Jack Mendel
The Online Editor at the Jewish News

Spreading fake apologies just as foul as spreading fake news

Top: Grahame Morris' initial tweet and apology. Bottom: Richard Burgon caught saying 'Zionism is the enemy of peace', and a Rothschild conspiracy tweet from Rachel Swindon, who Morris retweeted. (Jewish News)
Top: Grahame Morris' initial tweet and apology. Bottom: Richard Burgon caught saying 'Zionism is the enemy of peace', and a Rothschild conspiracy tweet from Rachel Swindon, who Morris retweeted. (Jewish News)

Labour must stop its MPs hiding behind mealy-mouthed excuses and start taking responsibility for their views.

In the past 2 weeks, two Labour MPs have been caught bang-to-rights sharing fake news, and have both got off scot-free.

First, Richard Burgon denied he’d said “Zionism is the enemy of peace”, before being shown a clip of him saying exactly that. Then, Grahame Morris took to Twitter to share a video of Guatemalan soldiers beating a youth – claiming it was Israeli soldiers.

Morris responded to one of his followers who said he’d “got this one wrong” saying “you are right and many apologies for my honest mistake”, before cushioning his apology with an anti-Israel spiel.

He later issued a fuller apology and warned against fake news online. But, perhaps he should reflect on the way he surrounds himself in dark ideological circles before claiming it was an “honest mistake”.

In 2014 he twice caused outrage, after having posted a comment to a picture of Israeli flags, alongside the words: “Nazis in my village, do you see the flag they fly”. Later that year, he compared IDF lone soldiers to ISIS, and refused to apologise.

Labour dug him out of the Nazi comment – saying it was “poorly-worded”, before trying to soften it by saying he “has campaigned against discrimination all his life.”  In other words – a slap on the wrist and carry on.

The reality, is when an MP like Grahame think it’s OK to compare Israel to Nazis and ISIS; it’s only logical, that when a fake news story depicting Israel in a negative light comes along, he doesn’t think twice; he shares it, because it fits his world view.

It’s no surprise, that his most recent blunder came from an account which had shared grotesque Rothschild conspiracy theories.

Take responsibility for your views, and for the people you mix with.

The second case, Richard Burgon, was even more brazen.

Richard Burgon caught in the act

When it was put to him he’d said “Zionism is the enemy of peace”, he denied it on TV, before being shown a clip.

In his statement after the expose, he says “when it was put to me in August 2016 that I had made these remarks I did not recall doing so”.

Then he claimed he “asked for the full quotes to be provided to me…I received no reply, so I believed it was inaccurate..”

Finally, plucking up some courage, he admitted “It is now clear that I did and I regret doing so”, but not before trying caveat his ‘regret’ saying he does “not agree”, and that “I made those remarks in 2014, which was before I was elected as an MP.”

In other words: I said it, but here are all the reasons why I don’t have to take responsibility for my views, which I tried to claim I never even held. Denial, obfuscation, excuses.

Like Jeremy Corbyn in the wake of the wreath laying for Black September terrorists, Richard and Grahame are ‘present but not involved’ in their own views.

They don’t want to take responsibility for what they say and who they mix, and they know that as long as they come up with an ‘apology’ which is mealy-mouthed enough, Labour won’t act.

So, carry on.

About the Author
Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.
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