Lib Dems open investigation into 'fake antisemitism' speech by Bromley party activist

Jonathan Coulter accused the BBC of contributing towards the ‘brainwashing’ of Britain ahead of the 2019 election


The Liberal Democrats have launched an independent investigation into a speech made by a spokesperson for the party in Bromley, south London, who claimed the “fake antisemitism campaign against Labour is the worst single episode of misinformation I have ever witnessed.”

Jonathan Coulter, a former editor of the Liberal Democrats Friends of Palestine newsletter, was a speaker at the December 12 launch of an organisation called the Campaign for Free Speech.

Declaring he had been a Lib Dem member for five and a half years, Mr Coulter claimed that since 2015 the mainstream media had “put out a uniform wall-to-wall narrative” on Labour’s antisemitism issue  “and failed to report evidence that disputes it.”

Mr Coulter, who is regularly quoted as the local Bromley party’s spokesperson,  then claimed: “It is a surreal situation, where BBC produces a documentary about Chinese treatment of Uighurs, called ‘How to Brainwash a Million People’ (broadcast 25/11/19), while itself contributing to the brainwashing of tens of millions of British people, by more subtle means, in the run-up to the 2019 General Election.”

Mr Coulter then praised the Campaign For Free Speech’s “unapologetic approach in dealing with antisemitism smears, and contrast this to supporters of Palestinian rights who often appease the pro-Israel lobby in one way or another – sugaring the pill, hiding the truth, always talking about sensitivities, hoping to gain acceptance with the media, political parties or whatever.”

The newly formed group has been  co-organised by Labour Left Alliance and Labour against the Witch-hunt – both of which have attacked claims of antisemitism in their party under Jeremy Corbyn and seen members expelled from Labour over allegations involving antisemitism.

Continuing his speech, which was posted in full on the Jewish Voice For Labour website,  Mr Coulter also praised Kerry-Anne Mendoza, the editor of The Canary website, which is under investigation by the government’s independent adviser on antisemitism, Lord Mann.

He said: “I therefore wholeheartedly agree with Kerry-Anne’s recent article, ‘How to fight the witch-hunt and win’, when she says ‘Every capitulation emboldens them. And that’s why it has to stop’.”

In September new Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey vowed to improve the party’s vetting processes on antisemitism.

He also expressed support for the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of antisemitism.

Asked to comment on Mr Coulter’s speech, a Liberal Democrat spokesperson told the JC : “The party has received a complaint and in line with our processes an independent investigation has been opened.”

The JC has approached Mr Coulter for comment.

He later said:"Assuming this is true, I shall wait to hear from the party."


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