20 November: “I have been notified via my lawyers in the Netherlands that the Dutch authorities have now dropped all investigation of this matter. The allegation made against me by Hidde van Koningsveld was completely untrue, and has wasted the time of the Dutch police. I am glad that it has been thrown out, and that Mr van Koningsveld has also deleted the false claims he made on Twitter.”
12 July: Statement on Hague meeting allegations: false, defamatory, evidence-free and concocted
I attended the Europe Together event of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA). I was not part of Labour’s delegation but invited separately as a speaker by the S&D group.
While Jeremy Corbyn was speaking I noticed a small group had hung an anti-Semitic banner, presumably to embarrass Labour. I went up two flights of stairs to see what was happening. By this time the PvdA stewards had surrounded them.
I asked who they were but they were hostile and would not answer. I made my criticism known to them calmly, pointing out the banner was grossly offensive to me and other Labour members there.
Though one of them half-heartedly elbowed me in the chest, I at no point retaliated. Claims that I punched somebody are concocted, ludicrous and without evidence. Hundreds of people were within eyesight range of the incident and will corroborate this.
Instead, together with the PvDA stewards, I calmly liaised with the venue security to get the protesters removed from the venue. At all times for the five/10 minutes I was there, there was a professional security guard in attendance – ie standing within 2–3 metres of me and the protesters – and if any violence had occurred the security would have responded. The situation was tense but peaceful at all times and I would like to thank the security of the Paard venue for the way they handled the whole incident.
Once Jeremy’s speech was over, I left the protesters, who remained surrounded and were being remonstrated-with by Jewish members of the PVdA. I was back on the floor of the hall long before they were removed by security.
That was the only moment where there was some jostling and raised voices but I was two floors away from it. I then delivered my speech, which attacked the far right and warned about the dangers of anti-semitism and the lessons of the Holocaust. A video of the entire event is available on the S&D group’s Facebook page.
As the descendant of Polish Jews I have, though not Jewish, experienced antisemitism at school. I was also recently attacked by the right wing nationalist Polish government for exposing the anti-Semitism stimulated by its new law on defamation. In February I travelled to Warsaw and made a speech at a “Town Hall Meeting” sponsored by Das Progressive Zentrum, attacking the new Polish law and, again loudly warning against the dangers of Holocaust denial. In 2007 I wrote a highly praised and critical short history of the Bund in Poland and its role in the Ghetto Uprising. In short my commitment to fighting fascism and anti-semitism, to remembering the Holocaust and Jewish resistance to it, is well established. So is my record of impartial reporting the Israel/Palestine during the Gaza conflict of 2014.
The accounts of the people retailing this story are so far from the truth – with no evidence – that I have to assume the entire exercise is a deliberate smear, not a mistake made in the heat of the moment or over-exaggeration by the people concerned.
The allegations are bizarre, defamatory, without evidence and completely untrue. Update: They were thrown out by Dutch police on 28 September 2018.