Is Jonathan Freedland the most dishonest journalist in Britain?

The Upper Immigration Tribunal overturned Theresa May’s Deportation Order yet Freedland still accuses Raed Salah of ‘anti-Semitism’

I was wondering, when writing this article, whether a new verb might be in order. To Freedland trans: to deliberately distort or falsify an argument e.g. through concealment of evidence esp. by a journalist

When writing a letter to Jonathan Freedland regarding his latest attack on Corbyn I asked myself – is this the most dishonest journalist in Britain? Admittedly the competition is strong but given the Guardian’s reputation as a left-liberal paper it would seem to me that Freedland is head and shoulders above the competition

John Bercow has failed to detect the anti-semitism in Corbyn that Freedland detects a plenty

Freedland’s attack on Corbyn as anti-Semitic is tawdry, even by his standards. He cobbles together 3 examples of Corbyn’s ‘antisemitism’ and ignores the testimony of the Jewish Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, that there is not a ‘whiff’ of anti-Semitism about Corbyn. 

He ignores Corbyn’s record as an MP and the defence of Corbyn by the foremost historian of the Jewish community, Professor Geoffrey Alderman and instead attacks him for associating with a Palestinian cleric.

It is worth examining this.  In 2011 Raed Salah, leader of Israel’s Northern Islamic Leagues came to Britain. He was the subject of a banning order but Theresa May’s Home Office was incompetent enough not to have told anyone. See Theresa May’s haste to ban Raed Salah will be repented at leisure

Smugness and superciliousness is written all over this ex-public schoolboy’s face

Raed Salah sailed through Britain’s immigration controls and addressed a meeting at the House of Commons.  The next day he was arrested and the First Immigration Tribunal upheld May’s decision. However in 2012 the Upper Immigration Tribunal overturned it, partly because the evidence relied on by the First Tribunal was a poem of Salah’s which had been doctored by the Zionist Community Security Trust which had supplied the evidence against Salah to the Home Office. The Zionists had included the phrase ‘we Jews’ in his poem.

How did Freedland report this in his Guardian article?

when a Palestinian Islamist preacher was found by a British tribunal to have peddled the medieval and lethal myth of Jews feasting on the blood of gentile children, Corbyn declared that man a very “honoured citizen”, and invited him for tea in the House of Commons.

What did the Upper Tribunal find about this allegation of support for the allegation of a blood libel? I quote:

First, and as pointed out by Professor Pappe, there is no reliable evidence of the appellant using words carrying a reference to the blood libel save in the single passage in a sermon delivered five years ago. Similarly, the reliable evidence relating to calls to martyrdom is confined to the same occasion. The absence of other evidence is striking, for at least two reasons. The appellant is a prominent public figure and a prolific speaker. The first indictment shows that his speeches are of interest to the authorities in Israel. In these circumstances we think it can fairly be said that the evidence before us is not a sample, or ‘the tip of the iceberg’: it is simply all the evidence that there is

In other words there is no reference nor was there to Jews feasting on the blood of gentile children. This phrase is entirely fictional, a creation of Freedland’s fertile mind. In short it is a lie.  Indeed Salah didn’t even mention Jews.  He made an allegorical reference to the blood of children. Salah stated

“We have never allowed ourselves, and listen well, we have never allowed ourselves to knead the bread for the breaking of the fast during the blessed month of Ramadan with the blood of children. And if someone wants a wider explanation, you should ask what used to happen to some of the children of Europe, whose blood would be mixed in the dough of the holy bread. God Almighty, is this religion? Is this what God wants? God will confront you for what you are doing”.

You could argue that the reference was ambiguous. Salah argued it was a reference to the Spanish Inquisition. Possibly he got carried away by his rhetoric but this was a speech made in 2007, five years’ previously.  It was only in 2012, as a result of the proceedings in the British courts that the Israeli authorities prosecuted him. In fact the first court, the Jerusalem magistrates court acquitted him of racial incitement in 2013 but the prosecution appealed and in November 2014 he was convicted and sentenced to 9 months.

The fact that both these cases, relating to events in 2007, were only prosecuted after the events in Britain demonstrates the artificial political nature of the proceedings. Israel’s courts are, for Palestinians, colonial courts.

No Israeli Jew, ever, has been prosecuted for chanting ‘Death to the Arabs’. The authors of a book Torat Hamelech which justified the murder of non-Jewish children and infants were not prosecuted

Rabbi Dov Lior – his view is that one Jewish fingernail is worth a thousand non-Jewish lives

According to the Jerusalem Post the book, published in 2009 and written by Rabbis Yitzhak Shapira and Yosef Elitzur of Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, was ‘an analysis of the Jewish laws of the permissibility of killing non-Jews during times of war and peace.’ This wasn’t some academic tome, it relates to the rulings of military rabbis during the attacks on Gaza and Lebanon who encourage the killing of civilians, including children in ‘war’.  Yet this kind of racism goes unremarked by Jonathan Freedland.  His writings are effectively an accompaniment to Israel’s targeting of Palestinian civilians. 

In other words Jonathan Freedland deliberately lied and distorted the facts about someone that the Israelis tried to murder on the Mava Marmara but got the wrong man.  Raed Salah is a dignified man who has been subject to the most horrendous persecution in Israel yet Freedland, in order to bolster his attacks on Corbyn, uses the victim of Zionist racism as a tool in his armoury.  Disgusting or what?

In my letter to him I quoted an old saying. It bears repeating:

You cannot hope to bribe or twist
(thank God!) the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
unbribed, there’s no occasion to.

I am sure that Freedland is unbribed but I’m equally sure that what he does is in conjunction with state actors both in Israel and Britain.

Tony Greenstein

Open Letter to Jonathan Freedland – Why do you feel the need to lie about those who cannot answer back?

To: [email protected]

Dear Jonathan

Your latest anti-Corbyn screed is possibly the most dishonest of all those you have penned since Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party. It is, of course, timed to do most damage to Labour’s election campaign. However your objective is so transparent that it is unlikely to achieve its objective, other than confirming that the Guardian has gone to rack and ruin.

As Gary Younge, one of the few good journalists left departs for pastures anew what are you left with?  A bunch of ageing hacks without an original thought between them – Rafael Behr, whose pomposity is his only attribute, Suzanne Moore, whose acid pen is directed only at people like Julian Assange and Polly Toynbee who is fading fast. 

Where are people like Jonathan Steele, Hugo Young, John Palmer, David Hirst, Michael Adams, Richard Gott, Victor Zorza (who you won’t remember)? You would do well to recruit the only decent Tory columnist on the market, now that the Mail has released him. I refer to Peter Oborne but I suspect that even he is too radical for you.

I digress. Your connections with the British state and Chatham House are a matter of record. I have no doubt that your article was in accord with the consensus amongst your friends that Corbyn, with his opposition to US imperialism would be harmful and dangerous to Western interests. It is that and that only which explains your concern with ‘anti-Semitism’.

If you were seriously concerned about anti-Semitism then you would have written something about a Tory party whose MEPs are members of the same political group in the European parliament, the ECR, as the representative of fascist and anti-Semitic parties.

10 years ago you wrote about this very subject. Your article Once no self-respecting politician would have gone near people such as Kaminski’ was immediately responded to by the leader of today’s ‘Corbyn is an anti-Semite campaign’, Stephen Pollard, Editor of the Jewish Chronicle. Pollard wrote that ‘Poland’s Kaminski is not an antisemite: he’s a friend to Jews’. And historically he was right. Anti-Semites have always been friends to Zionism. 

In the scale of things, sitting down with Latvian MEP Roberts Zile, who marches each year with the veterans of the Latvian Waffen SS, is somewhat greater in the order of things than accusing someone of failing to understand British irony. As Monica Lowenberg wrote in an open letter to the Latvian government, her uncle Paul was murdered by these same thugs, including the 15th SS Division, the most decorated of all SS Divisions, in the Riga Ghetto.

Yet despite your obsession with Corbyn you have not written for over a decade about the Tories’ links with Ziles or Kaminski, the Polish MEP who told the remnants of Polish Jewry to apologise to those who had burnt their fellows alive in Jedwabne.

Instead you construct a nest of lies and half-truths in order to substantiate your accusations against Corbyn. This despite the fact that the Jewish former Speaker John Bercow testified that there is not a whiff of anti-Semitism in Corbyn, having known him for 22 years. Similarly the foremost historian of the Jewish community, Professor Geoffrey Alderman, a right-wing Zionist like yourself, wrote that Corbyn has devoted himself to supporting Jewish causes in Islington including the preservation of the West London Jewish cemetery in the face of plans by Margaret Hodge’s council to demolish it.

Instead you rely on 3 bogus and dishonest examples of Corbyn’s ‘anti-Semitism’. A mural that Corbyn defended on free speech grounds, which contained 2 (not 6 as you implied) Jewish bankers. Nor were they hook nosed. The example of British irony not being appreciated by 2 Zionists born in this country was a contrast with a Palestinian speaker who was not born here.  Nothing anti-Semitic about that. 

Not forgetting your demonization of a Palestinian preacher, Raed Salah. You ‘forgot’ to mention that the Upper Immigration Tribunal had overturned Theresa May’s deportation order because his poem, upon which the prosecution relied, had been doctored. The Tribunal did not find that Salah was a believer in the medieval Jewish blood libel myth and indeed Salah himself made that clear in the pages of the Guardian.

We are left therefore with the conclusion that your only concern was to defend the most racist state in the world. Your concern with ‘anti-Semitism’ might be taken seriously if you devoted the same time to protesting the racist actions of Israel, the ‘Jewish’ State.

Imagine that the Bishop of Manchester decreed that non-Jews should not rent their homes to Jews?  Yet that is exactly what the Chief Rabbi of Safed did in 2011 when he ruled that Jews should not let their homes to Arabs.  He was supported by dozens of Israeli rabbis yet he is a paid state employee.

Imagine that hundreds of British Christians demonstrated against the sale of a house to a Jew? Yet in Afula, a northern Israeli city, such demonstrations have occurred in the past two years. Your silence on these and other manifestations of the racism of Zionism is revealing.

If British Jews experienced even a fraction of the discrimination that Palestinians citizens of Israel experience then your charge of anti-Semitism would be justified.  As it is you are a dishonest scribe, a paid propagandist, with an agenda that has nothing to do with anti-Semitism.  If as you claim 87% of British Jews believe that Corbyn is an anti-Semite then it is because of dishonest journalists like you.

I have submitted a response to the Comment pages but since you are the Editor I am sure it will not see the light of day.  It is such a pity that the brainchild of the late Georgina Henry is now in the hands of Chatham House’s servant. As the old saying goes:

You cannot hope to bribe or twist
(thank God!) the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
unbribed, there’s no occasion to.

Yours as ever,

Tony Greenstein