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MARC WADSWORTH won a libel case against the Jewish Chronicle (JC) today, with the newspaper agreeing to pay “substantial compensation” and issue an apology.
The publication falsely accused Mr Wadsworth, in an article on its website in March, of being part of a group of current and ex-Labour members targeting Jewish activists in the party.
Responding to the verdict, he told the Star: “The Labour Party turned me into a media target by unjustly expelling me in 2018. My reinstatement campaign has received huge support since, including from Jewish people and many others.
“I am an ally of Jews, Palestinians and all other oppressed people and will defend my reputation as a lifelong anti-racist campaigner against any media that libels me, as I have done successfully in this instance. The witch hunt against the Labour left, accelerated by the current leadership, must be halted by any means necessary.”
Mr Wadsworth, who founded the Anti-Racist Alliance in 1991, was expelled from Labour in 2018 after he remarked that Ruth Smeeth MP was working “hand in hand” with the Daily Telegraph at a 2016 press conference launching the Chakrabarti report on anti-semitism.
The High Court heard today that the JC article focused on allegations that a group of Labour members — including people said to have been suspended or expelled — were part of a plan to track down Jewish Labour activists at their homes to “take care” of them.
Dominic Garner, representing Mr Wadsworth, said his client was a civil rights campaigner, lecturer and author who had been wrongly associated with the group in the article.
He said: “The article named Mr Wadsworth in this context, as well as featuring a prominent photograph of him in its print edition, stating that Mr Wadsworth had given a speech at a launch event for the group — and in turn, alleging that he was both a member of the group and either involved or complicit in its activities.
“As the defendant has accepted, the allegations in the article about Mr Wadsworth were wholly untrue.
“In fact, Mr Wadsworth is not and has never been a member of the group to which the article referred.
“He neither spoke at nor attended the event in question, and has not been involved whatsoever in the group’s activities.”
Adelaide Lopez, representing the newspaper, said: “Jewish Chronicle Media Limited withdraws these false allegations and apologises to Mr Wadsworth.”
In a statement, Mr Wadsworth said: “I was deeply distressed that The Jewish Chronicle did not check its facts or contact me before its article was written.
“Instead, it chose to publish serious and unfounded allegations, linking me with potential criminality, which go to the heart of my reputation as a journalist and long-standing campaigner against racism.
“I am pleased that the publisher has now apologised for these libels and agreed to set the record straight, and in turn that I am now able to draw a line under this matter.”
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