By Marcus Dysch
July 29, 2010
I was surprised to see a letter in this week’s edition of the JC from Seph Brown, currently a volunteer working on Ed Miliband’s Labour leadership campaign.
Not that there is anything wrong with Mr Brown writing to air his views – he’s very welcome to, but perhaps he should get his facts right first.
He writes following a news story we carried a fortnight ago about his new job in Mr Miliband’s office.
In his letter he states:
“You refer to me as an ‘anti-Israel’ activist who holds ‘reprehensible views’. I even appear in the JC’s antisemitism section online.”
Given Mr Brown’s previous credentials – readers will remember him as the university anti-racism officer who paraded around campus in a keffiyeh brandishing a “Free Palestine” placard (above) – it is a bit rich for him to now claim he “never expressed the views he is accused of” and “there is no truth to the claims made against me in my university days”.
It should also be noted that the claim of “reprehensible views” was not made by the Jewish Chronicle, but rather in that news story by his current employer, Mr Miliband.
Mr Brown is not an antisemite. There is no evidence to suggest whatsoever that he is. Indeed it is unfortunate, to say the least, that the JC’s website had included the story in a section which collates pieces about antisemitism. That has been rectified this morning.
He should, of course, also be allowed to continue his career without his past being dragged up. But re-writing his history is not the answer.
For Mr Brown to now promote himself as a great advocate of peace in the Middle East, a defender of Jewish rights and history, and supporter of Israel’s right to safety, is utterly laughable.
Sadly, British politics, and arguments over the Middle East, will be forever blighted by jumped-up, lightweight, wanna-be politicians of Mr Brown’s ilk.
A number of people have asked my where they can see Mr Brown's original letter. For some reason the JC doesn't upload letters to the website, so I am kindly reproducing the letter for you here:
You refer to me (Ed Miliband keeps anti-Israel worker, July 16), as an ‘anti-Israel activist’ who holds ‘reprehensible views’. I even appear in the JC’s anti-Semitism section online.
I am not anti-Israeli and I never expressed the reprehensible views I am accused of. I support a two-state solution where Israelis and Palestinians live side-by-side in peace. I oppose racism in all forms including anti-Semitism and it sickens me to have been labeled in this way.
There is no truth to the claims made against me in my university days, which were rejected at the time by the Dean. At the LSE, I was a pro-Palestinian campaigner, but I was also the Anti-Racism Officer and organised the first Inter-Faith Week and the first event in living memory in which Israel and Palestine Societies shared a platform.
The Jewish people, who have suffered perhaps more than any single group throughout human history, deserve to determine their own destiny, as it has been repeatedly denied to them for millennia. Israel should exist free from terror, and nothing can justify attacks on civilian populations.
I will continue to strive for peace in the Middle East.