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October 20, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:42am

Jewish Chronicle pays damages over claims councillor invited ‘anti-Semitic’ activist to event

By PA Media Lawyer

The Jewish Chronicle, its editor and a senior journalist have been ordered to pay damages to a councillor and teacher accused of inviting an anti-Semitic activist to a political event.

Nada al Sanjari, a school teacher and Labour councillor, was the subject of a number of articles published by the newspaper in 2019 that claimed she was one of several Momentum activists responsible for inviting another activist who the Jewish Chronicle characterised as anti-Semitic to a Labour Party event.

It also claimed she turned a blind eye to anti-Semitic statements published by a fellow activist.

The JC, its editor Stephen Pollard and senior reporter Lee Harpin, have been ordered to pay “substantial” libel damages and costs and publish an apology.

The articles alleged that she had launched a vicious protest against Luciana Berger MP in terms suggestive of anti-Semitism, and that she tried improperly to interfere with a democratic vote at a regional Labour Party meeting.

Carter-Ruck, acting for al Sanjari, said that the JC, Pollard and Harpin accept the allegations were untrue.

Al Sanjari does not know and has never spoken to the activists mentioned in the article, nor has she ever been a member of the left-aligned Labour group Momentum.

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The JC has accepted that al-Sanjari’s attendance and conduct at the Labour Party meeting was entirely proper.

She said: “I am very pleased that the Jewish Chronicle has apologised for what it accepts are completely unfounded allegations.

“I am glad that the published apology notes my strong opposition to all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, while actively and peacefully campaigning on these issues of equality and fairness.

“While it was disappointing that it took legal action to achieve this just outcome and for the truth to be known, including the removal of the false allegations, I am grateful to the dedicated support and professionalism of the talented team at Carter-Ruck who brought about this important and heartening result.”

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