Corrections

UKMW prompts Guardian correction to truncated Jackie Walker quote about Jews and slavery


There was a small but important omission in a March 7th Guardian article by Jessica Elgot, “Labour members may be expelled over claims of antisemitism and bullying”.

Here’s the part in question, pertaining to recent developments concerning Momentum’s former vice-chair, Jackie Walker.

Walker, who was removed from her position in Momentum, also said she was concerned about definitions of antisemitism used by the party, saying she had not seen a definition she could “work with”.  The long-time activist had previously been suspended from the party after she wrote on Facebook that Jewish people had been “financiers of the sugar and slave trade”. She was later reinstated.

The actual quote – according to every major media report on the row we’ve read as well as a screen shot of her actual FB comments included below – was that “many Jews” had been the “CHIEF” financiers of the sugar and slave trade. Here’s her original quote from Facebook:

This is an important omission given the context, as merely saying that (some) Jews were slave financiers is narrowly true, and far different than saying many Jews were the “chief” or primary slave financiers – the latter representing a far more libelous claim.

Further, it’s important to stress that Walker’s accusation – possibly inspired by an antisemitic book published by Nation of Islam called “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews” – is not true according to an examination by historian Eli Farber.  Farber documented his research in a book titled ‘Jews, Slaves and the Slave Trade: setting the record straight’.   Jews’ role in the slave trade was actually minimal, according to Farber’s examination of original sources. (Interestingly, the “Jewish responsibility for the slave trade” narrative is also advanced by prominent white supremacists.)

After tweeting the journalist about the error, we complained to the Guardian Readers’ Editor office about the quote, and editors upheld our complaint.  Here’s the new passage:

Walker, who was removed from her position in Momentum, also said she was concerned about definitions of antisemitism used by the party, saying she had not seen a definition she could “work with”. The long-time activist had previously been suspended from the party after she wrote on Facebook that Jewish people had been “the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade”. She was later reinstated.

They also noted the correction with an addendum at the bottom of the article. 
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16 replies »

  1. Come off it, Adam.
    a) Newspapers have something called a limited word count for articles.
    b) It’s not as if they let her off the hook, is it?

    Slow week, eh?
    😉

    • a) Newspapers have something called a limited word count for articles.

      This is the Internet age. Plus or minus 20 words is not a problem of space, or volume. When will you grow up?

    • This is easily the most ridiculous defence I’ve heard in a month of Sundays. To exclude a rather important word such as “chief” becauseof lack of space, when any editor could have changed the expression “who was removed from her position in Momentum” to “lost her job in Momentum” (perhaps not quite the same thing, but I don’t exactly know the ins and outs) and thus save enough space to add that rather important qualifier later on in the paragraph.

      • This is easily the most ridiculous defence I’ve heard in a month of Sundays.

        Clearly you haven’t met Pretz before.

    • One more word which alters the context of the comment?

      The next time you’re confused about being misunderstood, I hope you remember the word limit.

  2. Somebody here actually tried to justify the omission because the Guardian supposedly didn’t have enough room to publish the truth. They couldn’t afford to add the two words, “the chief”? Nobody could be that stupid, but then again hate has no IQ. Economizing on the truth to the point of gross distortion is a guardian specialty and asinine excuses are the specialty of apologists for blood libels. They took up more space with the correction but nobody should be surprised: they always have room to publish and republish a blood libel. Not enough room to show how demonstrably untrue it is, as they do for anything of which they disapprove

  3. News flash, Ms. Walker. There were so many synagogues in the Caribbean because Jews were fleeing the Spanish Inquisition.

  4. Someone should explain to Ms. Walker that Africans rounded up other Africans to sell them as slaves, and that slavery existed in Africa a the time slaves were shipped to the Americas. Further, slavery was and is common among African Muslims, who kept women as sex slaves.