Cross-post from Howie’s Corner
On Tuesday 10th June 2014 I published an article entitled The return of the maleficent Socialist Unity website, which was also cross-posted at Harry’s Place. In this I made a jest about the “world Zionist Conspiracy” which Mr Newman has taken offence to. He wishes to make it clear that he objects to the inference that he is an anti-Semite.
I wish to make it clear that the passage in question was intended as satirical and not designed to infer that Mr Newman was himself a follower of any kind of Zionist conspiracy theory.
The offending articles have now been taken off-line.
I accept that he is not an anti-Semite and his views on Israel and Zionism are not based on anti-Semitism. I also accept his assurances that he is a prominent opponent of anti-Semitism and has mainstream views on Israel and anti-Zionism.
It was wrong for me to suggest otherwise.
Mr Newman’s letter is reproduced below in full for your information and without prejudice.
As you are probably aware there is a defined pre-action protocol for defamation cases, which is designed to aid communication and early settlement. For your assistance, here is the guidance from the Ministry of Justice:
The aim of the pre-action protocol is to avoid expense, so I trust that we can come to an arrangement. I am happy to involve solicitors if necessary, and in a past libel action I received financial support from my union.
I am Andrew David Newman
I wish to draw to your attention an article by yourself called “The return of the maleficent Socialist Unity website”
This was published at the Harry’s Place website on June 11th 2014, 7:23 am
It was also published at the Howie’s Corner website on Tuesday, 10 June 2014
For your convenience, the links to these web pages are:
In this article, you write the following:
“The execrable Socialist Unity, home of the (un)holy trinity of Andy Newman, John Wight and Tony Collins returned on-line yesterday after having been down due to problems with their providers over the domain name, At least (for once) they didn’t blame the situation on the world Zionist plot and for that one supposes we should be grateful……”
Your comment clearly explicitly associates me with the unsupportable claim that I habitually blame situations on a “world Zionist plot”, and therefore you make a clear inference that I am an anti-Semite.
Can I point out to you that I have long track record of publically opposing anti-Semitism, including an article opposing anti-Semitism in the print version of the Guardian newspaper; that I have only ever written about or referred to Zionism infrequently; and that my views on both Zionism and the state of Israel are moderate and mainstream.
You could not reasonably have believed that your claim that I am anti-Semitic was true or supportable by evidence. Nor could you have reasonably believed that I habitually blame situations on a “world Zionist plot”
The words in your article therefore constitute a knowlingly false statement designed to damage my reputation, and the context of the whole article, and previous writtings by you about myself, establish that there is a malicious and hostile intent.
I am a prospective parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party, and a prominent lay official in the GMB trade union; any inference that I am anti-Semitic is therefore especially damaging to my political and trade union career, and to the Labour Party and my union.
Please respond immediately to this email. If I have not heard from you by Monday 16th June, I will place this matter in the hands of my solicitors.
I seek the following remedy:
I wish you to immediately withdraw the article from both Harrys Place and Howie’s Corner.
On both Harrys Place and Howies Corner I also require you to publish an “above the line” apology, accepting that you were wrong to imply that I am anti-Semitic, and stating that you accept that I have both mainstream and moderate views about Israel and Zionism; and accepting that I am a prominent and long term opponent of anti-Semitism
If you act as I request, then I will take no further legal action. However, if you do not do so, then I will take the matter to my solicitors, and I will be seeking substantial financial damages from you
This post has also been cross posted at Harry’s Place as per Mr Newman’s request.