A year ago, the BBC newsmagazine program Panorama ran interviews with seven former Labor-party staffers exposing the extent to which anti-Semitism had overtaken the party under the leadership of the obsessive Israel-hater Jeremy Corbyn. The party’s leaders responded by hurling accusations of journalistic malpractice at John Ware, who produced the episode, and by trying to undercut the credibility of the whistleblowers. Ware took the Labor leaders to court, and on Wednesday the case concluded with the party apologizing and agreeing to pay “substantial” damages. Explaining his decision to seek legal remedy, Ware writes:
There’s an unwritten code that says we journalists should never sue because however offensive or defamatory criticism of our journalism may be, we hold free speech sacrosanct. It was a rule with which for decades I agreed. I no longer do.
That is why my proceedings against Labor are only the first of several I have begun against alternative media outlets and individuals. I make no apology for this and fully intend to prove my claims in court. To this day, pro-Corbyn conspiracy theorists persist in repeating their falsehoods. They are convinced of the righteousness of their efforts to destroy the BBC’s Panorama for giving a voice to people who felt they had been victims of anti-Semitism and to the party officials who felt they had been frustrated in their attempts to deal with this in a climate that had become increasingly hostile to them since Corbyn won his leadership election for the second time in 2016.
Some of the wildest criticism against Panorama came from the then-chair of Momentum, [the pro-Corbyn faction within Labor], Jon Lansman, who accused me and my BBC colleagues of having “flouted basic journalistic standards from beginning to end.” He even suggested that senior Labor staffers had engaged in a long-term plot to undermine Corbyn by deliberately consulting his office by email on anti-Semitism cases in order to establish a documentary chain that could later be used to smear Corbyn by alleging that his office had interfered in complaints. This magnificent conspiracy theory has been adopted by the recently leaked Momentum-authored report [on the subject].
The pro-Corbyn [online news] outlets . . . have also piled in with multiple attempts to discredit the program [and] have dismissed anti-Semitism complaints as a smear concocted to damage Corbyn, to silence his support for Palestinians, and to prevent the success of his socialist project.
Accusations on these websites include the suggestion that the BBC had caved to “pressure from political Zionists”—in other words, that complaints about anti-Semitism originated from a Zionist conspiracy.