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The Cold War on British Muslims: Questions of Accuracy

November 24, 2016 23:03

By Tom Mills, Tom Griffin and David Miller

With a provocative title like ‘The War on the Truth’ one might expect Jonathan Hoffman’s blog posting on the launch of our report to detail at least some inaccuracy in the evidence we presented. He not only fails to do so, but, ironically given his polemical title, also fails to report what he heard accurately. Hoffman imagines having heard a ‘forensic dissection’ of the Rubin Foundation and the Stanley Kalms Foundation. Neither was mentioned in our presentation.

He complains that there was only ‘cursory reference to the Peter Cruddas Foundation,’ because ‘the only funders Mills seemed to be interested in were those with an Israel connection.’ It was made very clear in our presentation that the reason the Peter Cruddas Foundation would not be discussed in any detail was because we did not believe it has funded Policy Exchange’s work on Islam and multiculturalism. As we note in the report, the Peter Cruddas Foundation states in its accounts that its funding was for, ‘Mending Britain’s Broken Families’ ‘Supply Side Reform and Competitiveness’ and ‘Child Poverty’.

Again implying that our presentation was motivated simply by ideological antipathy to Israel, Hoffman complains that the John Templeton Foundation and the Nigel Vinson Charitable Trust were not mentioned as donors of the Centre for Social Cohesion. The simple explanation for this apparent oversight is that neither were in fact identified as donors (both funded Civitas before the Centre for Social Cohesion became independent from it in 2008).

Hoffman further complains that the New Heritage Foundation was not mentioned. In this case he is correct at least to identify this Foundation as a donor, but in doing so he inadvertently undermines his own argument. If we were only interested in donors with an Israel connection, the New Heritage Foundation would have been top of our list. It was headed by the late Cyril Stein, a hardline Zionist who funded illegal settlements in the West Bank and attacked the former Chief Rabbi Lord Jakobovits for speaking out in favour of Palestinian refugees. It was not mentioned because it is a relatively minor donor.

Jonathan Hoffman’s posting may be full of inaccuracies and contradictions, but the article he points readers to on the website Harry’s Place is much worse. Hoffman at least restricts his misplaced criticisms to the political question of Israel.

Writing on Harry’s Place, Tom Wilson seeks to portray us as racists, describing the launch as ‘some kind of crackpot event about global Jewish conspiracies’. He degrades himself by indulging in such mendacious smears. Wilson disingenuously suggests that the Centre for Social Cohesion’s major donor, Stanley Kalms, was criticised in our presentation on the basis that he worked with the Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. As Wilson is well aware, the point actually made about Kalms in the presentation was not that he worked with Jonathan Sacks, but that he called for Sacks’ resignation as Chief Rabbi, claiming that he not supportive enough of Israel. Kalms also attacked William Hague (the current Foreign Secretary) for describing Israel’s 2006 assault on Lebanon as ‘disproportionate’.

Our point on the donors behind the Centre for Social Cohesion and Policy Exchange is not that some of them are Jewish, since, as is well known, many British Jews are involved in campaigns for justice in the Middle East. No, our point is that they are an extremist political faction even within conservative circles. It is this fact, not their religion or cultural background, that raises questions about the output and activities of these two think-tanks.

We welcome discussion and criticism of our findings and we do not expect writers like Jonathan Hoffmann to like all of the facts we reveal, or to agree with all our conclusions. But he demeans himself and discredits his own arguments by resorting to false and defamatory smears.

November 24, 2016 23:03

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