Palestinians win damages over “Labour anti-Semitism” libel

Jeremy Corbyn addressing an anti-war protest in 2014. (Garry Knight/Flickr)

The UK’s Palestinian Return Centre revealed to The Electronic Intifada on Friday that it won more than $43,000 in libel damages against The Mail on Sunday.

In an out-of-court settlement, the newspaper has also agreed to pay legal costs, expected to total at least $120,000.

The paper admitted having defamed the Palestinian group last year, in the course of serializing a book about Labour’s then leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The London-based advocacy group campaigns for the right of Palestnians expelled by Israel since 1948 to return to their homes.

Tom Bower’s book Dangerous Hero: Corbyn’s Ruthless Plot for Power and the Mail’s serialization had both falsely alleged the group is “known to blame the Jews for the Holocaust.”

The Mail on Sunday has withdrawn the allegation, admitting that it stemmed “from misreporting of comments” by an audience member at a Palestinian Return Centre event.

In a separate move, Bower and his publisher HarperCollins in January withdrew the allegation which they admit is false and say they “regret making.”

Bower had “relied on a contemporaneous newspaper report” of the event in the House of Lords.

The false claim will not appear in any future printings of the book. It was removed before publication of the paperback in November.

Colonial lies

The Palestinian Return Centre meeting which had been the subject of the original smear took place in October 2016.

It was a launch of the group’s campaign to pressure the British government to apologize for the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

The British imperial declaration started the long process of handing Palestine over to the European settlers who led the Zionist movement – at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians, who were forced out.

A formal investigation of the meeting in 2017 rejected claims by Israeli ambassador Mark Regev that the meeting had been anti-Semitic.

At least two of the original reports by right-wing, pro-Israel newpapers, which sought to smear the meeting as anti-Semitic cited a blog post by pro-Israel activist David Collier.

Racist blogger

Collier falsely alleged that a person at the meeting had made comments amounting to declaring that “the Holocaust is a hoax.”

Collier has a long history of anti-Palestinian racism.

Yet he is also taken seriously by mainstream journalists and was the source for many of the “Labour anti-Semitism crisis” smears over the last five years.

At a 2016 panel discussion, he smeared and dehumanized “the Palestinian refugee” as “a weapon” which was “created as an artificial entity” against Israel and “the West.”

Collier echoed typical Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian language with concerns about “demographics” – a thinly-veiled code for the idea that too many Palestinian or Muslim babies are being born.

He has also written that for British-Palestinian students to campaign for their own human rights amounts to a Palestinian “invasion of the [British] university.”

Corbyn’s downfall

While he was leader of Labour, Jeremy Corbyn was constantly smeared as an anti-Semite. This played a major role in his downfall.

In 2018, Corbyn was attacked by right-wing media and the Israel lobby for having spoken at a 2013 Palestinian Return Centre event.

The video above shows Corbyn speaking at another Palestinian Return Centre event the same year – an example of his longstanding and principled support for Palestinian rights.

The group – which is led by British-Palestinian refugees – has been targeted and smeared by the Israeli government for more than a decade.

A decade ago, Israel falsely alleged the group is an “affiliate” of Hamas – a Palestinian political party and resistance movement banned by Israel and the UK.

The Palestinian Return Centre’s director Majed al-Zeer is a refugee whose family was driven from their Jerusalem home in 1948 by a Zionist militia.

“We have done nothing wrong, nothing under the table,” al-Zeer told The Electronic Intifada in 2010. “It’s Palestine, and we will keep supporting the issue of Palestine.”

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It is because of racist bloggers like David Collier ,spreading lies ,smears of antisemitism about Jeremy Corbyn that he lost the last election and eventually resigned . It is standard methods of operation by the zionists in adjusting the narrative to their liking .
So good to see that the proverbial pendulum is starting to swing in the proper direction and exposing people like Collier , lying shills for Israel ,for so many years .May we see finally ,the truth of history and reparations for the Palestinian people for their suffering and stolen property.

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Bower's book is an interesting read, if you like fantasy. That it ever saw the light of day is a comment on the nature of our culture. You can find a publisher for any nonsense, however ill-researched and badly written, if it upholds the notion that the status quo is democratic , virtuous, the rich wonderful people without whom we'd all be living in caves and any alternative a form of evil madness which would lead to Armageddon in a fortnight. Of course, the apology from the publisher is hollow: they knew what they were publishing. As for Collier' s groundless allegation, it is all too typical of Zionist propaganda. Adherence to honesty is displaced when the rights of the Zionists to do what they like in Palestine is concerned. Perhaps this is an inevitable consequence of messianic entitlement: if you believe you are the master race, that god has given you absolute rights, presumably it is difficult to remember the responsibility to behave with honesty and principle. Why would you if you believe that Palestinians are inferior and that they occupy a land granted to you thousands of years ago? Begin from a false premise and everything that follows is going to be false. That's why facts, evidence, honesty, objectivity are important and should inform debate. Of course, they don't because the world is set up in the interests of the rich and powerful. As Chomsky says: "Nothing is easier than to convince oneself of the merits of actions and policies that serve self-interest." Hence, we should always ask, "Who benefits?" Perhaps the true test of an argument is that the person who makes it has nothing to gain from it, or even something to lose. When we in the rich countries argue for policies to assist the poor, without strings, perhaps that's an example. When Zionists accuse anyone who supports the Palestinians of anti-Semitism, we know rationality has evaporated and self-interest has defeated honesty.

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Bower has form in this area; he works on the Herodotus Principle; "If you have gaps in your knowledge about something, make up something to fill them with!" An Armenian girlfriend told me that Herodotus is known in her country as "The Father Of Lies" (he wrote an article about Armenia which is used to teach children in this country Ancient Greek, and evrything in it is untrue; e.g Armenians do not live in underground houses!) Bower learnt everything he knows from him.

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Labour's antisemitism has been mastered by the Zionists by being able to infiltrate the BBC and national newspapers.
Paying money to Kier Starmer for his leadership bid. Who has blatantly turned the Labour Party into friends of Zionists.
Trying to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn and all Left-wingers who want a fair Democratic Socialist Party.
If so many people are going to be barred from the LP including Jeremy Corbyn we should debate starting a Party with JC that is a Democratic Socialist Party that gives people a true hope of a more equal life.

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Please do .This game played by the zionists is way past it's time .Not a UK citizen but I watched Jeremy get clobbered purely by innuendo , lies and disinformation .
I don't care much for the Labour party but Jeremy was and is a decent man with principles.Pity that few still have such.

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Asa Winstanley

Asa Winstanley's picture

Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist and associate editor with The Electronic Intifada. He lives in London. Biography here.