Indymedia Productions’ first documentary film, ‘Reaching Over The Noise - Is Labour Really Antisemitic?’ was released today. Produced by a collective of left-wing media outlets, it aims to challenge and deconstruct the narrative put forward by the BBC in its 2019 Panorama episode titled ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’
Many of you will have either seen or be aware of the Panorama programme, aired on 10 July 2019 – which claimed to be an impartial look into a long succession of claims that anti-Jewish hatred is rife in the Labour party and that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t do anything about it.
In the Panorama documentary, we were presented with a range of diverse and at first sight, damning evidence by journalist John Ware – evidence that would lead most people with no prior knowledge of the issue who saw it, to reasonably conclude that Labour did indeed have a problem with anti-Semitism.
We were told of a horrific rise in antisemitic incidents since Jeremy Corbyn took over the leadership and we were provided with shocking examples and statistics showing how few people were actually expelled and how long it had taken to deal with them.
We were shown an e-mail from Seamus Milne, Jeremy Corbyn’s Director of Strategy and Communications that the documentary stated proved he was interfering in the disciplinary process and saw the issue as political rather than racist.
We saw a procession of Jewish Labour staffers explain how the leadership undermined them and stopped them taking action against anti-Semites, and how uncomfortable a place the Labour party had become for Jews since Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters took over the leadership and management of party affairs – to top this off we then saw damning testimony from the ex-head of the Compliance Unit and the ex General Secretary of the party himself claiming this to be true.
And not least, the subliminal messaging played its part – frequent inexplicable cut sequences of darkened, atmospheric streets complete with glowing full moon – because as we all learned in childhood, that’s when the monsters come out, isn’t it...?
Pretty cut and dried you might think…?
Even before it was broadcast the Labour Party publicly complained that the documentary was biased and had given them no right of reply.
Not only that but many people on the left and in the Labour party who watched the documentary noticed serious flaws in the way data and evidence was presented, noted an apparent bias running through the entire program and also noted the people presented as ‘ordinary Labour staffers and members’ by the documentary were no such thing and had a shared vested interest in damaging Corbyn and the left.
Our documentary investigates the circumstances that led to Labour and Corbyn being labelled antisemitic and asks if this is really justified.
It redresses the lack of balance in the Panorama Programme by speaking to Jewish people who have a totally opposing view of Corbyn and Labour and reveals the abuse they often receive for doing so.
It exposes some of the individuals portrayed in Panorama as being perhaps ‘rather less than impartial’ and reveals evidence of shared interests that might reasonably be thought could influence their views.
It looks closely at the evidence presented as fact by Panorama and finds that that ‘evidence’ presented to underpin key accusations seemed to have been tailored to fit a preferred narrative. It also presents key information and statistics that were ‘accidentally’ omitted by the Panorama documentary. So, was the programme biased? Let’s look...
Statistics showing that the number of antisemitism complaints relating to Labour Party members – all complaints, not just those which were upheld – involved just 0.6 % of the party’s massive 600,000 membership, were ignored.
Evidence that far from blocking action on such complaints, the leader’s office, and General Secretary Jennie Formby, had actually tried to hasten the process – including in one case where ‘whistleblower’ Sam Matthews had delayed a disciplinary hearing by over a year – was similarly ignored.
While representatives of the Jewish Labour Movement were invited to have their say – and indeed make up the bulk of those interviewed – the views of other major groups like Jewish Voice for Labour were apparently not considered relevant.
The programme did not even give a voice to any party members who had been accused of antisemitism, despite the ready availability of several whose cases collapsed after ‘evidence’ against them was proven to have been fabricated...
That the programme and its attendant media coverage combined to influence public opinion in the run-up to the 2019 General Election cannot be in doubt. That, unlike later Panorama programmes, it was available on BBC iPlayer for significantly longer than other episodes, would seem to indicate a wish to have its content seen – and absorbed – by as large an audience as possible.
To quote Justin Schlosberg, Chair of the Media Reform Coalition, who was one of more than 1500 complainants to Ofcom after the show aired, and challenged the watchdog’s refusal to investigate in the courts: “The BBC has one of the most stringent and wide-ranging editorial compliance regimes of any major news provider in the world. It is truly astonishing that such a skewed treatment of evidence and one-sided presentation of a major political controversy passed through the gates of its senior editorial management”
So why did it? Given the years of combined experience of both the Panorama production team and John Ware himself, it is almost impossible not to draw the conclusion that the intention was to present a chosen narrative which implied, in no uncertain terms, that the Labour Party – and specifically, the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership – did foster widespread antisemitism. In that, it succeeded, and as a result the UK is now suffering the most incompetent Tory government in history.
You can watch ‘Reaching Over The Noise – Is Labour Really Antisemitic?’ on the YouTube link below. Please watch and share to give the film the widest possible reach.