What’s up with the RMT’s Steve Hedley? On October 24th he aimed an anti-Semitic barb at me at a joint RMT/PSC event at SOAS called Fighting for Palestine’s Freedom:
After his rant (see clip above for the part I managed to film) our brief exchange went like this:
Me: “Feel better?”
Hedley: “Better than you, obviously. But then again you’re one of the chosen people so you might feel better than me, huh?”
A nearby stranger: “That’s right.”
Me: “So it’s about being Jewish is it?”
Hedley: “No, it’s about being a Zionist.”
Chris Elliott, The Guardian readers’ editor, has recently said this of the “chosen people” phrase:
“It has never meant that the Jews are better than anyone else. Historically it has been antisemites, not Jews, who have read “chosen” as code for Jewish supremacism.”
Now Hedley has tried to defend himself against allegations of anti-Semitism by making a defamatory attack on me on the RMT’s London Calling website.
He claims I called him a Nazi twice. I did not, even once, call him that. If I did, he should prove it.
His post, some two weeks after the event, looks like it is in response to a post titled “Racism in the RMT” by David Greenstein on the WorkRep website where Greenstein quotes what happened at SOAS. Hedley also claims that I have “posted (the recording) on the internet on a number of right wing websites”, which I haven’t.
Greenstein mistakenly asserts that Hedley’s rant was aimed at me. But, as you can see from my clip of Hedley’s rant, it wasn’t aimed at me but at someone somewhere behind me. If I had just called him a Nazi surely he would have been looking and pointing at me. And, believe me, if I had just called him that I wouldn’t still be sat there calmly filming.
Furthermore, Hedley’s rant contained comments like “your friends in the media”, “the attack on those innocent women and children who you starved and turned into the biggest concentration camp on the earth”, “you’re an absolute disgrace to the Jewish people” and “you’re a modern day Nazi”.
As you can see these comments weren’t about Israel but about the person he was shouting at. But, in his post Hedley tries to defend himself against claims of anti-Semitism by claiming he said to me after our brief exchange “I have no idea what your religion is”. He never actually said that to me but, I would like to ask, if he didn’t know my religion how did he know the person’s religion he was shouting at with his “you’re an absolute disgrace to the Jewish people” remark?
He seemed to have it in for Jewish people that night.
He finished off his post with another despicable smear by implying that I “openly consort with the neo-fascist EDL” and claimed that I have had to register my blog out of the UK because I have been sued for slander and libel by other victims of my “maniacal denunciation of everyone who dares to speak out against the Israeli state’s role in the Middle East”.
I always denounce the EDL, I use WordPress, which is registered in America, and I have never been sued by anyone for anything ever!
Despite his clearly anti-Semitic remark Hedley hasn’t had the courage to make an unreserved apology in his post. He says he regrets saying “chosen people” and calls it “unwise” and only apologises “to anyone who may have been offended by this remark”.
But that’s parts of the left for you these days; unable to conceive of any anti-Semitism in their ranks and, therefore, having nothing to apologise for.
Anyway, should Hedley’s defamatory post stay up any longer I will, as they say, be considering my options against both Hedley and the RMT.