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Jewish Chronicle rapped by press regulator after misleading readers over alleged anti-semitism in the Green Party

ISPO upholds complaint by the Greens’ home-affairs spokesman Shahrar Ali

PRESS regulators have ruled that the Jewish Chronicle printed inaccuracies and misled its readers in a story about alleged anti-semitism in the Green Party. 

The newspaper was forced to publish a full correction yesterday after the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) upheld a complaint by the Greens’ home-affairs spokesman, Shahrar Ali. 

The complaint centred on claims published by the paper on December 6 2019 that Mr Ali had compared Israel’s 2009 attack on Gaza with the holocaust on Holocaust Memorial Day, in a speech given that same year.  

But the regulator found this both misleading and inaccurate, upholding that Mr Ali had not compared the two and had also not given the speech on Holocaust Memorial Day.  

IPSO ruled on Thursday that the Jewish Chronicle had breached the editorial code of conduct by presenting an allegation as fact, printing inaccuracies and failing to properly address its errors. 

The regulator also concluded that the inaccuracy of the timing was “significant” given the “sensitivity of the occasion.”

The speech Mr Ali made in 2009 during the bombardment of Gaza had called for former PM Tony Blair, former US president George W Bush and then Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert to face a war-crimes tribunal.

In a video of the speech, Mr Ali is heard to say: “Listen up warmongers. Just because you observe the niceties of Holocaust Memorial Day does not mean that you have learned the lessons of history.” 

Mr Ali hailed IPSO’s ruling as an “important win” that will “help embolden all those life-long anti-racists who want to continue to speak out against Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people.”

“Unfortunately, I’ve seen an inability, even in our own party and across politics in general, for people who have spoken out before against injustice [against Palestinians] to continue to do so,” he told the Morning Star.

“Not only are human-rights injustices being neglected because of these fears of being stigmatised and castigated unjustly as anti-semitic, but in addition real xenophobia, true racism whether against Jews or against Muslims is not being properly addressed.”

The article also accused several other Green candidates who were running in the 2019 general election of breaching the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism, which the party has not signed up to. 

Campaigners argue that the IHRA definition is being used to silence legitimate criticism of Israel and the ability to speak up for the Palestinian cause.

It is not the first time that the Jewish Chronicle has been rapped by the press regulator over articles about alleged anti-semitism on the left and in the Palestinian solidarity movement. 

Several people have successfully sued the paper. Earlier this year the Jewish Chronicle was ordered to publish a 1,300-word adjudication after printing a series of false allegations of bullying and anti-semitism against Labour activist Audrey White, who also won “substantial damages,” over the issue.  

The Jewish Chronicle was approached for comment. 


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