Rachel Riley, one of the presenters of British TV Channel 4’s Countdown program, is not just a pretty face (and she has a very pretty face indeed). She has an even more beautiful soul as she has raised her head above the proverbial parapet to defend the Jewish community from the insidious antisemitism that is rife in the Labour Party, and by doing so has made herself a target of the same vicious antisemitism.
To the surprise of all of us it turns out that Ms. Riley is Jewish, though she never advertised the fact. But as the Labour Antisemitism scandal rode on she became incensed and joined in the “fun”. The results were depressing, outrageous and completely unsurprising to anyone who has been following the issue.
Here are some twitter thread for your edification:
Some of the messages were replying to tweets I couldn’t see, as the tweeter had blocked me.
As far as I know, I’ve never had any dealings with this person, but their timeline shows support of those known to promote Antisemitism Loach, Bastani, Chomski. No surprise pro-Corbyn.…I don’t expect most people to read this, but as these people (inc Labour councillor @helensclegel) are maligning me to friends, supporters and my employer, I feel the need to defend myself.
Veteran British Jewish activist and blogger David Collier weighed in on the abuse that Rachel Riley was suffering:
The Jewish Chronicle has denounced the virulent antisemitism targeting Rachel Riley for the crime of … pointing out antisemitism.
If you are a well-known individual who decides to speak out on the subject of Labour antisemitism, you can expect the far-left to do two things.
Firstly, they will take anything you have ever said or done which is possible to misconstrue and they will – quite deliberately – misconstrue it.
The second is that your motives for speaking out will be questioned. As far as the far-left are concerned, you cannot be genuinely speaking out on the issue of far-left antisemitism because the issue does not exist. So there must be an ulterior motive as to why you have chosen to “smear” them and their current Chosen One, Jeremy Corbyn.
Now, it appears, it’s Rachel Riley’s turn.
Ms Riley, who is Jewish, has been increasingly outspoken on the issue of left-wing antisemitism in the UK, in particular using Twitter to call out numerous examples of anti-Jewish hate.
So far this week, we have seen the far-left attack her for criticising Noam Chomsky (Mr Chomsky, who is also Jewish, is one of the political darlings of the far-left. However, his long-term defence of one of France’s most infamous Holocaust deniers is uncomfortable for them to acknowledge, so they have elected to ignore it.)
Then, on Wednesday, one far-left account claimed – without a shred of evidence – that Ms Riley had been meeting with Jacob Rees-Mogg about the possibility of going into politics.
Anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together could see that this was laughably transparent nonsense. But of course, Skwawkbox, the far-left Breitbart-equivalent so beloved of the Labour leadership’s office these days, was quick to pick up the “story”, vomiting it out to its tens of thousands of readers.
Why? Because, despite the minor annoying detail of it being completely untrue, it fits the far-left’s narrative perfectly. For them, Ms Riley cannot be genuinely calling out antisemitism that exists within their ranks. She must have a nefarious motive – in this case, a supposed future career in the Conservative party (apparently a backbench MP is going to magically make that happen).
And now there’s more. Last night a Channel 4 podcast featuring Ms Riley was released. On the programme, she discussed the issue of antisemitism and how she, over the last year or so, came to the realisation of the extent of the problem among vast swathes of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters.
She discussed a positive story about a Jewish immigrant to New York who had done incredible acts of charity during the Great Depression. Ms Riley, who is Jewish herself, had tweeted a link to it along with the sarcastic comment “bloody Jews again”. As in “look, there go those stingy Jews, doing… incredible acts of charity”.
It was sarcasm. But sarcasm rarely works well on social media, and she got accused of being an antisemite herself, despite being Jewish.
On the podcast, it was suggested that “one of the reasons people may have misconstrued your initial tweet is because most people wouldn’t know you’re Jewish.”
“It’s probably line one or two of my Wikipedia entry”, she laughed.
“I’ve not spoken about being Jewish, my surname’s Riley. You wouldn’t know.”
And then Ms Riley arched her eyebrows, and, in a voice obviously meant to mimic the way certain non-Jewish people speak to some Jews who they don’t think look Jewish, said “I don’t look like a typical Jew.”
In far-left land, of course, they were off to the races.
One far-left children’s author, Michael Rosen (also Jewish), who appears to spend a large amount of his time assiduously ignoring numerous examples of antisemitism among his political allies, helped to lead the charge.
“If you want to know the painful side of what Rachel Riley said, it’s lime [sic] this,” he tweeted.
“Plenty of Jews (as have others) have been mocked for their appearance for failing to conform to white Western ‘ideals’ of beauty. Rachel Riley is saying ‘I’m not like the ones you mock. I’m like you.’”
He then attempted to insult people’s intelligence further by accusing her of having “made a classic antisemitic slur”.
Of course, Ms Riley was saying nothing of the sort. She was doing the opposite – mocking those who believe that someone Jewish, like her, would look a certain way and be surprised that she’s Jewish because she doesn’t look that way.
Only someone incredibly stupid or remarkably disingenuous would suggest otherwise. But sadly, there appear to be a significant number of supporters of Jeremy Corbyn who fall into one of these two categories, because they have been directing abuse along these lines to Rachel Riley all morning.
The truth is that even if she had been saying it seriously, there would still be no “case” for her to answer. As one Tweeter correctly put it: “The cult are ridiculous. Would they question an LGBT person who says they don’t look stereotypically LGBT and therefore they can avoid low-level/every-day homophobia? They wilfully misrepresent every single point.”
It’s still only Thursday. Who knows what else the Corbynite troll-factory will manage to concoct in the next couple of days in their desperate attempts to discredit yet another Jewish woman calling out antisemitism?
For Rachel Riley, there is no “upside” to calling out antisemitism, no “benefit” to her. She knows that to continue to call out antisemitism on the far-left and to identify how it has flourished in Labour under Jeremy Corbyn will lead to her being subjected to reams of disgusting abuse. Yet she has refused to keep quiet.
And through her courage and the courage of prominent figures like her, more and more people in this country are starting to wake up to the fact that something is very wrong on the UK’s far-left, which has taken over the Labour party.
So yes, it’s been another long week in a period full of them. But there is also cause for hope. And we have people like Rachel Riley to thank for it.
You can watch Rachel Riley in her own words, on the podcast mentioned in the Jewish Chronicle article above, explaining how she slowly became aware of antisemitism and how she lost her tolerance for it:
The Daily Mail has been avidly following the Labour antisemitism scandal, and published an article in which Rachel Riley thanks all her supporters over the Twitter row:
Countdown’s Rachel Riley has thanked fans for their support after she blasted Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway in a row on anti-Semitism.
The popular TV star, 32, told Galloway to ‘F*** off’ after he attacked her on Twitter.
She then accused Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn of sharing his platform with terrorists and ‘virulent anti-Semites’.
Ms Riley, who is Jewish, has had a wave of online abuse since she uploaded a video challenging anti-Semitic chants at football matches in December.
But appearing on ITV’s Lorraine today she thanked supporters for ‘seeing through the lies’ of those trying to discredit her fight against prejudice.
She said: ‘I’ve been doing this for 10 years.
‘I’m hoping I have banked up enough credibility with people that know me for silly words and putting up pictures of cats and dogs to know this is a serious thing for me. It needs a bit of light shone on it.’
Lorraine highlighted it is not just her who has been bombarded with trolls on Twitter, recalling the case of actress Tracy Ann Obermann who has also suffered for speaking out on anti-Semitism.
But Ms Riley added: ‘You mentioned the abuse, but we’ve had so much support.
‘I can’t thank people enough for seeing through the lies. The attempts to discredit are elaborate.’
Yesterday Ms Riley became embroiled in an angry spat when Galloway dismissed her criticism of growing anti-Semitic sentiment.
Galloway, who was also a member of parliament for the Respect Party, slammed the Oxford University graduate, claiming she was ‘slandering’ the party.
But the former MP for Bradford West was swiftly told to ‘f*** off’ by Ms Riley, who reiterated she would not abide ‘anti-Semitic scum.’
Rachel’s co-star on Countdown, Nick Hewer, came to Rachel’s defence and announced his resignation from the Labour Party in protest at the endemic abuse and antisemitism:
In a series of tweets acknowledging the vile abuse, she thanked colleagues who stood with her against the online bullying, including Countdown host Nick Hewer.
She tweeted: ‘Thanks to Nick Hewer and everyone else standing shoulder to shoulder with me and so many others, against bullying, and against Antisemitism. It’s so very much appreciated. BeLouder.’
In turn, Mr Hewer, who was outraged at the abuse Ms Riley was receiving, said he would no longer vote Labour – something he had done since 1964.
He said he was ‘astonished at the blunt assaults and trickster arguments’ aimed at her after she criticised Jeremy Corbyn over anti-Semitism.
One cannot help but stand in awe and admiration of Rachel Riley, and other celebrities like her, for example J. K. Rowling, Tracy Ann Oberman, and politicians like Margaret Hodge and Lucianna Berger amongst others, who have had the courage of their convictions and stood up loudly and publicly against antisemitism and racist abuse of Jews in the public sphere.
Rachel and her colleagues could have taken the easy way out, kept their heads down and their mouths shut as they ignored the whole antisemitism scandal. After all it didn’t affect them directly.
But now that she has gone public and taken a stand it has most definitely affected her. Rachel Riley and her brave colleagues deserve all the support we can give them and all the protection that they might need.
Shame on the Labour Party for not only not tackling this problem thoroughly, but for providing a breeding ground and fertiliser for yet more antisemitism.
Heaven help Britain if Jeremy Corbyn and his cohorts come into power!