Rebutting JVL research: ‘Smoke Without Fire: The Myth of a Labour Antisemitism Crisis.’

This chapter in a new book can be found here.

Assertion: Jeremy Corbyn has been MP for Islington North since 1983—a constituency with a significant Jewish population. Given that he has regularly polled over 60% of the vote (73% in 2017) it seems likely that a sizeable number of Jewish constituents voted for him.

Fact: The Jewish population of Islington North is just 1.1% (Source: Census). It is perfectly possible that Corbyn won 73% of the vote without any Jewish voter voting for him.

Assertion: Prima facie, the allegation that Corbyn is an antisemite is a libel that may be dispensed with.

Fact: There is extensive evidence. The vast majority will accept the verdict of the current and former Chief Rabbi, over that of JVL.

Assertion: ………a 2017 survey (the largest of its kind ever conducted) found that ‘levels of antisemitism among those on the left-wing of the political spectrum, including the far-left, are indistinguishable from those found in the general population’. ”

Fact: I fisked that appalling JPR report here.  Their definition of ‘antisemitism’ is incomplete and wrong.

Assertion:  ….the prevalence of anti-Jewish prejudices appears to have declined across the political spectrum during Corbyn’s time as leader.

Fact: That assertion is based on dodgy data as I noted here

Assertion: No survey measuring anti-Jewish prejudices among Labour and Conservative Party members has been published.

Fact: It’s simply not true. See here.  And see Dr Daniel Allington’s work recently published by the Campaign Against Antisemitism. The chart below shows that antisemitic attitudes are significantly higher in those who ‘strongly support’ Corbyn than in those who ‘strongly support’ the other three Party leaders.

jvl dec19 one
More than one in three (35%) of those who “strongly like” Corbyn agree with four or more antisemitic statements and 58% hold two or more antisemitic views. The proportion of strong supporters of Farage, Johnson and Swinson who agree with four or more statements is significantly less, at 24%, 21% and 18%. (As we move across each chart from left to right, we move from respondents who strongly dislike the leader in question (a 1) to respondents who strongly like him or her (a 5)).

Assertion: “No evidence has been presented in support of claims that antisemitism is widespread within the Labour Party”

Fact: See above: More than one in three (35%) of those who “strongly like” Corbyn agree with four or more antisemitic statements and 58% hold two or more antisemitic views. And the vast majority will believe the current and former Chief Rabbi, as opposed to two JVL apparatchiks.

Assertion: A March 2019 survey asked the public to estimate the percentage of Labour members against whom antisemitism complaints had been made. The average response was 34 percent.

Fact: I fisked that book here . 29% – nearly one-third – of respondents said that they didn’t know what percentage of Labour members had accusations of antisemitism made against them. Second, it is well known (Statistics #101) that outliers drive a wedge between the mean of a distribution and the mode. The mode of this distribution is just 0-9%, well below the mean of 33% (on my calculation, not 34%)).

Assertion: jvl dec19 two
Fact: The figure of 0.06% is a  distortion of the truth. It includes only those investigated, not those accused – of whom there are thousands – all of who should have been investigated. This willingness to distort the truth exemplifies Labour’s institutional antisemitism.