An image of Jeremy Corbyn smiling at a public event Photo: Andy Miah

The British media tells a partial story on racism and its claims against the Labour leader run contrary to the evidence, writes Lindsey German

The British media should be ashamed on two counts since Monday. The first concerns the story about Jeremy Corbyn attending the Jewdas Passover Seder, which amazingly was turned into a headline that this was further evidence of his antisemitism. The second is the statement by the head of Porton Down that there is no evidence of Russian involvement in the Skripal case. Are they connected? Unfortunately, yes.

The Jewdas story was headline news on Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, and this minor story has been turned into a major one largely by the BBC. Later BBC TV news questioned Jon Lansman on whether Jeremy Corbyn should receive training over unconscious bias on antisemitism – a question which Lansman did far too little to treat with the contempt it deserved.

It is quite incredible that the BBC – stuffed full of privileged, white, upper and middle class people who have been through the requisite training of public school and Oxbridge – should lecture anyone on unconscious bias. But even more so when the ‘crime’ of Corbyn was to attend a Jewish celebration organised by Jewish people.

There is antisemitism throughout British society. It exists in the Labour Party as it does in all major parties, as do all forms of racism. Tuesday was designated ‘punish a Muslim day’ by some racists – a designation which has brought real fear and concern to Muslim communities. It wasn’t mentioned to the best of my knowledge by the BBC. Specific racism has to be recognised and dealt with wherever it occurs, and that is true of antisemitism, but it also needs to be seen within the overall context of a highly racist society.

The mainstream media is at fault in playing down this society-wide racism while focusing on one section of one party – Labour’s left. It is a dishonesty of omission – of not telling the whole story.

And what does this have to do with the Skripal case? Linking them both is of course the attack on Jeremy Corbyn, called a traitor for daring to question the provenance of a nerve agent. But now the head of Porton Down has confirmed that no one knows its provenance – and that those who say they do are relying not on hard evidence but supposition.

So Corbyn was right to question this. But so far news reports have not had the decency to acknowledge it.

Lindsey German

As national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey was a key organiser of the largest demonstration, and one of the largest mass movements, in British history.

Her books include ‘Material Girls: Women, Men and Work’, ‘Sex, Class and Socialism’, ‘A People’s History of London’ (with John Rees) and ‘How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women’.