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How many fourth-rate academics are first-rate bigots?

19 April 2018

4:31 PM

19 April 2018

4:31 PM

A couple of weeks ago I wrote two pieces about a very rum collection of ‘academics’ who had written to The Guardian defending Jeremy Corbyn from accusations of anti-Semitism.  Since then it is safe to say that the debate has not gone their way.  Or to put it another way – particularly after Tuesday’s debate in Parliament when Jewish Labour MPs and others testified to the racism now rife within the Labour party – there is even more evidence of anti-Semitism in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party today than there was when those forty ‘academics’ wrote to the Guardian.

Of course back then I had a bit of fun with the fact that the academics in question seemed not only to be at distinctly fourth-rate institutions, but also seemed to be ‘experts’ in non-subjects.  Almost every signatory was in a ‘media studies’ department, where their expertise ranged from ‘zombie studies’ to ‘Star Wars’.  One signatory was a saxophonist.  Personally I have no especially fixed attitudes either for or against the saxophone.  But why playing the saxophone should be said to give anyone any authority on the matter of anti-Semitism is quite beyond me.

Anyhow, imagine my surprise, nay my absolute amazement at the discovery that one of the signatories of that letter (zombie lady, as it turned out) should now turn out to have some very ugly views of her own.

In what may be a journalistic first for the Huffington Post that publication has discovered that Jane Dipple of the ‘University of Winchester’ may not be a neutral voice on the whole issue of Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism.

According to the Huffington Post, this ‘lecturer in media and communication’ has been very active in the past on social media on the matters of Jews and Zionism.  You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read that Ms Dipple had been chuntering away on Palestine Live (the anti-Semitic Facebook group of which Jeremy Corbyn and his son were also members) about these subjects.  Among her posts she refers to one ‘Icke’.  By which perhaps she is referring to David Icke – precisely the sort of thinker I would expect a ‘lecturer in media and communication’ at the University of Winchester to be in the habit of citing.  Anyhow Ms Dipple refers to ‘Icke’ who apparently referred to ‘rampant Zionism across the media.’  Elsewhere she refers to a ‘Zionist attempt to create a pure race’.  And she also merrily re-posts from the neo-Nazi website ‘The Daily Stormer’.  The piece from that disgusting publication which so impressed the University of Winchester’s ‘lecturer in media and communications’ was headlined ‘BBC To Replace Male Jew Political Editor With Female Jew.’

The University of Winchester has responded to the Huffington Post story by saying ‘We were shocked by the content in these posts and we are investigating further as a matter of urgency.’  Well let me just say that I doubt that there is anyone outside the public relations department of the University of Winchester who is shocked by this.

Nonetheless, the episode does demand another set of questions.  Did the Guardian letter come about at the request of Seumas Milne?  Was it coordinated by Mr Milne’s former Guardian colleague (now at Goldsmith’s, University of London) Becky Gardiner?  Why did the Guardian not notice that the whole thing was a put-up job?  Did Becky Gardiner and her colleagues at Goldsmith’s, University of London and elsewhere know about the views of Ms Dipple?  And if so why were they happy aligning themselves with somebody who happily cites neo-Nazi publications while trying to defend Jeremy Corbyn from charges of anti-Semitism?

Personally it would not surprise me if other signatories to the Guardian letter shared some of Ms Dipple’s views.  Perhaps anyone who has access to the Palestine Live Facebook group, among others, could let us all know which other fourth-rate academics also turn out to be first-rate bigots?

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