IMPRESS should never have investigated "anti-Semitism" in the first place - #33
"Lord" Mann's McCarthyist, fake anti-Semitism smear campaign should have been dismissed with the contempt it deserves.
There was some good news this week.
The press regulator IMPRESS absolved left-wing independent media outlets The Canary and The Skwawkbox of anti-Semitism, after a seven-month investigation. Both publications issued magnanimous statements in which they spoke highly of IMPRESS and welcomed their findings.
But in my view it was an utter disgrace that IMPRESS ever launched their investigation in the first place.
Tory-appointed “Lord” John Mann has a decades long record of acting as a leading British propagandist for Israel, incessantly smearing the country’s critics as “anti-Semitic.” He is a proven bigot and a right-wing fanatic.
IMPRESS admits it only launched its investigation into the two websites “following the publication” of a farcical academic report commissioned by Mann supposedly on “Antisemitism and the ‘alternative media’.”
In fact that report was nothing but a whitewash for Israel. Its methodology alone made that clear.
Not only did it classify reporting on “wrongdoing” by any Jewish person as supposed evidence of anti-Semitism, but even articles that make “accusations of wrongdoing” against “the Israeli state” or “Israeli politicians (such as Benjamin Netanyahu)” are disgusting classified as “anti-Semitic” almost by definition.
The agenda of the the report could not be any clearer.
The CAA, you may recall, is the same Israel lobby group which soon after 2019’s Labour election defeat boasted in a (probably drunken) online video rant that it had “slaughtered” Jeremy Corbyn, “the beast,” using “our spies and intel.”
What on early was IMPRESS — which is supposedly independent from government pressure — doing taking McCarthyist liar John Mann seriously?
This was clearly an attempt by the government’s so-called “anti-Semitism Tsar” (irony upon ironies) to censor and destroy leading left-wing news websites. IMPRESS should have proven its independence by issuing an immediate press release dismissing both the report and “Lord” Mann with the contempt they deserve.
Instead, they caused seven months of further disruption and stress to two of the country’s leading left-wing news websites. The Canary’s chief operating officer Nancy Mendoza has written an insightful article detailing the past few years of the smear campaign against against them.
In that piece she also details some of the material and personal costs against them. Several of The Canary’s senior personnel are Jewish themselves, including Nancy:
For those of us who are Jewish there is another layer to this, which is that we know what genuine anti-Semitism looks and feels like…
I know that our opponents want to break us down and make us back off because staying in the fight is intolerably painful, so I’m hesitant to admit that they have come close to succeeding with me. I live with Complex PTSD and I am autistic, both of which contribute to making me an extremely sensitive person. I’ve had a lifetime of bullying so all of this is massively triggering to me and I’ve been in a pretty much constant state of fight or flight throughout. This has exacerbated my chronic physical health conditions and to be honest my whole nervous system has basically been in meltdown.
John Mann is nothing more or less than a right-wing liar and bully.
I also recommend this interview by my good friend Lowkey with the excellent journalist John McEvoy. In the first 12 minutes or so, John details the anatomy of the Israel lobby’s smear campaign against left-wing media in the UK and how it directly targeted its funding sources.
As John says, this should be better known, so have a watch.
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My work this week
On Friday I broke the news for The Electronic Intifada that a second internal report commissioned by Bristol university totally exonerated David Miller of anti-Semitism. As most readers will know, despite this, the university sacked him last month, after a years-long smear campaign against him by Israel and its lobby.
Jewish Voice for Labour responded to my latest article, saying on Saturday:
The report evaluates what David Miller said and wrote at length. It explicitly clears him of all charges regarding unlawful or anti-Semitic speech, or harassment.
Reading it we find it incomprehensible that the University of Bristol thought it had grounds for dismissal.
Two Middle East Monitor columns this week. This first one is about “Blue Wolf,” the latest element in the Israeli total surveillance edifice against Palestinians.
Blue Wolf is a smartphone technology and wider facial recognition system which scans the faces of every Palestinian it comes into contact with.
In the Palestinian city of Hebron, a network of CCTV cameras “dubbed ‘Hebron Smart City,’ provides real-time monitoring of the city's population and, one former soldier said, can sometimes see into private homes.”
My second column was on the latest developments around NSO Group, the Israeli spyware firm which I’ve covered a lot.
This week it emerged that Silicon Valley giant Apple is suing Israeli spyware maker NSO Group.
The creators of the iPad, the iMac, the iPhone and so many other iconic computer products announced that they had filed the suit so as to hold NSO “accountable for the surveillance and targeting of Apple users.”
Read the full piece here.
Finally, I appeared on Turkish station TRT World’s programme Strait Talk, to discuss Blue Wolf with their presenter Ayse Suberker. Check it out in the video above.