Smears, Aaron Porter and the Tory press

Yesterday morning’s editions of the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Telegraph, along with Sky News, claimed that Saturday’s student protests in Manchester were marred by what the papers claim was a “barrage of anti-Semitic abuse” that was “hurled” at beleaguered NUS president Aaron Porter.

The Mail cites a single, anonymous source for its story

The national president of the NUS pulled out of speaking at a student fees rally after being surrounded by demonstrators calling for his resignation and shouting anti-Semitic insults at him.

Aaron Porter had to be escorted to safety by police this morning as he made his way to his offices in Manchester.

Protesters shouted ‘Students, workers, hear our shout! We want Aaron Porter out!’ and ‘Aaron Porter we know you, you’re a f******* Tory too!’

One photographer reported chants of ‘Tory Jew scum’ directed at Mr Porter, who is facing calls to step down as NUS president by members of the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts, who claim he has ‘lost the confidence of the movement’.

The rest of the article retreats to a familiar position of attacking the protesters and playing up the government line. The article also ignores the reason for the protests which it simply puts down to “tuition fees”. Once again, the fact that higher education is facing some of the deepest cuts in 30 years isn’t mentioned.

This article from the Alliance for Workers Liberty (a Shachtmanite sect) sets the record straight. The AWL are rather sensitive when it comes to anti-Semitism, so if they are saying that no such chants were made, then it is entirely likely that this story has been manufactured in an effort to smear the student movement and the trade unions.

The quality of the Daily Mail’s ‘evidence’ (“A photographer said he also heard cries of ‘Tory Jew scum’”) should tell you something about the veracity of their claim. (In fact the chants were “Aaron Porter, we know you, you’re a fucking Tory too”, “Students, workers, hear us shout, Aaron Porter sold us out” and “Porter – out”.) The Mail’s accuracy can also be gauged from the fact it claims Porter took refuge in University of Manchester Students’ Union, when in fact it was Manchester Metropolitan Union.

The Telegraph thinks it can go one better. Like the Mail, it opens with accusations of anti-Semitic abuse,

Aaron Porter was escorted by officers after being confronted as he made his way to offices in Manchester. Witnesses report that among the chants directed at him from a small number of demonstrators were “——- Tory Jew”. Other protesters responded to the anti-semitic taunts aimed at Mr Porter by chanting: “No to racism, no to racism.”

Again, there are no witnesses named. The Telegraph even throws in imagined chants of  “No to racism”. The entire article looks as though it has been fabricated from remnants of the Mail’s story. Only 24 hours earlier, the Telegraph printed this,

Campaigners shouted: “Students, workers, hear our shout! We want Aaron Porter out!” and “Aaron Porter we know you, you’re a ******* Tory too!”

This blog puts the whole thing into perspective.

According to both the Mail and the Telegraph, Porter told them that he had been ‘racially abused’.  Today’s Jerusalem Post picked up on the story. But the article looks as though it’s been distilled from the same source as the Telegraph article.

The Independent makes no mention of supposed anti-Semitism and nor does The Guardian.

During the incident, Mr Porter was subjected to chants of “students, workers, hear our shout! We want Aaron Porter out!” and “Aaron Porter we know you, you’re a fucking Tory, too!”

There is no mention of Porter’s supposed Jewishness. If anything, he’s half-Trinidadian according to his Wikipedia entry.

The government and its agents will do anything to divide the protest movement. If this means lying and making things up, then that is what they will do.

Here’s the video. I can’t hear any “anti-Semitic abuse”.

The anti-Zionist blog, Jews sans Fronteires, doesn’t agree with the Tory press.

So does anyone have any evidence for these allegations of antisemitism or has the meaning of antisemitism morphed (yet again) from anti-Jewish to anti-racist to anti-establishment?

That’s a very good question though this is pretty typical behaviour for a paper that ran the headline “Hurrah for the Blackshirts”! on 8 January 1934.

UPDATE @ 1825

Changed “Matgamna-ist” to Shachtmanite. The AWL was founded by Sean Matgamna. Both are associated with so-called Third Camp socialism.


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Filed under Media, propaganda, Tory press, Yellow journalism

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