‘Labour, Antisemitism and the News’: Fisking JVL Research

Jewish Voice for Labour is promoting this academic research on its website, by Dr Justin Schlosberg and Laura Laker.

The methodology is utterly shameful and shoddy:
1. State hypotheses which are clearly biased towards the Corbynite take on antisemitism;
2. Examine media reports to test conformity with these hypotheses;
3. Claim media bias when it is found not to conform to the hypotheses.

An analogy: ‘It is a fact that Mossad was responsible for 9/11.  All the media commentary that says otherwise is biased towards Israel.’

The jiggery-pokery begins on page 4 where the authors claim that a ‘Cohen’s kappa statistic’ score of .91 ‘indicates highly reliable findings’. No it does not!  It merely indicates that, using the skewed hypotheses, the two researchers come to similar conclusions about the 258 media units which they analyse.

Quel surprise. Of course this result has nothing to do with the bias of the hypotheses. Neither can it be explained by the inexperience as a student of antisemitism of Laura Laker, whose claim to fame is for cycling journalism. Highly unlikely that she would disagree with her colleague (a member of Jewish Voice for Labour, which exists to whitewash antisemitism in the Labour Party).

(NB the foregoing paragraph is ‘irony’ – which Zionists are not supposed to understand …….).

So what are the skewed hypotheses?

1. ‘Since its original formulation by the EUMC, the [IHRA] definition has been subject to considerable controversy and criticism by prevailing academic and legal opinion,  as well as dozens of Jewish organisations around the world.’

This is a lie. Critical legal ‘opinions’ have been commissioned by anti-Israel organisations: the Palestine Return Centre from Geoffrey Robertson QC;  Free Speech on Israel, Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign from Hugh Tomlinson QC.  Sir Stephen Sedley published a critical opinion which was not commissioned.  On the other side, the Campaign Against Antisemitism published a supportive legal opinion.  I am not aware of academic studies but if there are any, it’s a safe bet that they are hostile, given the prevailing anti-Israel rhetoric among humanities academics in the UK.  They would therefore be of little consequence.   As for ‘dozens of Jewish organisations around the world’, presumably he is referring to these: ‘Almost all the groups in the letter support BDS and are fighting to remove Israel from the map’.

2.  ‘According to an official response from the Labour Party, prior to 5 July the development of its code of conduct took place against the backdrop of “an open and inclusive consultation” in which “a range of Jewish communal organisations, rabbis, academics, lawyers, trade unions, Palestinian groups, local Labour parties and members took part”.’

A straight lie. Even if it was not a lie, what is the point of going through the motions of ‘consulting’, knowing full well that you are going to ignore the response?

3. ‘According to an official party spokesperson, the revised code of conduct was “positively received” by the Jewish Labour Movement (the largest Zionist Jewish group affiliated to the Labour Party) prior to 5 July.’Another falsehood.

Yet another example of the shoddy, blatantly biased anti-Israel drivel that is all too common from humanities academics at UK universities.



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