On Wednesday 10th July (2019) the BBC will broadcast another concocted attack on Labour in an edition of Panorama called Is Labour Anti-Semitic? Despite the programme’s title being a question the promotion blurb made clear that the creator of the show, John Ware, has chosen his answer.
“Reporter John Ware reveals the evasions and contradictions at the heart of the political party which leader Jeremy Corbyn says has anti-racism at its very core.”
There is no other expectation of the programme’s content than a deluge of lies, ridiculous exaggerations, misdirection, innuendo, bizarre juxtaposition and absurd faux deductions. Its intent is displayed brightly in advance.
John Ware has form. He has a lot of form. Four years ago he was the reporter and writer of another Panorama documentary Jeremy Corbyn: Labour’s Earthquake. It was recorded during the Labour leadership election campaign and broadcast three days before voting ended. To acquire interviews with Corbyn and his colleagues Ware lied to them by claiming he was making a documentary about all the candidates. There were more lies in the programme’s content. The intent of Ware’s documentary was to try to dissuade Labour members from voting for Corbyn.
Last year, after Labour adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, Ware complained about Labour’s previous “antisemitism code of conduct” that was superseded by the IHRA definition, and he complained that Labour had not accepted all the IHRA’s examples. Ware’s complaints and analysis were scattergun nonsense and bereft of logic or of linear train of thought. The purpose of Ware’s article was to attack Corbyn and to add to the narrative of antisemitism charges; any details were irrelevant. Interestingly, Ware repeatedly interchanged the words “Israel” and “Jews” which is itself in breach of the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
Ware has often been accused of being anti-Islam. In a Guardian interview in 2006 he responded to the accusations with a smirk. He wallowed in the fact that he had been placed in the same company as racists Melanie Phillips and Michael Gove and said
“we [Ware, Phillips, Gove, etc.] have all come to this view independently that – potentially – politics and Islam is an incendiary mix.”
In the interview Ware did the “Islam is OK but..” routine popular with right-wing voices. He spoke patronisingly about Islam’s attitude to society but he added that “a [fearful] chill ran down my spine” when he heard a preacher defending Islam.
He said “political Islam needs to be explored robustly on BBC1, it should not be tucked away late at night on BBC2.” He was unbothered by the screaming contradiction between his use of the phrase “political Islam” and his remarks elsewhere about people conflating Judaism and Israel.
Not everything by Ware were attacks on Islam or false accusations against Corbyn and his colleagues. A month after Martin McGuinness died Ware wrote a strange description of the former’s alleged tactics in the execution of a British army spy. He waited until McGuinness died for fear of being sued for libel.
Ware is happy with his assigned accolade as investigative reporter and documentary maker, tasks for which he accepted “awards.” But, everything he created was designed from a political perspective and almost always fitted nicely into prevailing (right-wing) narrative. He made what suited a populist trend. At present, fear of a socialist government is rampant and he knows his role is to fight against the cause of the fear. Ware is the opposite of what an investigative reporter or undercover documentary maker should be: He doesn’t challenge the establishment, he pleases it.