No to Character Assassination on the Basis of Falsehoods!

On Sunday December 8th Campaign Against Antisemitism held a rally with the theme ‘Together Against Antisemitism”. Colonel Richard Kemp was down as a speaker but Stephen Hoffman (no relation) unearthed a tweet by Kemp which he considered ‘Islamophobic’. Reading between the lines, one or two of the other speakers (Tracy Ann Oberman and Fiyaz Mughal) then said they could not share a platform with Kemp. To save the event he pulled out.

He should not have been allowed to pull out! Whether any of his tweets crosses the line is highly debatable.  But highly relevant is that as a Commander in Afghanistan he saved the lives of thousands of Muslims and had Muslims under his command.

And a Muslim leader, Ghanem Nuseibeh – Chair of Muslims Against Antisemitism (which I believe to be the only Muslim organisation which accepts IHRA) – had tweeted the following two days before the rally (December 6th) :
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On Monday Melanie Phillips published an article in the JC defending Kemp (she didn’t name him but it was obvious).  Her article also said that “….the taunt of Islamophobia is used to silence any criticism of the Islamic world, including Islamic extremism.” Maybe she should have written ‘frequently used’ but her observation is substantially correct. Just look what happened to the MP Sarah Champion, for example.  Or to the three girls in Rochdale.  Phillips also correctly observed that no Jew uses the charge of ‘antisemitism’ to silence criticism of Israel, in contrast to the way that the allegation of ‘Islamophobia’  has been used to head off action against extremists.

Even though she wrote that ‘prejudice against Muslims should be condemned, just like prejudice against Hindus, Sikhs or anyone else’, Phillips’ article ignited a firestorm – mostly on the Left, but also from Daniel Sugarman, formerly a JC journalist, now a Public Affairs Officer  at the Board of Deputies of British Jews. On Tuesday morning he tweeted as follows:
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This is an appalling libel of a first class journalist, columnist and defender of Israel who was way ahead of her time in calling out Islamist extremism. Nobody calls her ‘Mad Mel’ anymore do they…….. On occasion I have blogged about the same story as her and she has written three times as fast as me and five times better. Appallingly it has become de rigeur in the Jewish Left’s soi-disants Groupthink to vilify her and she has become stigmatised – unlike in Israel and the US where her talks are eagerly anticipated. This grossly unfair treatment was one of the reasons I organised for Ms Phillips to speak brilliantly to a packed audience in London two years ago:

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But worse was to come.  A Board of Deputies’ Tweet appeared, obviously from Sugarman:

melanie 1_3The tweet is completely misplaced: There is nothing in Ms Phillips’ column which belittles genuine examples of hatred of Muslims. And if the Board wants to second-guess the Editor of the JC, how come it was silent when the JC published an interview with Jenny Manson, the Co-Chair of the antisemitism-denying organisation Jewish Voice for Labour?  And how come the Board failed to publicise the fact that the article failed to mention the rather important fact that Manson has said she is ‘completely secular’ and only decided to identify as a Jew in order to attack Israel?

Isn’t what’s sauce for the Board’s goose also sauce for the Board’s gander?

Such was the howling from the Left that Stephen Pollard, Editor of the JC, felt compelled to throw them a sprat . There quickly followed a (non) response by David Toube of Quilliam.

The JC’s sub-editor ridiculously captioned the piece ‘David Toube says Melanie Phillips is wrong to dismiss the concept of Islamophobia.’ But she didn’t do that!

As a criticism of Ms Phillips’ piece Toube’s article falls way wide of the mark.  We can all agree that those who want to murder either Jews or Muslims must be stopped. But he then suggests that Ms Phillips states that hatred of Muslims doesn’t exist. That suggestion is patently absurd to anyone who has bothered to read her article. Again – she writes ‘prejudice against Muslims should be condemned, just like prejudice against Hindus, Sikhs or anyone else’.

Character assassination on the basis of falsehoods says everything about the would-be assassin — but nothing at all about their target!

Postscript 1

The following letter is in the JC tomorrow. Sadly the signatories (surely it was not written by one of them,  but by a staffer at BoD or JLC – possibly Sugarman) join in the lynching of Ms Phillips on the basis of misrepresentation of what she wrote. Her response is here.

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Postscript 2

Ms Phillips has also written here.

She cites Rabbi Gluck: ‘On his Facebook page, a London Chabad rabbi, Herschel Gluck, responded to my column with defamatory remarks including calling me “a hate preacher.” ‘

Yucky Glucky it was who announced to a roomful of people on 20/1/19 that I was an EDL supporter and who has steadfastly refused to apologise for this slander.

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Postscript 3

Kay Wilson proves Ms Phillips’ point

Postscript 4

There is a column in the JC this week criticising Melanie Phillips on another matter.

Usama Hasan claims she is wrong that ‘taqiyya, the command to deceive for Islam … is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practises it.

However there is plenty of evidence that backs Ms Phillips!

Postscript 5

Mark Pickles’ excellent defence of Ms Phillips is here

And a further brilliant piece here, I urge you to read it .