The controversial filmmaker and Jeremy Corbyn enthusiast has been joined in his criticism of the BAFTA Television Award nomination for Panorama’s programme titled “Is Labour Antisemitic?” by a cast of usual suspects.
Ken Loach, a BAFTA Fellow, called the programme a “crude polemic, without balance or objectivity, intended to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership,” and claimed that “BAFTA’s choice is a blatant attempt to rehabilitate a discredited piece of propaganda. It should fool no-one.”
He has now been joined by another outspoken filmmaker, Mike Leigh, as well as the human rights barrister and political activist Geoffrey Bindman QC, who opposed Labour’s adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism (he preferred Labour’s controversial substitute code) and has expressed concern that the Definition “serves to protect Israel from legitimate criticism.”
The group also included Tom Llewellyn, a former BBC Middle East Correspondent with a history of inflammatory statements, including apparently complaining about a “Jewish lobby”, “Zionist penetration” of the British Government and exploitation by Israel of European guilt over the Holocaust.
The group accused the Panorama programme of presenting a “high skewed, politicised and distorted account” of Labour’s antisemitism crisis and complained that fringe Jewish pro-Corbyn groups were not included.
The programme, which was televised in July 2019, showed former Labour Party employees speaking out publicly to reveal Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s personal meddling in disciplinary cases relating to antisemitism. The programme explained how senior Labour Party staffers, some of whom Campaign Against Antisemitism has known for years, used to run Labour’s disciplinary process independently, but soon after Mr Corbyn’s election as Party leader found themselves contending with his most senior aides, who were brazen in their efforts to subvert due process.
During the programme Labour’s press team made claims that the staffers featured had political axes to grind and lacked credibility, and it is understood that they and John Ware, the maker of the programme, commenced libel proceedings against the Labour Party. The libel cases are being brought by Mark Lewis, a highly esteemed media lawyer who is also an honorary patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism.
The Labour Party also submitted a 28-page complaint to the BBC, claiming the programme failed to meet the BBC’s standards, but the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit, which is the top level of the broadcaster’s internal complaints process, decided to back the makers of the episode. Labour then took its complaint to Ofcom but withdrew it earlier this year.
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In the first release of its Antisemitism in Political Parties research, Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that Labour Party candidates for Parliament in the 2019 general election accounted for 82 percent of all incidents of antisemitic discourse by parliamentary candidates.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.
Letter from @KenLoachSixteen, Sir Geoffrey Bindman, Mike Leigh, Tim Llewellyn & MRC calling on @BAFTA to reconsider its nomination for the @BBCPanorama programme, 'Is Labour Antisemitic?' on the basis of serious editorial flaws pic.twitter.com/zuBjZktyz7
— Media Reform UK (@mediareformUK) June 17, 2020