BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire and a non-existent political party

The August 15th edition of BBC Two’s ‘Victoria Derbyshire’ included an item introduced by the presenter as follows: [emphasis in italics in the original]

Derbyshire: “Next: in simple terms antisemitism is described as hostility to, prejudice or discrimination against Jewish people. But even the definition of the term has been the cause of debate in recent weeks as the Labour antisemitism row goes on. Now one of the most high-profile lawyers in Britain, Mark Lewis, and his partner Mandy Blumenthal – a property company director – tell this programme in an exclusive joint interview that they believe the level of antisemitism in this country has become so severe that they no longer feel safe living here. Instead, they say, they’re moving to Israel and intend to do this by the end of the year.”

One might have thought that, having invited two people onto the programme ostensibly to hear about the experiences – including a death threat – that have prompted them to reach the decision to uproot their lives and relocate to a different country, Derbyshire would have refrained from spending the next fifteen minutes telling them why they are wrong.

However, the BBC presenter could have been easily mistaken for a member of the Labour Party’s press team as she read out a list of Jeremy Corbyn’s statements on antisemitism followed by a list of “actions that he has taken as leader of the Labour Party in order to tackle the antisemitism” as well as a pre-prepared statement from the Labour Party – while concurrently promoting a context free defence of Corbyn’s participation in a ceremony honouring terrorists in Tunisia four years ago obviously taken from a Labour Party statement.

Derbyshire: “And [Corbyn] absolutely explained why he was there. Absolutely explained why he was there. That they and others were paying their respects to those killed in an Israeli air raid in 1985 including civilians.”

Derbyshire later inaccurately described the conference in Tunisia in which Corbyn had participated together with senior members of terrorist organisations as a “peace conference” and the standard of BBC fact-checking was also on display in another segment:

Derbyshire: “Can we talk about your politics? […] Let’s talk about your politics because there will be some who will accuse you of saying this simply for political motivations because you’re not Labour supporters. You’re members of the UK Zionist party which was relaunched this year.”

Blumenthal: “Hold on, hold on. What is the UK Zionist party? I’m sorry to interrupt you but you’re saying that I’m a member of a UK Zionist party?”

Derbyshire: “Sorry – that was the information I was given. That’s obviously inaccurate.”


18 comments on “BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire and a non-existent political party

  1. I’m sorry they are leaving Great Britain and going to Israel because of internal Labour disputes over Israel???

    Who is in Government? The Conservatives.
    This man Corbyn must be something to have changed society so much from Opposition.

    BBC presenter should not have a job if she swallows that tosh

  2. In this case Derbyshire is not at fault and neither is her researcher who gave her the information. The following is an editor’s footnote from the London ‘Jewish News’ “EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was previously headlined ‘More than 70 attend re-launch of UK Zionist party’. This is incorrect. Herut UK is a political group in the UK, not a political party.”

  3. The entire “interview” was nothing less than an exercise in Corbynista propaganda.

    Derbyshire read out a long list of things Corbyn has said about combatting antisemitism in his party but of course couldn’t come up with one example of him actually doing anything about it.

    Maybe the accusation that Mark Lewis and Mandy Blumenthal belonged to the non-existant “UK Zionist party” was due to her researchers’ sloppy work but why raise the subject of Zionism anyway?

    It seems that she was trying to say that because they were Zionists any antisemitism they may have experienced was their fault anyway.

    Mandy Blumenthal says on her Facebook page that after the show Derbyshire told them that she (Derbyshire) had to be “robust”.

    Why, if not to defend Corbyn and his antisemitism?

  4. The backdrop says it all.

    The Israeli flag, twisted on its axis, now reduced to a meaningless graphic it almost appears sinister. The wide background shot of Tel Aviv. Nothing in the Victoria Derbyshire set design reflects Jewish British life under Labour anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred, supposedly the point of this sham of an interview.

    What might be the Derbyshire team’s connection with Seamus Milne?

    This, by Alex Wickham, GQ Magazine, 24.3.2016

    “This is Seumas Milne,” Corbyn said with a smile to his colleagues as he introduced his new spin doctor. “You will all have read what he’s written. Now you will be reading it out.” The reaction from the room was a deathly silence.

    Milne opened by telling the room that Hilary Benn, the shadow foreign secretary who was expected to have been axed over his support for bombing Isis in Syria, had agreed to a series of conditions preventing him from publicly opposing the leadership in the future. He is then said to have revealed that Pat McFadden, the shadow Europe minister, had been sacked because of a question he asked in a Commons debate on the Paris terror attacks. According to Milne, the story goes, asking the prime minister to reject the view that terrorism is a response to the actions of the West – a thinly veiled dig at Corbyn – was “disloyal” and had “infuriated” the Labour leader.” –

    Seamus Milne’s father was Alasdair Milne, the first BBC Director-General to be sacked – for ‘treason’ over BBC coverage of the Falklands, ie the ‘Argentine cause’. Consequently, Milne Snr. was the first Director-General to be denied a knighthood.

    One of those involved in his sacking, and highlighted in Milne’s memoirs, was Baron Arnold Goodman. It may or may not be relevant that Milne was replaced by the Rt. Hon Lord Stuart Young, now a trustee of Jewish Care.

    From Alasdair Milne’s memoir:

    “When I walked into Hussey’s office, Barnett and he were both there. I remember the blinds were drawn against the sun which was brilliant that morning. Hussey’s lip trembled as he said: ‘I am afraid this is going to be a very unpleasant interview. We want you to leave immediately. It’s a unanimous decision of the Board.’

    I was stunned. What was he talking about? Perhaps I should have seen the plot thickening, but I hadn’t. ‘We want to make changes,’ said Barnett. ‘We can’t under the present circumstances.’ I didn’t speak. Hussey said again: ‘It’s a unanimous decision of the Board. You might prefer to resign – for personal reasons.’ Barnett said, ‘We are men of honour. If you resign, it won’t affect your arrangements. You are going next year anyway.’

    I had, in fact, eighteen months to go as DG. The Board which appointed me had also spoken of a mutual option of another two years. Hussey said: ‘I’ve already spoken to Arnold Goodman.’ What terrible people, I thought. I asked for a sheet of paper, couldn’t remember the date: one of them said it was 29th January. I wrote out my resignation and handed it to Hussey. I walked back to my office and said to Ros, my personal assistant, ‘I’ve been fired.’

    ….Within minutes of the BBC’s announcement of my departure, the Fleet Street contingent was camping round my front door to chronicle the end of my BBC career. The horror of what had happened was softened in later days by the scores of letters from friends and colleagues all over the world. One of them, from a famous and distinguished British broadcaster, precisely echoed my own feelings. ‘What has happened to you,’ he said, ‘is something that will stand high in the annals of broadcasting infamy.'” Alasdair Milne: “DG – The Memoirs of a British Broadcaster” pub. Coronet, 1989

  5. In the interests of balance, shouldn’t our publicly funded BBC be screening Kevin Macdonald’s Oscar-winning documentary, ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER, about the Munich Olympics massacre? It was screened by BBC Four’s Storyville strand some years ago, and still appears on Storyville’s page, ergo rights would be negotiable. As a Storyville doc, it may have been co-funded by the BBC, ie all of us/

  6. Maybe she saw the original headline of the Jewish News article and thought that reference to a “relaunch of the UK Zionist Party” meant that there is a UK Zionist party? The footnote of the online article acknowledges that the original headline contained those words. The URL still does. By all means be critical when criticism is justified, but you cannot fault her for taking something she read in the Jewish News at face value. If you want to be taken seriously then you need to report things accurately. Or you become guilty of the things of which you accuse others.

  7. And in case anyone is too lazy to check – here is what you will find at the foot of the article. Perhaps the finger of blame should be pointed at the Jewish News headline writer?

    EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was previously headlined ‘More than 70 attend re-launch of UK Zionist party’. This is incorrect. Herut UK is a political group in the UK, not a political party.

  8. What a disgusting “interview” Jewish people tell you they feel so unsafe they’ve decided to leave the country and you argue with them denying what they think and feel?

    • A swastika painted on his garage door 14 years ago that was apparently “laughable” and a death threat that resulted in a criminal prosecution and conviction. Neither of those events related to Jeremy Corbyn. And yet Corbyn’s name cropped up repeatedly.

      What this couple failed to do was to convince members of the general public that they have genuine fear. It is clear that they are associated with a very pro-Zionist movement that originally grew out of the Irgun. Historically it has had designs on taking the whole of Palestine. Corbyn represents a threat to that ambition. Add to this the Times of Israel article that refers to the UK’s foremost libel lawyer having “the enemies of Israel in his sights” and then you have a recipe for suspicion of alterior political motives around this interview.

      By all means stay in this echo chamber that sees any legitimate questioning of these two activists as being an anti-Semitic act. But if this strategy is to work, you need to convince the British public. And I am afraid they are not being won over by what is being rightly and increasingly viewed as relentless, politically motivated Corbyn bashing. And those Tunisian Cemetery reports are now going to be the subject of an IPSO investigation. The strategy is starting to unravel. I see plenty of evidence of hands being overplayed.

      Meanwhile membership of the English Defence League, Brtiain First and Generation Identify continues to grow. Therein lies a real existential threat not just to the Muslim community but to the Jewish community too. Those idiots who turn up with Israel flags at EDL and Britain First marches are playing a dangerous game if they really believe that these fascists are fond of Jews. History says otherwise.

      Using false claims of anti-Semitism to advance the cause of undermining a politician with a track record of advocating justice for the Palestinian people risks becoming a real life example of the story boy who cried wolf. And we all know what happened to him.

      Yes, there is genuine anti-Semitism in our society. I have seen and challenged it. I have reported anti-Semitic posts online and have shared information about them with the Community Safety Trust. But when it comes to the state of play in the Labour Party, I am afraid there is a significant disconnect between the prevailing narrative being pushed by establishment groups and the right wing media and the findings of last year’s major survey by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research. They found no evidence of anti-Semitism being any higher on the political left (including the far left) than in the general population. And it was the largest survey of its kind ever undertaken in the UK.

      The traction that this strategy appeared to have gained is starting to slip. Last month Channel 4 News fact checked Theresa May’s false claim in Parliament that the Conservative Party had adopted the IHRA definition. It hadn’t. Of course a ham-fisted edit job was then done to cover up for the fact the Tory’s code of conduct made no reference to anti-Semitism let alone the IHRA. So it has been shoe-horned into the annex of their code and makes no sense the way it has been slotted in in square parentheses. Our journalists are starting to investigate “factsr” that are being presented to them. And they are discovering that things are often not as they first appeared. In short, it appears that the game is up.

      • The very idea that anyone would leave Great Britain because of what the Opposition Leader’s alleged anti-jewish tendencies are is simply codswallop.
        He isn’t Prime Minister. He cannot make laws. Indeed it is very unlikely he will ever inhabit no-10 and a good thing to just on economic grounds.

        Accepting their ‘story’ just shows how gullible people are.

        This is the reason the interviewer does a poor job. No other

  9. Well, if you walk around Ashdod, every 2nd or 3rd person is a French Jew. They are getting out through fear, particularly from Paris. Can they all be wrong?

    • Is Corbyn the mayor of Paris? Is there no end to this man’s influence? Forgive me. I don’t doubt the rise in Antisemitism across Europe. But the repeated references to Jeremy Corbyn in this interview were clearly designed to sow an association between anti-Semitism and the leader of the Labour Party. And this article is deeply mischievous in trying to accuse Victoria Derbyshire of making up a political party. When the Jewish News used the term, Zionist Party in its original article.

      • It is much more than that. Corbyn is unlikely to win the next election based on the polls and he is facing a disunited Conservative party.
        In other words he is not much of a politician yet here he is supposedly whipping up the masses in a an allegedly anti-semitic crusade.
        Notice there are no concrete examples at all
        It is ludicrous in the extreme.

      • The cement in his concrete is his total lack of action for the past three years as leader of the Labour Party to stop:- the antisemitism in the Labour Party particularly on social media, coupled with his intransigence on the subject of the right of Israel to self determination along with his concrete sharing of platforms and support for the IRA, Hezbollah and Hamas and BDS. People are leaving the UK out of concern, but it seems you would rather they personally suffered first before packing their bags.

        • According to an article in the Jewish Chronicle in January 2016 the number of Jews who left the UK for Israel in 2014 was 629. It went up in 2015 to 774. Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party at the end of 2015. In the first six months of this year 213 British Jews relocated to Israel. The Corbyn effect?

          • It takes a long of time just to sell your house and move within the same country let alone uproot and relocate to another country, even more so when you have a young family. Just the very process of visa and work permit applications can take many months at which point the process of seeking suitable employment can begin. If children are involved, until a convenient home within commutable distance to the work that has been found, has been either rented or purchased schools could not be chosen. This whole process can take a number of years and that is assuming to begin with that the breadwinner(s) has/have transferrable skills required by that country. The only Corbyn effect felt is one of repulsion for a so called ‘leader’ who is out of his depth and unable to lead who has spent his, back bench poltical life supporting terrorist regimes, he should not even be a politician let alone the leader of a party.

          • I actually agree with most but not all of what you have said about Corbyn. He would be a terrible leader of Great Britain.
            As I have said the Labour party should be heading towards a landslide against a party that is divided and in patent disunity. However no-one but no-one has shown has this man has led to two people to leave Great Britain and go to Israel. He has not changed any laws. He is in no position to even influence behaviour out in the streets, to repeat myself the two people have not given us one concrete example of behaviour inspired by Corbyn that has lead them to their decision.

            Only the most gullible people would believe them

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