It hasn’t taken long for the anti-Jeremy Corbyn smear campaign to become a parody of itself, a succession of articles and allegations that in their predictability and desperation resemble that wonderful old ‘Daily Mail-o-matic‘ headline generator.
Fittingly then, the latest instalment of this mud-slinging version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon appears in today’s Mail, alleging that Corbyn has “long-standing links” with a man called Paul Eisen, a Holocaust Denier who has used pro-Palestinian activism as a vehicle for his own ideological agenda.
The Mail‘s “EXCLUSIVE” report is entirely based on a 9-week-old blog post penned by Eisen himself, making it feel less like ‘breaking news’, and more like the result of a desperate internet trawl.
Moreover, given that Eisen clearly has difficulties with historical fact, he is an odd choice of source. Don’t take our word for it that Corbyn is a nasty extremist, the Mail says, believe a Holocaust Denier instead. Thanks, but no thanks.
A response from Corbyn’s campaign only appears in the final fifth of the article. It reads as follows:
Paul Eisen is not someone Jeremy Corbyn’s office has any dealings with. Based upon what is in written in the articles here, anyone can call themselves a ‘long time associate’ when in fact that is not the case. Paul Eisen clearly holds some of the most extreme views that are entirely his, and Jeremy totally opposes them and disassociates himself from them.
Thus an alternative headline would be: “Corbyn categorically disassociates himself from views of Holocaust-denying blogger”. This is admittedly less newsworthy than the original version – but with the advantage of accuracy.
Even in the article itself, amusingly enough, the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews simply states how it “would be” alarming “if” Corbyn has links to Eisen. (And note that in the print edition, the story’s headline is simply: “Corbyn and the Holocaust denier.”)
It is no surprise to see that Jake Wallis Simons wrote the story, a writer with a track record in bashing critics of Israeli policies. He has previously attacked Oxfam and The Lancet, on both occasions using material by an Israeli group dedicated to attacking human rights NGOs.
In February, Simons wrote an article for the Mail claiming that the EU was “funding illegal West Bank building projects”, a reference to Palestinian structures denied permits by Israel. Simons’ source was a report by Regavim, an Israeli organisation that, according to their international director Ari Briggs, is all about “keeping Jewish lands in Jewish hands.”
Of course, based on his own logic, Simons is thus “linked” to a right-wing, religious nationalist group that seeks the expulsion of an occupied population from their own land. What is certain, however, is that Simons is very much linked to the production of laughably poor journalism.