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06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

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11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

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19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

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2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



Milking fear of the alien Jew to attack Labour

This posting has these items:
1) Ha’aretz: Whispers of the Jewish issue in the ‘Man Who Hated Britain’ saga, Anshel Pfeffer on the words that can’t be spoken in UK-‘Jewish’ and ‘antisemitic’;
2) CIF: The Ralph Miliband I knew embodied the British values the Daily Mail rejects, Ian Aitken;
3) Guardian: Historian fears Daily Mail used his website to traduce Ralph Miliband, Roy Greenslade on historian John Simkin;
4) Spectator blog: Letter from Ed Miliband to Lord Rothermere;
5) CIF: Antisemitism doesn’t always come doing a Hitler salute, Jonathan Freedland;
6) Huff Post UK: Daily Mail Accused Of Anti-Semitism Over Ralph Miliband Smears;
7) Guardian: Ed Miliband: Mail treatment of family not an isolated incident.

Ed Miliband and Labour might be a winner, (Telegraph) January 2013. Photo by Phil Noble /Reuters

Whispers of the Jewish issue in the ‘Man Who Hated Britain’ saga

During first days of controversy around the Daily Mail’s hatchet job of Jewish Labour head Ed Miliband’s father, the question of anti-Semitism remained on the sidelines.

By Anshel Pfeffer, Ha’aretz
October 03, 2013

On Tuesday night, the BBC’s flagship program Newsnight devoted a large chunk of its airtime to the ongoing saga of the attack of the Daily Mail newspaper on Ralph Miliband, the deceased father of the Labour Party’s leader, Ed Miliband, a Marxist academic who was described by the paper “The Man Who Hated Britain.”

In the studio to argue against and in favor of the Daily Mail’s feature, written by Geoffrey Levy, were Alastair Campbell, the former communications chief for ex-prime minister Tony Blair who doesn’t have an official role but is always ready to take up the cudgels on behalf of the party against the rightwing press and Jon Steafel, the deputy editor of the Daily Mail. Campbell lambasted Steafel not only for his paper’s line but also for filling in for his boss, the most feared editor in Britain, Paul Dacre. Campbell said that Dacre didn’t turn up himself because he’s a “coward.” But that wasn’t what some viewers were thinking.

“They put Steafel on because he’s Jewish,” said a veteran British-Jewish journalist who asked not to be named. “It was clear, just in the same way that they got a writer called Levy to write the piece.” Other Jewish journalists said to me since Tuesday that it was also their impression.

The Jewish issue remained whispered on the sidelines of the Daily Mail/Miliband controversy during its first days. The paper hadn’t made it in to an issue, though Ed Miliband in a wounded column he wrote in response emphasized that his father had arrived in Britain as a Jewish refugee from Nazi-occupied Belgium and that contrary to the Daily Mail’s claim, he had always been grateful to Britain for providing him sanctuary while millions of other Jews were being murdered. But Miliband Junior did not accuse the paper of anti-Semitism and neither did any other of his party’s senior members until Wednesday when John Mann, a Labour member of parliament and the chairman of the parliamentary committee against anti-Semitism tweeted that the Mail ran a “classical age-old anti-Semitic smear about disloyal Jews.”

The next morning the London Jewish Chronicle had Mann’s accusation as its banner headline backed up inside by no less than four columns accusing the Daily Mail of embarking on a smear campaign designed to insinuate that Miliband is not to be trusted because of his Jewish immigrant background and that this was a slur on all British Jews. The paper’s main op-ed went even further writing about “the whiff of anti-Semitism that surrounds both the original piece and the subsequent Mail editorial seeking to justify it.” The paper quoted a couple of politicians who said they had not perceived any anti-Semitism but no columnist was willing to write a defense of the Daily Mail’s piece.

Ed and David Miliband’s grandfather Samuel and father Ralph. From the Daily Mail, August 2007: “And we have been told that Mr Pavlovsky’s [a Russian fixer] comments – in a Russian newspaper – were simply an attempt to undermine Britain’s Foreign Secretary [David Miliband] by highlighting his Jewish roots in a country where anti-Semitism is rife.”

Attacking the Daily Mail, a paper which is relatively pro-Israel and has a number of Jewish writers and columnists, over anti-Semitism, is no small matter. It’s the second-most read paper in Britain and as the latest episode proves, hardly pulls it punches when it dislikes a public figure. Despite the outcry by Jewish journalists and writers, no representative body of British Jewry has commented on the affair.

Meanwhile the scandal isn’t dying down and the Mail’s Sunday paper was forced to issue an apology when it emerged that it had sent a reporter to a private family memorial service for Miliband’s uncle, trying to elicit quotes from his relatives and leftwing activists launched a campaign calling upon advertisers to boycott the paper.

Family gathering (from left): Marion Miliband, her sister, Hadassa, David, Ralph and Ed Miliband on holiday in Scotland, 1987.

The Ralph Miliband I knew embodied the British values the Daily Mail rejects

Ed Miliband’s father was a sparkling figure, who believed passionately in tolerance and generosity

By Ian Aitken, Comment is Free, Guardian,
October 03, 2013

To his dying day, Michael Foot always referred to Lord Rothermere’s Daily Mail as “the Forgers’ Gazette”. This was because it had been the publisher of the notorious Zinoviev letter, now known to have been faked by White Russian émigrés in collusion with MI6. Its purport was that the Communist International in Moscow was trying to influence British foreign policy through the Labour party. It became a major issue in the 1924 general election, and it helped to bring down the very first Labour government.

That rancid smell has hung round the Daily Mail ever since, and the aroma got a lot worse when the paper became the leading supporter of Sir Oswald Mosley’s fascist blackshirts in the mid-30s and then went on to back the appeasement of Hitler at Munich in 1938. The supporters of appeasement were still trying to patch up a deal with Nazi Germany even after the war had begun.

A year later the 16-year-old Ralph Miliband was trudging on foot across Belgium to escape the advancing German panzers and catch the last boat from Ostend to England. A couple of years later he was back at sea, this time as a Royal Navy volunteer fighting for his adopted country. The climax came at the D-day landings in June 1944, when the allies began the liberation of western Europe, including Belgium.

But Miliband stayed in Britain after the war, becoming first a brilliant student, then a hugely admired teacher at the London School of Economics, where he was a protege of the no less charismatic Harold Laski. It was some time later that he married, and then fathered those two leading lights of the Labour party, David and Ed Miliband.

I first met Ralph just after the war, when he had just come out of the navy and I had just gone in. We met at the kitchen table of a remarkable American woman who had gathered up an extraordinary collection of young people, most of them students at LSE. All of them were friends of her son, Dick Clements, who later became editor of the leftwing Tribune magazine.

Among those who gathered round that table in a flat just off Baker Street was a survivor of Buchenwald concentration camp, a former US bomber pilot, and Nan Miliband, Ralph’s younger sister (and aunt to Ed). She had miraculously survived the entire war inside Belgium along with her mother, thanks to a brave and humane Belgian farmer who had taken them in. He hid them in a hayloft whenever German troops came by.

By far the most sparkling figure in the dozen or so youngsters round this table was Ralph. His knowledge was prodigious, his opinions strongly held, and his command of language – not his own – enabled him to express himself cogently. He was also tall and strikingly good looking, and bowled over the female members of the group.

He was, however, very much a Marxist – a fact that clashed with the views of his hostess, Sonia Clements. She was a Tolstoyan anarchist and a follower of Prince Kropotkin, and had no time for the determinism and dirigisme that was central to Marx’s philosophy. But I doubt if Sonia would have passed the Daily Mail’s test of British patriotism any more than Ralph did. That paper seems to believe that anything less than a certificated enthusiasm for the Queen, the Brigade of Guards and the Church of England disqualifies one as a genuine patriot. I doubt if any of us at that table would have matched up to that.

And neither, of course, would millions of others of our fellow citizens. For the central tenet of Marxism is that those who have nothing to sell but their labour have diametrically opposed interests from those who own the means of production – the owners make their profit by paying their hired workers less than the true value of their labour. That is a proposition implicitly endorsed by anyone who seeks higher pay, either through a trade union or individually. Even high-flying bank employees think they get less wealth than they generate – that’s why they want those bonuses.

But the idea that being a Marxist, whether consciously or unconsciously, makes you a de facto traitor is both absurd and outrageous. No one at Clements’s table supported the Soviet version of Marxism, and Ralph Miliband was the most eloquent among us in denouncing it as a distortion of true Marxist teaching. He believed passionately in the good old British values of tolerance and generosity, from which he had benefited.

Yet those, of course, are precisely the values that the Daily Mail rejects, not only in the case of Ralph and Ed Miliband, but in its overall coverage. Its aim is a strange one: each morning it wants to enrage its readers about some feature of contemporary British life, such as a judge being over-lenient with a criminal, a hospital messing up an operation, or too many crooked Romanians getting through our borders.

The message is: there you are, that’s what Britain is like these days, isn’t it awful? So we can deduce that the Britain the Daily Mail is loyal to is not contemporary Britain but a legendary Britain of some golden age in the distant past, when everything was shipshape and Bristol fashion and Oswald Mosley was firmly in charge. If anyone hates contemporary Britain, it is the Daily Mail.

Historian fears Daily Mail used his website to traduce Ralph Miliband

Historian John Simkin fears he is partially, and unintentionally, responsible for the Daily Mail’s attack on Ed Miliband.

By Roy Greenslade, Guardian
October 04, 2013

Historian John Simkin fears he is partially, and unintentionally, responsible for the Daily Mail’s attack on Ed Miliband.

He runs a website, Spartacus Educational, which contains a biography of Ralph Miliband and he has noted similarities between the Mail’s article and information gleaned from that biography.

On his blog, he writes:

“In the article [Mail writer] Geoffrey Levy quotes from a diary entry that the 16-year-old Ralph Miliband wrote in 1940: ‘The Englishman is a rabid nationalist. They are perhaps the most nationalist people in the world… When you hear the English talk of this war you sometimes almost want them to lose it to show them how things are.’

Levy probably got this information from my webpage on Ralph Miliband. (The information originally came Michael Newman’s book, Ralph Miliband and the Politics of the New Left).

On Saturday, if you typed in ‘Ralph Miliband’ into Google my site came second after the Wikipedia entry. The Wikipedia page did not have this information on Miliband then (it does now but at least it references my web page).”

But, and this is a big but, Simkin’s biography placed that quote in context. It crucially explained why he wrote it after arriving in Britain in 1940:

“Miliband had been dismayed by the anti-Semitism he found in London. For example, he felt he was unable to tell his first girlfriend, Marjorie, that he was Jewish.”

And who was responsible for that prevailing climate of anti-Semitism? Step forward Viscount Rothermere (aka Harold Harmsworth), great-grandfather of the current (and fourth) Lord Rothermere.

Simkin’s biography of the first Lord Rothermere gives an example of his rabid anti-Semitism.

On 10 July 1933, in a piece in the Daily Mail that excused “Nazi atrocities” as “a few isolated acts of violence”, Rothermere wrote:

The German nation, moreover, was rapidly falling under the control of its alien elements. In the last days of the pre-Hitler regime there were twenty times as many Jewish government officials in Germany as had existed before the war.

Israelites of international attachments were insinuating themselves into key positions in the German administrative machine. Three German ministers only had direct relations with the press, but in each case the official responsible for conveying news and interpreting policy to the public was a Jew.

The same (or a similar) piece also appeared in Australia, in the Perth-based Daily News.

Viscount Rothermere writes:
I WRITE from a new country on the map of Europe. Its name is Naziland. Of all the historic changes in our time,the transformation of Germany under Hitler has been the swiftest, most complete, and most momentous. This nation of 65 millions stands behind him united as it never was before. Since the Nazis came to power sevenmonths ago, Germany’s political structure has been revolutionised, her Constitution remodelled, and her people inspired with the courage of a crusade.

Something far more significant than a new Government has arisen among the Germans. There has been a sudden expansion of their national spirit like that which took place in England under Queen Elizabeth. Youth has taken command.
Daily News, Perth, September 4th, 1933. Added by JfJfP postings

At the time, Rothermere was a supporter of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, known as the Blackshirts. But he suddenly withdrew his backing in July 1934. Why?

Simkin quotes the historian James Pool, author of Who financed Hitler: the secret funding of Hitler’s rise to power:

The rumour on Fleet Street was that the Daily Mail’s Jewish advertisers had threatened to place their ads in a different paper if Rothermere continued the pro-fascist campaign.

Pool goes on to point out that Rothermere later met Hitler and told him how the “Jews cut off his complete revenue from advertising” and compelled him to “toe the line.”

Rothermere continued to support Hitler in secret. It later emerged that he was paying a retainer of £5,000 per year (£200,000 in today’s money) to Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe, a close confidante of Hitler and other Nazi leaders, who was regarded as a German spy.

Simkin is clearly upset at the possibility that his site provided the source material for the Mail article, which falsely claimed that Ralph Miliband “hated Britain.”. He writes in his blog clearly in support of Ed Miliband’s actions: “It is time we stood up to these vicious bullies.”

Letter from Ed Miliband to Lord Rothermere

Dear Lord Rothermere,

Yesterday I spoke at a memorial event held at Guy’s Hospital in London for my uncle, Professor Harry Keen, a distinguished doctor who died earlier this year. It was an event in a room on the 29th floor of Guy’s Hospital which was attended only by family members, close friends and colleagues.

I was told by one of my relatives late yesterday evening that a reporter from the Mail on Sunday had found her way into the event uninvited. I also discovered that, once there, she approached members of my family seeking comments on the controversy over the Daily Mail’s description of my late father as someone who “hated Britain”.

My wider family, who are not in public life, feel understandably appalled and shocked that this can have happened.

The Editor of the Mail on Sunday has since confirmed to my office that a journalist from his newspaper did indeed attend the memorial uninvited with the intention of seeking information for publication this weekend.

Sending a reporter to my late uncle’s memorial crosses a line of common decency. I believe it a symptom of the culture and practices of both the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday.

There are many decent people working at those newspapers and I know that many of them will be disgusted by this latest episode. But they will also recognise that what has happened to my family has happened to many others.

I believe no purpose would be served by me complaining to the Press Complaints Commission because it is widely discredited.

Instead, I am writing to you as the owners of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday because I believe it is long overdue that you reflect on the culture of your newspapers. You should conduct your own swift investigation into who was responsible at a senior level for this latest episode and also who is responsible for the culture and practices of these newspapers which jar so badly with the values of your readers.

There are bigger issues for the people of Britain in the midst of the worst cost of living crisis for a century than intrusion into the life of my family. But the reaction of many people to the Daily Mail’s attacks on my father this week demonstrates that the way your newspapers have behaved does not reflect the real character of our country.

It is now your responsibility to respond.

Ed Miliband

UPDATE, 1.20pm:

Geordie Grieg, editor of the Mail on Sunday, has apologised for the reporter’s actions and has suspended two journalists. Here is his statement:

I unreservedly apologise for a reporter intruding into a private memorial service for a relative of Ed Miliband. The reporter was sent without my knowledge; it was a decision which was wrong. Two journalists have been suspended and a full investigation is now being carried out. I would further like to apologise to members of the family and friends attending the service for this deplorable intrusion.I have already spoken personally to Ed Miliband and expressed my regret that such a terrible lapse of judgement should have taken place. It is completely contrary to the values and editorial standards of The Mail on Sunday. I understand that Lord Rothermere is personally writing to Ed Miliband.

Antisemitism doesn’t always come doing a Hitler salute

Hatred of Jews is often more coded than explicit, but the Daily Mail’s attack on Ralph Miliband pressed all the same old buttons

Jonathan Freedland, Guardian
October 04, 2013

When the Ukip politician Godfrey Bloom referred to “Bongo Bongo land”, there were not many who denied the remark was racist. When the same man told women who failed to clean behind the fridge that they were “sluts”, most could see the comment was sexist. Yet when the target of an insult is a Jew or Jews, there is rarely such certainty. Unless antisemitism comes dressed in an SS uniform and doing a Hitler salute, we are regularly thrown into confusion. Suddenly we are in the seminar room, calling on experts to tell us whether or not this or that sentence was anti-Jewish, the debate usually ending without clear resolution. To add to the complexity, very often Jews disagree among themselves, with just as many willing to give the disputed word or deed a free pass as to condemn it.

So it has been this week with the Daily Mail’s sustained assault on the late Ralph Miliband, the Marxist scholar it branded “The Man Who Hated Britain”. Some detect a whiff of anti-Jewish prejudice, some swear there is no such thing. When pressed on the point by the BBC, Ed Miliband himself declined to add antisemitism to his list of charges against the paper.

All of which, I imagine, must make it hard for the open-minded outsider, the non-Jew keen to oppose all forms of racism. They know they’re against antisemitism, but how exactly to spot it? When is the line crossed? Where, in fact, is the line? In the spirit of public service, let me attempt an answer.

First, the word itself. So much as mention antisemitism and someone will pop up to tell you that Arabs are semites too so why do Jews insist on hogging, as it were, all the antisemitism for themselves. But the word was not a Jewish invention. It was popularised by a 19th-century German Jew-hater called Wilhelm Marr, keen to put his loathing on a pseudo-scientific basis: he used “semites” to mean Jews and, partly because “anti-Jewish racism” is a mouthful, the word has stuck.

Despite the name, it is not a phenomenon safely buried in the past. Just because hatred of Jews reached a murderous climax in the 1940s does not mean it ended with the war in 1945. It is alive and well even in 2013. Whether it’s on Twitter or in the cartoons that routinely appear in much of today’s Middle Eastern press, crude slurs and hideous caricatures of Jews – hook-nosed and money-grabbing – endure.

Move away from the gutter, however, and antisemitism is rarely so obvious. It is communicated through nods and winks, hinted at rather than spoken. In Britain especially, prejudice against Jews has long been of the latent, rather than overt, variety. Even the words Jew or Jewish are often avoided: spotting the euphemisms – “flamboyant North London businessman” – is a pastime in its own right. So those ready to acquit the Mail because there was no bald, outright statement of antisemitism were probably using the wrong measure.

Instead, there are familiar tunes, some centuries old, which are played again and again. An especially hoary trope is the notion of divided allegiances or plain disloyalty, as if, whatever their outward pretence, Jews really serve another master besides their country. Under Stalin, Jews, especially Jewish intellectuals, were condemned as “rootless cosmopolitans” (another euphemism) lacking in sufficient patriotism. The Mail’s insistence that Miliband Sr was not only disloyal but actively hated his country fits comfortably in that tradition.

In the antisemitic imagination, Jews are constantly working for some other, hidden goal. In this, antisemitism stands apart from other racisms, which tend to view the hated as straightforwardly inferior. Antisemitism is instead a conspiracy theory of power, believing that the Jews – always operating as a collective – are bent on some grand plan of world domination. Which is why images of Jews as puppet masters, or of having the world in their “financial grips”, as Baroness Jenny Tonge so memorably put it, always hit a nerve.

In the last century, antisemites of left and right diverged on exactly how the Jews planned to enslave the human race. Jew-haters of the left believed capitalism was the preferred method, while antisemites of the right reckoned communism was the Jews’ chosen tool, with Marx and Trotsky the fathers of an imagined “Judeo-Bolshevism”. The Mail’s dogged exhumation of Miliband’s Marxism, buttressed by references to Eric Hobsbawm and Harold Laski – funny, that of all Miliband’s many colleagues and comrades, the paper highlighted two who happened to be Jewish – carries a potent echo of that unhappy history.

And always on hand for the antisemite is some reference to Jews’ religious practice, real or imagined. For centuries, those who hate Jews would throw the phrase “chosen people” back in their faces, falsely interpreting it as a mandate for Jewish supremacism. Others would claim that Jews feasted on the blood of Christian children as part of their Passover ritual, the lethal “blood libel” that prompted anti-Jewish pogroms and cost Jewish lives for centuries. It might be a reminder that Jews were still chained to the Old Testament alone, unenlightened by the gentler, more forgiving teachings of Jesus. This is why I and many others – previously ready to give the Mail the benefit of the doubt on the matter of anti-Jewish prejudice in its coverage of Ralph Miliband – stopped at the reference in Tuesday’s editorial to “the jealous God of Deuteronomy.” That looked like another veiled pointer to both Miliband Sr’s indelible alienness – and his membership of an ancient, vengeful people.

Ah, but hasn’t the Mail been defended on TV by Jewish employees and hasn’t the odd rabbi said they did nothing wrong? This happens every time, too. But it’s not much of a defence. Every feminist knows a woman can always be found to say she sees no sexism, no matter how grave the offence to her fellow women. Why is it a surprise that some Jews will decide it doesn’t suit them to make a fuss, that they’d rather keep their heads down and get on? After all, it’s only antisemites who believe Jews operate not as individuals but in lockstep with each other, in pursuit of imagined Jewish goals. For that reason, it is neither here nor there that a Jewish reporter wrote the original piece. Besides, the most toxic elements were the headline and subsequent editorial – and those are the responsibility of the editor.

Antisemitism can seem a subtle, elusive business. Calling it out can feel too much like hard work, often prompting a torrent of abuse as hurtful as the original offence. But it has to be named for what it is – and not only by Jewish writers like me. History could not be clearer on this last point. Antisemitism may start with the Jews – but it rarely ends with the Jews.

Twitter: @Freedland

Daily Mail Accused Of Anti-Semitism Over Ralph Miliband Smears

By Jessica Elgot, Huffington Post UK
October 03, 2013

Senior Jewish figures have accused the Mail of anti-semitic insinuations in the paper’s attack on Ed Miliband’s father – a Jewish refugee from Nazism.

Labour adviser Lord Glasman told the Jewish Chronicle that calling Marxist academic Ralph Miliband ‘The Man Who Hated Britain” was a “classic McCarthyite slur”, comparing it to the witch-hunt against American Communists in the 1950s which he said was “overwhelmingly and predominantly anti-Jewish”.

Labour MP John Mann, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism tweeted on Wednesday:

Daily Mail on Ralph Miliband is the classical age old anti semitic smear about disloyal jews. As used by the Nazis supported by the Mail.

Miliband himself has not chosen to pick that fight. In an interview with the Evening Standard, editor Sarah Sands said Miliband “rejects the suggestion of some of his more indignant supporters that the attack on his father is closet racism. What happened, he said, was that the Mail simply stepped over the line and he could not let it pass.”

Both the author of the article, Geoffrey Levy, and the paper’s deputy editor, Jon Steafel who defended the piece on Newsnight, are Jewish.

Novelist Linda Grant wrote in an op-ed: “I do not know exactly what [Mail editor] Paul Dacre’s intentions were when he passed this story, or whether Geoffrey Levy volunteered it or was put up to hit by his bosses, but bursting forth out of it, in below-the-line comments, has been a revival of the “Jews can’t be trusted because of their divided loyalties” genre of antisemitism.”

Journalist Owen Jones also wrote that he was uncomfortable with the insinuations in the piece. “I don’t care if the Daily Mail got someone called Geoffrey Levy to write it. As others have pointed out, this whole episode reeks of anti-Semitism – of the rootless cosmopolitan Jew with contempt for his country, and so on,” he wrote.

Haaretz’s London correspondent Anshel Pfeffer wrote earlier this week that it would be “surprising” for Jewish communal bodies to weigh in to the debate – and the main Jewish representative body, the Board of Deputies, has refused to comment.

“The Jews of Britain have long been deeply involved across the political spectrum, but Levy’s piece… conjures up an age when “Jewish Communists” was a slur common among parts of the right-wing,” Pfeffer wrote.

“No mainstream publication would question Ed MIliband’s patriotism on account of his Jewishness, but that is already happening on far-left and far-right websites, and even in some of the readers’ comments on the Daily Mail site.

“It is, however, disconcerting that a nasty drip-drip campaign appears to be taking shape, based on Miliband’s family background, that is aimed at chipping away his legitimacy to one day be prime minister of Britain.”

The paper’s historic support for fascism, and opposition to Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism has been widely discussed in the days following the paper’s feature.

Several Rabbis have also weighed in on the debate, though the ministers differed on whether the insinuations of Ralph Miliband’s “outsider” status were indeed anti-Jewish in intent.

Rabbi Jonathan Romain, of Maidenhead Reform Synagogue, told HuffPost UK that the charge of anti-semitism would be “horrendous if true”.

“Ralph Miliband was an atheist, so it would have to be anti-semitism on racial grounds rather than religious ones. That would put the Mail in the same category as Hitler who defined a Jew as anyone with one Jewish grandparent – nothing to do with faith and purely according to their birth. I am sure – at least I hope I am sure – that the paper would never wish to be associated in the same sentence as Hitler,” he wrote in a blog.

“Only the Mail can reveal its true motives, but, even if innocent, the fact that it has sailed so close to such a line is to be regretted. Stirring up religious and racial passions is something we associate with the Nazis or the Golden Dawn party. It would be very un-British for the Mail to do that too.”

The JC quoted Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, saying the newspaper was “playing with fire.”

“The danger is that the paper’s attack on Ralph Miliband gives legitimacy to those that seek to cast all refugees and immigrants as ‘outsiders’ and question their loyalty. This is a concern not only for Jews but all those that share our experience and with whom we must stand,” he said.

But Rabbi Alan Plancey, a Conservative councillor in Elstree said “this is nothing to do with him being Jewish. The word isn’t mentioned and I don’t think we should start digging it up and making it into something it isn’t… This is a battle against Labour. The Daily Mail is a Conservative paper, so it’s political.”

The JC’s editorial said the paper detected ” a whiff of antisemitism that surrounds both the original piece and the subsequent Mail editorial seeking to justify it. Nothing is explicit in either. There is no direct association of Ralph Miliband’s Jewishness with his supposed hatred of Britain. But in this murky terrain there does not always need to be. Insinuation can be everything.

“Yet it is difficult to imagine that a newspaper with so finely trained a nose for nuance did not realise that, even if unintended, the allegations against Ralph Miliband, the outsider, could be interpreted as being allegations against Jews themselves.”

Ed Miliband: Mail treatment of family not an isolated incident

Labour leader airs concern for families not in public life who are targeted by newspapers in same way as his late father and uncle

By Rowena Mason,
October 04, 2013

Ed Miliband has said the treatment of his family by the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday is not an isolated incident and that more “lines should be drawn” in the conduct of the press.

The Labour leader said he did not want to pick a fight with the newspaper group, after the Daily Mail ran a story claiming his late father hated Britain.

However, he said he was moved to speak out as a son, not a politician, after the newspaper “crossed a line” in attacking Ralph Miliband, a prominent academic who died in 1994.

The row comes as politicians prepare to make decisions on the future of press regulation next week following the publication of the Leveson report on the culture and practices of the press.

Lord Rothermere, the owner of the Mail newspapers, has apologised after his Mail on Sunday title sent a reporter to a memorial service for Miliband’s uncle. However, the media group has refused to back down over its article about Miliband’s father.

Speaking on BBC Radio Five on Friday morning, the Labour leader repeated his call for Rothermere to “take a long, hard look” at the culture and practices of the newspaper group.

“I think these are important steps and I’ve had my say in this,” he said. “The thing I would say is that what I would hope that Lord Rothermere would do, and that’s what I said in my letter to him, is to look at the wider culture and practices of the Mail and the Mail on Sunday because I don’t think this is just an isolated incident that has just happened to my family and, frankly, I’m interested in the many other families who are not in public life who have had similar experiences.”

Miliband said he has always had a professional relationship with Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail, and did not believe the article had any antisemitic implications.

The newspaper’s city editor, Alex Brummer, said on Friday that he had been asked by Dacre to rebut the suggestion that the article had any implications of antisemitism. Asked why Dacre had not yet appeared in public to explain the piece, Brummer said the newspaper boss preferred to speak through his editorials.

Brummer said he thought the Mail was the injured party and deserved an apology in the fallout of the row. He said: “I think there are people out there who need to apologise to us because there have been vicious accusations in the last couple of days, from Neil Kinnock among others, that somehow this was an antisemitic attack.”

Miliband said the attack on his father went too far and he called for a wider investigation. “This is not a personal thing about [Dacre],” he said, “It’s about the standards of his newspaper and what the British people have a right to expect of newspapers in this country – and indeed of the Daily Mail – and where lines should be drawn.

Miliband has declined to refer the matter to the Press Complaints Commission. Labour has described it as a toothless tiger, not least because Dacre was chairman of the editor’s code of practice committee, which sets standards for journalists.

Dozens of politicians including Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, and Lord Moore, a former member of Lady Thatcher’s cabinet, have condemned the Daily Mail’s coverage. Hundreds of people have also complained to the Press Complaints Commission.

Asked why he was moved to speak out, Miliband said he had a personal reaction to the article that appeared in the Daily Mail last Saturday.

“It’s a very simple thing,” he said. “It’s about defending the honour of my dad, because the Daily Mail said that my father hated the country, and my father served in the Royal Navy, he loved Britain, he fought for our country and I’m afraid there’s a moment when a paper crosses a line and when I felt as a son that I had to speak out on behalf of my dad.

“My dad’s not alive any more, he can’t speak out, but I can and that’s why I did what I did and I think it was the right thing to do and, as I say, I was speaking as a son, not as a politician.”

Rothermere sent a private letter to Miliband on Thursday night in which he expressed regret at the intrusion at the memorial service – but he rejected claims that the incident reflected a wider problem with the culture and ethics at the two papers.

Earlier, the Mail on Sunday’s editor, Geordie Greig, who had been seen as a candidate to one day succeed Dacre on the Daily Mail, had issued his own unreserved apology for the intrusion. Two journalists, Jo Knowsley and assistant editor Amy Iggulden, are understood to have been suspended.

Lord Glasman, a senior Labour figure and ally of Miliband, compared the attack on Ralph Miliband to the McCarthyite hunting of communists in the US in the 1960s. Speaking on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, he praised the Labour leader’s “courageous” decision to take a stand against the Mail, adding that the row “has got to go on for a while”.

However, a number of Tories and media figures stood up for the Mail’s right to publish the story about Ralph Miliband, with some saying it should not be used as an excuse to curb press freedom.

Eight Lib Dem and Conservative ministers are currently considering the press proposal for newspaper controls through a royal charter, and the issue is expected to be debated by the privy council on Wednesday. If the proposals are dismissed, the privy council may then approve the royal charter backed by the three major political parties but rejected by some elements of the press.

As the row continued on Friday, George Jones, an adviser to the Leveson inquiry and former Daily Telegraph political editor, said he thought Miliband “does have an agenda here” beyond his right to defend his father.

He told the BBC’s World at One programme: “Where I worry about it is that if he’s trying to broaden this into an attack on the press, and an attack on the newspapers, I think he is misguided, and I still think even though I personally found some of the Daily Mail coverage on Ed Miliband distasteful, I still think newspapers have got to be free to report these things and take strong stands, strong opinions, even if people don’t like it.”

John Whittingdale, the Conservative chairman of the commons media select committee, also said newspapers should be allowed to debate the issue of Ralph Miliband’s political views.

“Many people may not like it, but nobody’s really suggesting the Mail should be prevented from running pieces like that, and certainly it’s not covered by the charters that are up for debate before the privy council.”

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