Letter to The Guardian on Margaret Hodge – Not Published
Julia Bard of the Jewish Socialists’ Group posted the following:
Last Saturday the Guardian devoted a full page to a piece about Margaret Hodge and her assaults on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party. Mostly the article was old stuff rehashed, and it was characterised by the standard failure to check Hodge’s allegations. Over 200 Jewish women (most of them Labour Party members) were so angry we sent a letter to the Guardian.
On Thursday morning, we learnt finally that the Guardian wouldn’t print the letter as ‘all our issues had already been aired before’ (unlike, of course, Hodge’s allegations which were newly minted!).
Here is the letter we sent. Please complain to the Guardian. Also share the letter and our appeal for follow-up across Facebook and Twitter.
LETTER FOR PUBLICATION SUBMITTED TO GUARDIAN 10 March 2019
We, all Jewish women, are baffled, hurt and infuriated by your unquestioning coverage of Margaret Hodge’s campaign against Jeremy Corbyn (‘Just Close them down: Margaret Hodge on antisemitism in Labour’s branches’, March 9th). Hodge extends her allegations that Corbyn is an ‘antisemite and racist’ under whom antisemitism ‘has been given permission to come into the mainstream and, like a cancer, is infecting and growing through the Party’.
Hodge provides no evidence of such horrific wrongdoing by Corbyn, nor by ‘mainstream’ Labour members. Her own submissions to the Labour Party certainly don’t do the job: General Secretary, Jennie Formby reported that Hodge’s 200 complaints concerned 111 individuals, of whom only 20 were actually Party members.
Hodge’s demand that the Labour Party close down entire branches for supporting Chris Williamson MP, or for rejecting the IHRA antisemitism document, also passes unexamined.
Yet Williamson presents a legitimate critique; Labour’s response to antisemitism accusations has been unnecessarily defensive, he said, not that it has been ‘too apologetic about antisemitism’ itself. Meanwhile, no mention that the IHRA document has been shredded by two QCs, plus Jewish human rights specialist, Sir Geoffrey Bindman and Jewish retired Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Stephen Sedley.
All signatories to this letter grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust. We know we must maintain eternal vigilance against antisemitic resurgence. But we also celebrate our Jewishness, especially the disputatiousness (pace our aphorism: two Jews three opinions) central to Jewish identity. We are terrified by Margaret Hodge’s attempt to hijack our history and rewrite our identity and by
unwillingness to investigate, fact check and challenge her allegations.