the Chronicle, which later had to row back and publish information that it had possessed for a considerable time that proved the letter’s authenticity.

Significantly, that information was a text message from the same Levi Schapiro of the Jewish Community Council (JCC) mentioned in the above quote from the Jewish Chronicle’s latest article.

When the Jewish Chronicle reported the rabbis’ pro-Corbyn letter was a fake, its article claimed that the JCC had insisted the letter was not genuine – but Mr Schapiro’s text said otherwise:

Some twenty minutes after the SKWAWKBOX wrote to the Jewish Chronicle asking why it had claimed the letter was fake when it was in possession of the above text, the Chronicle published an article about it.

The SKWAWKBOX’s enquiry to the Jewish Chronicle’s editor about the text

Diane Abbott

The Chronicle also targets Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, who it said would also attend the meeting,

has been seeking to repair her reputation within the Charedi community after she was accused of sitting silently as a motion in her Hackney North Constituency Labour Party (CLP) dismissing claims that Labour was “institutionally antisemitic” was debated in February.

However, Ms Abbott has no need to ‘repair her reputation within the Charedi community’ – the UOHC has already issued a letter of strong support for the ‘generous’ support she has always given to their community.

Later in its article, the Chronicle attempts to cast doubt on the authenticity of this letter, too – but the letter is signed by the Registrar of the UOHC Rabbinate, Rabbi Yaakov Conrad and in it he makes absolutely clear that the letter was sent at the request of the Rabbinate after they met to discuss the issue:

The ‘activist’

The Chronicle suggests that Shraga Stern is an ‘anti-gay activist’ and includes quotes from right-wing, non-Orthodox Labour figures attacking Corbyn for meeting a ‘homophobe’.

Mr Stern told the SKWAWKBOX that his education campaign is,

for parental rights to teach relationship and sex education at home. It has nothing to do with LGBT but that sexual relationship education should be taught at home.

The Jewish Labour movement should not be attacking someone who is fighting for Jewish Charedi Tradition – and the Jewish Chronicle should not be treating comments by a single self-certified rabbi as representative of the whole community.

The (other) letter

The Jewish Chronicle’s new article continues to attack a recent letter signed by Holocaust survivors supporting Labour and its leader, claiming that half of those who signed didn’t know what they were signing.

The Chronicle’s first article making this claim has also been shown to push fake news, including a claim that one signatory denied she knew what the letter was about and was so distressed that she contacted the Shomrim, the Orthodox special constabulary.

The founder of Shomrim told the SKWAWKBOX that this was completely untrue – that he had been contacted as a family employee and that the signatory in question was only upset that the letter had appeared in the Sunday Times. He went on to express his anger that the paper had misused the name of his organisation in this way.

There are other aspects of the article that have been flatly denied as factually untrue by those involved, such as a claim that a representative of Diane Abbott visited the Orthodox rabbinic court in Stamford Hill last week “to show Ms Abbott’s concern at suggestions she had turned her back on the community“. According to Stamford Hill sources, no such visit took place.

The Jewish Chronicle was contacted for comment but did not have a representative available to discuss the issue.

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