The ‘Campaign Against Antisemitism’ (CAA) was set up in August 2014, by a group of social media activists, following a number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain, that appeared to have been triggered by 7 weeks of Israeli military air strikes and ground bombardment on the Gaza strip (resulting in the deaths of close to 2,300 civilians). It’s understood this was an IDF revenge attack for the earlier kidnapping and killing of 3 Israeli teenagers by Hamas.
According to the CAA’s website, their Chief Executive is Gideon Falter, who it says has been their “the principal organiser” and their elected leader since autumn 2014 and who currently also serves as a Board member of the Jewish National Fund UK. They also have a ‘Director of Organisation and Finance’, who they say was previously their “Head of Online Monitoring and Investigations” (although for some odd reason they decided not to name them on their website) and a Director of Investigations and Enforcement, Stephen Silverman, who they describe as “a former IT and business consultant”.
In August 2014, the CAA demonstrated against the Tricycle Theatre in London, after the Theatre refused to host the Jewish Film Festival unless they rejected a £1400 sponsorship from the Israeli embassy (which the Tricycle Theatre even offered to replace), following the attack on Gaza. The condition was later withdrawn.
The CAA came under early criticism in January 2015 when the Institute for Jewish Policy Research dismissed a CAA report about anti-Semitism and said that it was “littered with flaws” and “may even be rather irresponsible”. Around the same time, the ‘All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism’ raised concerns that the CAA were conflating legitimate concerns and protests over Israel’s actions with anti-Semitism.
British-born Israeli journalist Anshel Pfeffer further criticised the CAA report in the Haaretz newspaper at the time, saying that over half the people taking part in the survey showed “a disconnect from reality which borders on hysteria” and were unrepresentative of the Jewish community in Britain. Pfeffer questioned the CAA’s interpretations of what constituted Antisemitism and criticised how the report was peppered with subjective feelings and didn’t really tackle “the actual situation on the ground”. Pfeffer argues how, “In their eagerness to prove a point, the CAA has created its own definition of Antisemitism” and “over-diagnosing the illness.”
The CAA became a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) on 1 October 2015 (based in London, registration no. 1163790), with Gideon Falter as its Chairman and it’s worth noting that the CAA’s National Antisemitic Crime Audit arm has access to Antisemitic crime data from all police forces in the UK, which it analyses to assess trends and then makes recommendations to the British government.
In August 2017, Simon Johnson, the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council criticised the CAA for a survey of British Jews that the CAA had commissioned. Johnson expressed the opinion that the survey was unrepresentative of UK Jewish opinion and that the subsequent statistical analysis they produced amounted to scaremongering.
In September 2017, the Institute for Jewish Policy Research produced a detailed 85 page report entitled “Antisemitism in contemporary Great Britain report, a study of attitudes towards Jews and Israel“.
It was the culmination of an extensive investigation into Antisemitic attitudes in different sections of British society, including different religious and political groups and it found that there were a significantly higher number of cases of Antisemitic attitudes on the political right…
“The most consistently found pattern across different surveys is heightened animosity towards Jews on the political right, typically captured by voting intention or actual voting for the UK Independence Party (UKIP). The political left, captured by voting intention or actual voting for Labour, appears in these surveys as a more Jewish-friendly, or neutral, segment of the population”
In April 2018, a vocal Zionist and supporter of Israel, Actress Maureen Lipman joined the CAA to demonstrate outside Labour’s headquarters in protest over Labour’s alleged mishandling of Antisemitism in the Party and also to condemn Jeremy Corbyn. Lipman announced, back in October 2014, that she would no longer support Labour because the party had decided they would recognise the state of Palestine. Lipman’s other targets have included former Labour leader Ed Miliband who (who happens to be Jewish but who supports the recognition of a Palestinian State) and a Palestinian play called ‘The Siege’, which was due to be shown at Battersea Arts Centre back in May 2015. The play recounts the story of the 2002 Siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem by the Israeli Defence Forces in which a number of Palestinians had taken refuge. Approx. 200 Franciscan monks were besieged by the IDF, along with a number of non-militants and alleged militant Palestinians. Eight Palestinians were shot and killed by IDF snipers and many others wounded, including one of the monks. Lipman joined the protest outside the arts centre along with a number of pro-Israel groups including Zionist Federation of Great Britain. It seems the CAA is comfortable working with people who have wear their politics on their sleeve and demonstrate very militant pro-Israel views.
The CAA have been known to openly campaign against the Labour leadership. In August 2018, they were behind a Change.org petition slandering Jeremy Corbyn as an Antisemite, which prompted the Charity Commission to assess their activities and give them a slap on the wrist. The commission instructed the CAA to reword the petition because it went against the commissions rules of political impartiality.
In November 2018, the CAA and the Jewish Labour Movement called on the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to investigate the ‘allegation’ that the Labour Party was “institutionally anti-Semitic”. In March 2019, the EHRC launched an investigation into whether the party may have “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised” Jewish members.
In September 2019, Gideon Falter accused LibDem MP Wera Hobhouse of being Antisemitic for old tweets where she had compared the situation in Gaza to ‘Nazi ghettos’ and claimed that Israel was cynically using the memory of the Holocaust’ to their benefit. Hobhouse, herself Jewish and whose mother’s brothers and sisters fled the Holocaust, later apologised for causing any offence, however this does rather suggest that Falter interprets criticism of Israel and any attempt to compare Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany as Antisemitic. Again, this demonstrates the CAA have very clear political views.
In an interview with the Jerusalem Post in November 2019, Falter accused Jeremy Corbyn of being an Antisemite and of corrupting the Labour Party. He claimed that the party had “become institutionally antisemitic”. Shortly after, in December 2019, the Milli Gazette, an Indian Newspaper based in Delhi, published an article linking the CAA to the Hindu far-right and Israel’s partisans who it said were colluding against the Labour Party. The article claims that India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, had taken issue with a Labour Party Conference Emergency Motion that had criticised Modi’s policies in Kashmir. This, they say, appears to be the catalyst that triggered a number of events – WhatsApp messages implying Labour is anti-Indian and urging UK’s Hindus to vote Tory, leafleting of Hindu communities in Leicester, Harrow and Brent and a statement from the Hindu Council backing Rabbi Mirvis’ claim that Labour had a problem with Antisemitism and that they were also ‘anti-Hindu’. The article goes on to claim that the Hindu far right also took issue with a law, previously brought in by a Labour government in 2010 (and supported by Jeremy Corbyn) against caste-based discrimination. This then led to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 which made caste an aspect of race in the Equality Act. The Gazette article then goes on to provide some context and reveals that, back in 2018, there was a meeting in the House of Commons to discuss the Caste law where a number of prominent Hindu representatives, MPs and Lords were in attendance. What’s surprising is that it also informs us that Gideon Falter, the CEO of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, had also been invited to the meeting. According to the Gazette, Falter made a statement assuring others at the meeting that the CAA would lobby against the motion so that the government could not make Caste an aspect of the 2010 race in the Equality Act. If this is true then, once again, we have a clear example of the CAA taking a very political stand. Apparently some of the Hindu representatives then expressed their admiration for how the CAA had forced the Labour Party to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition. The article implies that some of these representatives were considering introducing similar regulations preventing criticism of Modi’s BJP government. Around the same time, the Jewish Chronicle were reporting on a rally against Antisemitism in parliament square and produced a roll call of attendees, including Trupti Patel, president of the Hindu Forum of Britain, who they say “spoke of the close parallels and links between the Hindu and Jewish communities.” and just two days later, the CAA published a statement on their website referencing “a letter of solidarity with the Jewish community and against antisemitism” from The Hindu Forum of Britain. The letter directly attacked the Labour Party and even accused some parties of having “a strong anti-Hindu agenda.”- further proof of the CAA’s political allegiances.
On the 13th December 2019, following the general election result, Gideon Falter gave a press statement in which he directly accused the Labour Party of being “infested with Jew-hatred”. It seems Falter thinks nothing of slandering a political party over unfounded allegations and isn’t even prepared to wait for the EHRC to conclude its investigation.
In January 2020, Gideon Falter accused the BBC of desecrating the memory of the Holocaust and of a hatred for the Jewish state. He had taken issue with a comment by journalist and senior correspondent Orla Guerin in a report on the 75th anniversary of the Holocaust, when she said “The state of Israel is now a regional power. For decades, it has occupied Palestinian territories. But some here will always see their nation through the prism of persecution and survival.” The CAA alleged that Guerin was attempting to compare Israel with the policies of the Nazis, but this was quickly dismissed in a statement from the BBC who completely rejected that any comparison had been implied. Again, Falter seems to be overly obsessed with the political discourse over the state of Israel.
The CAA website oddly reads more like an activists blog site. It frequently conflates anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel with Antisemitism and reports unqualified allegations of Antisemitism against prominent (mostly Labour), politicians as actual examples of Antisemitism. It gives examples of Labour MPs who argue that Labour does not have a serious problem with Antisemitism or who might come to the defense of their, often innocent, colleagues are reported on their website as actual Antisemitic ‘incidents’. A facebook post by a Labour party supporter inviting friends to attend a Palestinians rights rally and calling out Antisemitism smears against Jeremy Corbyn is also reported as an Antisemitic ‘incident’. The same Labour party supporter was also reported for another so-called Antisemitic ‘incident’ for performing a song with her band about justice for the Palestinian people and for an end to Israeli apartheid. Richard Burgon was labelled Antisemitic for supporting the Palestinian people, denouncing Zionism and calling on colleagues to distance themselves from ‘Labour Friends of Israel’ (a pro-Israel lobby group). Other examples of Antisemitism, according to the CAA, are MPs attending meetings organised by pro-Palestinian groups or by Jewish Groups who do not subscribe to or support Zionism. Any suggestion that the Holocaust should be referred to as a Genocide or that Holocaust Memorial Day should also commemorate other genocides, such as those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur is reported as an Antisemitic ‘incident’ on the CAA website. Calling out the strong arm tactics of the pro-Israel lobby is Antisemitic and, according to the CAA, it’s even Antisemitic to deny you’re Antisemitic or, if you dare, to even criticise the CAA. In fact, there are close to 100 so-called ‘incidents’ of Antisemitism by Labour Party members listed on the CAA website, most of which clearly do not stand up to close scrutiny. By contrast, the CAA lists only 2 examples of Antisemitic incidents from members of the Conservative Party. This is quite shocking given that the evidence presented by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research clearly shows there are significantly more incidents of Antisemitism on the political right than there are on the left. Our own research demonstrates that there have been numerous, publicly documented, cases of Antisemitism in the Conservative Party over recent years…
NOV 2009: Tory MP for Spelthorne, David Wilshire, conflates the experience of being scrutinised during the MPs expenses debacle with what it must have been like for Jews being branded undesirables and being led to Hitler’s gas chambers, in Nazi Germany.
JAN 2014: The Guardian reports that Tory MP Aidan Burley held a Nazi-themed stag party, complete with Nazi chanting and an SS uniform for his best friend. David Cameron, who was PM at the time, simply dismissed it as a stupid act and declared that Burley was not being Antisemitic.
AUG 2014: Members of the UCL Conservative Society made a number of Antisemitic, Islamophobic and racist remarks, including “Jews own everything, we all know it’s true. I wish I was Jewish, but my nose isn’t long enough”.
JAN 2015: Derek Laud, a former aide to both Margaret Thatcher and John Major, described the Conservative Party as “essentially racist”. He went on, “They are the ultimate racists because they deal in stereotypes.”
APRIL 2015: Tory candidate for Derby Council, Gulzabeen Afsar, said she would never support “the Jew” in reference to Ed Miliband.
APRIL 2016: Deputy Chairman of Bradford Conservative Association, Abdul Zaman, made inappropriate comments about Jews and women while speaking at a launch event for the local election campaign.
MAY 2018: Evolve Politics reports that 18 Tory Cllrs and candidate were suspended for racism or abuse in the last month. Amongst them were Tory candidate Anthony Mullen who joked about wearing a Hitler moustache after a night out, Tory Candidate Geroge Stoakley who tweeted he was “sweating like a Jew in an attic”, Tory candidate Matthew Clarke who referred to the Star of David as the “Mark of the Beast”, Tory candidate Darren Harrison who supported a neo-Nazi organisation and an anti-Muslim hate group and Tory candidate Alexander van Terheyden who posted anti-Muslim comments on social media and attended an EDL rally headed by Tommy Robinson,
AUG 2018: Evolve Politics reveals that Johnson, Gove and Rees-Mogg have all had secret meetings with Steve Bannon, a racist, Antisemitic, white supremacist neo-Nazi leader. Only a year earlier, in Oct 2017, BuzzFeed had reported that they had access to a cache of documents revealing the truth about Steve Bannon’s alt-right “killing machine” (Breitbart). The documents showed that Breitbart had been actively courting alt-right support during the 2016 presidential campaign and that they have continued to work to incorporate white nationalism into the mainstream. Evolve report that Bannon “openly defends the presence of… genocide-advocates in the movement he leads” and even revealed that Bannon’s ex-wife admitted that he had refused to let their daughters attend a private school in Los Angeles because “he didn’t want the girls going to school with Jews.”
AUG 2018: The Express reveal that Conservative Peer Lord Sheikh was one of a number of British Lords and MPs who went to Tunisia with Jeremy Corbyn in October 2014 and attended a commemoration event for the victims of the 1985 Israeli air strikes on PLO headquarters in Tunis. The then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the U.S. President Ronald Reagan and the UN Security Council all openly condemned the Israeli air strikes at the time. However, by August 2018, the right wing and pro-Israeli press in the UK, most notably the Daily Mail and the Jerusalem Post, manufactured a story alleging that Corbyn was there to lay a wreath at the graves of Salah Khalaf and Atef Bseiso, two men who were thought to have been key members of the Black September Organization behind the 1972 Munich massacre. The BBC had also, by now, revealed that the memorial for the 1985 victims was in a designated confined area where all dignitaries, including Corbyn, would have stood and it was mere coincidence that this area included the graves of Bseiso and Khalaf. However, senior Conservative Ministers, including the notorious Islamophobe Zac Goldsmith, continued with the charade and even attacked the Tory Muslim peer, Lord Sheikh, for attending the memorial, apparently in an attempt to continue to add legitimacy to the false claim that this was an event celebrating terrorists.
SEPT 2018: The Independent reports that the Conservatives have voted overwhelmingly not to censure the far-right and Antisemitic Hungarian leader Viktor Orban in crunch vote in the European Parliament. Amongst other things, Orban had been accused of waging an Antisemitic campaign against a leading Jewish businessman.
OCT 2018: The BBC reports that Plymouth University’s Tory group have been suspended after a photo emerged of them donning T-shirts scrawled with racist and anti-Semitic messages and one student wearing a marker pen Hitler moustache.
NOV 2019: The Jewish Chronicle reports that the Conservative candidate for Leeds North East, Amjad Bashir, has been suspended after he claimed that British Jews were ‘brainwashed extremists’. The London Economic also reported that Bashir was still allowed to retain candidacy.
NOV 2019: The Canary reports that Michael Gove has breached the IHRA definition of antisemitism by conflating Jewish people with Israel during a Twitter spat with a number of left-wing accounts.
NOV 2019: James Cleverly uses two anti-Semitic tropes to attack Corbyn about alleged anti-Semitism. Cleverly tells newspapers that certain Jewish entrepreneurs and “big business” people who “employee tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people in the UK” have said to him that if Corbyn “got anywhere near the levers of power, they would be out of here”. Cleverly doesn’t seem to realise that he’s using two Antisemitic tropes by implying that wealthy Jews who own big businesses are very influential in this country and that Jews are unpatriotic and not committed to the interests of this country.
DEC 2019: The London Economic reports multiple incidents of Tory Antisemitism at the highest level. When called on to give evidence regarding hedge funds profit from Brexit, Jacob Rees-Mogg countered by singling out billionaire investor, George Soros. Soros, who supports Remain, is a Jewish man and a survivor of the Nazis and who is regularly abused by the “alt-right” and other racists. He also later links two Jewish Tory MPs (Oliver Letwin and John Bercow), to the Illuminati – which is widely considered an alt-right, anti-Semitic dog-whistle describing a global Jewish conspiracy. It’s understood that Rees-Mogg has not been investigated or suspended or even asked to apologise by the party. In the same article, we learn how during her conference speech the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, made a coded reference to a so-called metropolitan Jewish liberal elite located in North London. The London Economic also pointed out that successive Conservative governments (under Cameron, May & Johnson) have maintained military, political, and economic ties with the Ukrainian government and have been providing training for the Ukrainian military who are known to work with neo-Nazi paramilitary units like the Azov Battalion, linked to Svoboda (a fascist party), whose leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, openly berates what he refers to as Ukraine’s “Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” The article also points out that the Conservatives have actively cultured alliances with other right wing Antisemitic European parties like Poland’s ‘Law and Justice party’ who wanted to outlaw any criticism of Poland’s participation in the Nazi Holocaust.
DEC 2019: Jewish News reports on Boris Johnson employing ‘pernicious Antisemitic tropes’ and rhetoric in his books. In one story he refers to Jewish oligarchs controlling TV stations and describes another Jewish character who her calls Sammy Katz as having a “proud nose and curly hair,” with “eyes like an unblinking snake”, who relied on “immigrant Labour”, would send his son “pathetic presents, every five years, of low-denomination bills” and would cruise Bilston Road in search of “a bit of black.” In another book, he refers to his own children as “snowball-head Aryans.”
DEC 2019: Evening Express reports Tory Cllr, Ryan Houghton, has made a number of allegedly Antisemitic comments but that Aberdeen City Council’s co-leaders were refusing to remove him as the local authority’s business manager and vice-convener of the staff governance committee.
DEC 2019: The Jerusalem Post reports a number of MPs from various parties, including two from the Conservative Party (Sally-Ann Hart and Lee Anderson, a Tommy Robinson supporter) and one from the SNP (Neale Hanvey), who have expressed allegedly Antisemitic views. Around the same time, the London Economic also reported the Tory candidate for St Helens South and Whiston, Richard Short, for questioning if columnist Melanie Phillips’s allegiance was to the UK or Israel.
DEC 2019: The Jewish Chronicle reports that the Conservative Party were investigating Mohammad Aslam, a Tory Cllr, for sharing allegedly Antisemitic posts.
FEB 2020: Tory backbench MP Daniel Kawczynski chose to travel to Italy for a nationalist far-right conference, speaking alongside figures who famously voice Islamophobic and anti-Semitic views, including the Hungarian PM, Viktor Orbán.
FEB 2020: John Bercow says Antisemitism is a conservative issue, not a Labour one. Shortly after he resigned, Bercow stated that he had personally experienced antisemitism in his own Conservative Party but, in his 22yrs in the Commons, he’d never experienced any Antisemitism from Labour Party colleagues. He recalls witnessing a number of incidents of outright Antisemitism from Conservative members in his book with one MP saying “If I had my way, Berkoff, people like you wouldn’t be allowed in this place” and when Bercow responded by asking “Sorry, when you say people like me, do you mean lower-class or Jewish?” to which the MP responded “Both!”. He reminisces about the time he was secretary to the hard-right immigration, repatriation and race relations industry subcommittee of the Conservative Monday Club and remarks how awful he felt as “a Jewish boy … sidling up to racists”.
FEB 2020: Evolve Politics reveal Tory MP, Dehenna Davison, rubbing shoulders with two notorious “Hitler loving, holocaust denying, neo-Nazis” (Andrew Foster and Colin Raine) at a Brexit event.
It seems then that, despite the fact that the CAA are a registered charity and are therefore required to be politically unbiased and despite the fact we have shown that there is solid evidence, in the public domain, that there is far more Antisemitism on the political right and no evidence that the Labour Party has ‘a significant problem’ with Antisemitism, the CAA have focused almost all their effort on attacking the Labour Party.
It’s fair to assume that these numerous and clear examples of Antisemitism in the Conservative Party are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg. We should expect there to be many other cases that have not been reported publicly or which are currently under internal investigation.
However, we think most people would agree that the available evidence we have been able to compile clearly shows that the CAA’s have demonstrated political bias by targeting the Labour Party and largely ignoring the overwhelming evidence of Antisemitism in the Conservative Party. We also know that the CAA have ignored the academic data, from as far back as Sept 2017, which also shows that Labour members are far less likely to subscribe to Antisemitic tropes than Conservatives or UKIP members. The fact that the CAA even forced Margaret Hodge (a notorious Corbyn critic who became an honorary patron of the CAA in 2018), to resign from the CAA for choosing to stand as a Labour Party candidate in the 2019 general election speaks of clear, and even petty, bias.
Given the weight of the evidence that we’ve been able to uncover in this report, demonstrating the CAA’s clear political bias, Spotlight Newspaper will be sending this report on to the Charity Commission and requesting that the CAA be stripped of their charitable status, immediately!