Beneath Contempt: How Tracy Ann Oberman and Rachel Riley harassed, dogpiled and slandered a 16-year-old child and her father

Last weekend, I published a piece on Medium about the growing, alarming weaponisation of antisemitism against the left. It went viral; you can find it here. David Collier, whose role featured heavily, issued a strongly worded, frequently defamatory rebuttal here; my response can be found here.

One of the tweets in my response to Collier mentioned the actress, Tracy Ann Oberman, who had also featured in my article. Oberman took such exception that she made the hilarious threat to sue me.

My comment was in relation to her indefensible behaviour towards Rosie, the 16-year-old girl whose deplorable treatment by Rachel Riley was at the heart of my weekend piece; and even Rosie’s father. This article sets out in detail exactly what that behaviour involved, the consequences for the poor child, as well as the latest depth-plumbing by, yet again, Riley herself.

The data, and our beloved Fourth Estate

Oberman is among various public figures on Twitter who’ve gone in to bat to highlight what they insist is an endemic problem with antisemitism on the left. This is wholly contradicted by the data: not only from the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR); but also the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA)’s annual Antisemitism Barometer.

The latter’s most recent edition, published in April of last year, found the following:

  1. The number of people across society endorsing antisemitic statements is falling.
https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1200/1*7PV-clEg8r2N536L07gacQ.png

2. Antisemitism is considerably more prevalent among Conservative voters than Labour voters.

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A finding which roughly confirmed that of the JPR:

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1200/1*96jpniPiW8IknK1x7AcgaQ.png

3. Yet despite this, the British Jewish community believes that the antisemitism is infinitely more common on the left.

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(1 = low levels of antisemitism among the party’s members and elected representatives; 5 = high levels of antisemitism among the party’s members and elected representatives).

How do we explain this extraordinary gap? Lamentably, research has already found the British public to be quite astonishingly wrong about very many different issues. It’s unutterably wrong about the figures concerning benefit fraud, illegal immigration, ethnic minorities, crime (including violent crime), teenage pregnancy, foreign aid, JobSeekers’ Allowance, and pensions.

It’s just as wrong on matters relating to the EU too. Embarrassingly wrong about the number of EU citizens living in Britain, the amount of money the UK sends the EU each year, and the amount of benefits paid to EU migrants. Almost a quarter of Britons even believe that ever-pervasive myth that ‘bendy bananas’ are banned.

This level of ignorance is so profound, it’s an ever-growing national security threat: as we’ve seen given the public’s disastrous acceptance of austerity; and equally disastrous belief, prior to the referendum, that the UK would be better off out of the EU. The consequences are all too evident in our paralysed Parliament and political process: as Britain faces its gravest national crisis since May 1940, and perhaps its greatest constitutional one since 1689.

Who is responsible? The answer is the UK’s appalling political class and media: frequently joined at the hip in the never-ending nonsense they spout. Six days before the EU referendum, Martin Fletcher, former Brussels correspondent for The Times, explained how this had worked.

“For 25 years our press has fed the British public a diet of distorted, mendacious and relentlessly hostile stories about the EU — and the journalist who set the tone was Boris Johnson…
… Johnson, sacked by The Times in 1988 for fabricating a quote, made his mark in Brussels not through fair and balanced reporting, but through extreme euro-scepticism. He seized every chance to mock or denigrate the EU, filing stories that were undoubtedly colourful but also grotesquely exaggerated or completely untrue.
The Telegraph loved it. So did the Tory Right. Johnson later confessed: “Everything I wrote from Brussels, I found was sort of chucking these rocks over the garden wall and I listened to this amazing crash from the greenhouse next door over in England as everything I wrote from Brussels was having this amazing, explosive effect on the Tory party, and it really gave me this I suppose rather weird sense of power.”
Johnson’s reports also had an amazing, explosive effect on the rest of Fleet Street. They were much more fun than the usual dry and rather complex Brussels fare. News editors on other papers, particularly but not exclusively the tabloids, started pressing their own correspondents to match them. By the time I arrived in Brussels editors only wanted stories about faceless Brussels eurocrats imposing absurd rules on Britain, or scheming Europeans ganging up on us, or British prime ministers fighting plucky rearguard actions against a hostile continent. Much of Fleet Street seemed unable to view the EU through any other prism. It was the only narrative it was interested in.
Stories that did not bash Brussels, stories that acknowledged the EU’s many achievements, stories that recognised that Britain had many natural allies in Europe and often won important arguments, almost invariably ended up on the spike”.

Something awfully similar seems to have happened with antisemitism in Britain. The narrative — that there’s a huge problem on the left, and only an apologist or anti-Semite themselves would deny it — is all that counts, despite what the data and evidence consistently say. And there is, I’m afraid, comprehensive proof, as the following graphs set out.

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Meanwhile, anti-Muslim hate crime is at its highest level since records began. In London, it’s increased by 40% in a single year; in Nottingham, three out of every five Muslims have been victims of hate crime. The UK government’s own statistics reveal that 52% of all hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales occur against Muslims; 12% against Jews (see Table B1 in this Excel file).

Given this, you might imagine there’d be at least four times more coverage of Islamophobia than antisemitism in the UK press. But not a bit of it.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1200/1*hBvGGgmUJpG7qsR9IZJvcg.png

And despite both Baroness Warsi and the Muslim Council of Britain calling for an inquiry into institutionalised Islamophobia in the Conservative Party (the very kind of inquiry which Labour held into antisemitism in its party), this graph tells its own story.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1200/1*9sACJdibIGNRawfD2a9wsA.png

That is the kind of media coverage which Jeremy Corbyn, Labour — and for that matter, British Muslims — are faced with. Coverage which has been consistently biased to a quite mindboggling extent. In the second week of the 2017 general election campaign alone, this is what Loughborough University found in its study of the written press.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1200/0*AWGvUcozJ3ceNSnu.png

That there were 672 hate crimes recorded against Jews in England and Wales in 2017–18 is shocking and appalling. It’s a reminder of the challenge we all face in combating this evil cancer. But when Oberman makes preposterous comparisons between antisemitism on the left and Germany in 1936 or 1938, it should be an instant red flag to any media outlet remotely interested in the truth.

There will, of course, be those who highlight that the JPR and CAA surveys paid no account to Labour members. But even there, there have been a few hundred cases among a membership of around 550,000: less than 0.1%. Comparing this to Nazi Germany is grotesquely offensive and quite laughable; but not to the UK media, whose narrative is the only thing that matters.

Before anyone suggests it: no, I am not trying to downplay the lived experiences of British Jews in any way. Anyone who has suffered any form of antisemitism has my full support, sympathy and solidarity. But given all we already know about how wrong the British public has consistently been about everything else, it’d be quite miraculous if the Jewish community were somehow uniquely immune from that. Which is precisely why when the editor of the Jewish Chronicle is an avowed opponent of the left, and has been for well over a decade, very loud questions should be asked.

Most of the UK media is right wing and corporate owned. Oligarchs do not buy newspapers for the fun of it. They do so to influence and drive opinion; protect and expand their interests. Rupert Murdoch bought The Times and Sunday Times in 1981. Since then, he has never — not even once — been on the losing side of any general election or referendum: 12 in total. If that doesn’t give the British public serious pause, I have no idea what would.

Oberman disgraces herself

One of the many reasons for Labour’s sustained resurgence under Corbyn (they are not ‘behind’ in the polls. They are only behind with Tory-owned YouGov. Survation, the only company to get both the 2015 and 2017 elections right, have Labour three points ahead, while ComRes have them two points up) has been that more and more people have woken up to just how much the media have been playing them for fools for decades.

One of those people is young Rosie: a 16-year-old girl who is marvellously well informed and articulate, whose warmth and humanity shines through in everything she says. My article last weekend set out what happened to her when she so much as challenged Riley; a horrendous, bullying dogpile was the result, which disgraced all those involved.

So when, late last Thursday, Oberman made a jibe at someone “who suddenly announced he had mental health issues… 1 yr of this & I’ve become immune & very wise to the ‘Corbyn’ games”, Rosie, who suffers from anxiety — which could only have been made far worse by her horrible experiences online, which specifically emanated from Oberman’s friend Riley’s disgraceful behaviour — was naturally exasperated. Other than one tweet she deleted within seconds of issuing it, the tweets below were the only time she wrote to Oberman throughout this sorry saga.

It is absolutely plausible (indeed, highly likely) that Oberman had been referring to someone else in her tweet. But that would be her only point of defence in all that would follow.

Rosie had warned Oberman about pile-ons and her anxiety. Yet the latter suddenly started tweeting to her, and about her. First she tried to introduce Rosie to another young woman, Charley: a completely innocent bystander throughout what followed, to whom absolutely zero blame is attached. Then Oberman got a rather strange idea in her head. The tweets below illustrate just how strange.

Rosie, a 16-year-old child with anxiety, which she had already informed Oberman about, had been tagged into all three tweets. Oberman’s offer was pleasant enough; but any right-thinking adult would have left it at that. Unfortunately, Tracy Ann Oberman is no such adult.

At this point, a friend of Rosie’s stepped in and told Oberman what should have been blindingly obvious.

Surely that would nip it in the bud? Nope.

“Maybe we could come and meet Rosie”? Tracy: wake up and smell the restraining order!

By this point, others, quite naturally, were starting to get rather alarmed.

Yet still it went on.

“One to be watched”? It’s exactly that which, by now, would have been scaring the heck out of Rosie. Or anyone else, for that matter.

Oberman is a 51-year-old woman. This complete stranger had now issued her invitation to a 16-year-old child with anxiety, who’d been bullied constantly over the previous few weeks, not once, not twice… but on SIXTEEN separate occasions. Goodness only knows what was in her mind.

Think that was it? Think again. Incomprehensibly, Oberman continued to tweet to Rosie, talk about her in public, or copy her in to virtually every tweet she made. Here’s a selection.

This followed the sole tweet which a now terrified Rosie had sent Oberman, then deleted within seconds.

By now, more and more people were stepping in on this petrified child’s behalf.

How did Oberman respond? By blocking Jane and accusing her of being part of a ‘smear campaign’. No Tracy: you’d been publicly smearing yourself for hours.

Too right, Lauren. Would this get through to Oberman? Of course not.

Quite how Oberman had convinced herself that as this was all happening in public, and she’d been “open and welcoming”, it somehow wasn’t the textbook definition of harassment, I have no idea. Her world-beating levels of self-delusion would cause her to bury herself deeper and deeper over the hours ahead.

Throughout this whole time, Rosie had not responded, while friends of hers had demanded Oberman stop. Yet had the latter now convinced herself they were friends or something?!

Appallingly, for the crime of trying to protect a terrified child she was harassing non-stop, Oberman also instantly smeared others.

Yes, you read that right. When informed that this 16-year-old girl was sitting in class out of her mind in panic at what was going on, Oberman described it as a “politically motivated smear… politically and race motivated”. By now, her behaviour should’ve had her ushered away from her computer screen by the men in the white coats.

Yet still, she would not shut up.

Unbelievably, she even retweeted this outrageous pile of nonsense sent to, of all people, Rosie’s father.

No Colin: nobody was ‘using’ Rosie. Tracy was harassing her in plain sight; and none of her allies, including other public figures, had done anything to stop it. Not one. Including Riley, who’d also been copied into many of the tweets above. As, on a significant number of occasions, had Al Murray, Frances Barber and JK Rowling.

As if to confirm that irony had just died, the woman who’d been publicly harassing a child for hours on end now accused someone else of bullying her. What had that someone else done? Only try to stop this completely out of control harassment.

Oberman continued to double down (by now, it was more like sextuple down) on anyone calling her out.

By this point, Oberman had sent an unsolicited invitation to Rosie 16 times, sent her direct tweets a further nine times, copied her into her tweets another 17 times, mentioned her a further 11 times… and smeared various people who’d desperately tried to stop what was going on. Yet just look at what came next:

One of Oberman’s followers, Rachel Bridge, had also seen fit to accuse Labour Left Voice of… ‘grooming Rosie’?!

No Tracy, you have. With bells on. Because as you said yourself…

Believe it or not, we still hadn’t reached the worst of it yet. First, Oberman went into yet further denial.

‘Smear nonsense’? 63 tweets was awfully close to the truth.

And then she moved on to something truly wicked.

‘Used’? By whom? Did she ask you to send her nigh on 60 tweets in 7 hours while she was in college?

And then, at length, the absolute lowest of the low.

When a 16-year-old child has spent the entire day being harassed, in public, by a celebrity, there’s only one thing that’s going to make her feel even worse. When her father is attacked too. Yet that’s what this Oberman did. All Rosie’s Dad had done was try to protect his daughter from this utterly revolting madness. We all blame the Dad, Tracy; just not quite in the way you might imagine.

No. You do. And to my disbelief, you still hadn’t finished yet either. Rosie’s father had had quite enough of this horrific behaviour, and tweeted the following:

Any fully paid-up member of the human race would’ve read this, swallowed hard, put their head in their hands, and taken a ridiculously belated step back. But not our Tracy.

Then, for some unfathomable reason, Oberman started referring to her prey as an ‘18-year-old’. And it wasn’t a typo, because she did it not once, not twice, but three times: and once more defamed Rosie’s father in so doing.

I’ve seen plenty of people melt down online over the years. But never in my life had I seen anything like this. Yet still Oberman wasn’t done. She committed another grotesque slander against Rosie’s father.

And then, the lies began. In polite English, this is what’s known as ‘frantic arse covering’.

You asked this child SIXTEEN TIMES!

She is 16. How dare you suggest otherwise? Still, never mind: up popped Riley to lend her support to someone who had relentlessly harassed a child and abused her father for good measure.

Before the lies, the dissembling, the nauseating self-regard, the astounding levels of conceit continued:

‘Education’? Rosie is an extremely well educated, gifted young woman, with a massive future ahead of her. Do you think she needs reprogramming or something? Is this something out of Orwell? Who do you think you are?

The laughable Frances Barber weighed in too:

And just to remind us how stupid so much of Britain’s glitterati is, Emma Kennedy had her entirely ill-informed say as well.

Memo to Emma: chatting openly to a 16-year-old child on a public forum is one thing. Sending this child 16 unsolicited invitations to meet a complete stranger, around 60 unsolicited tweets in total, slandering anyone trying to protect her and even defaming her Dad is quite another. And on the subject of libel: telling the truth is an absolute defence. But hey ho, who cares about any of that? It’s only harassment of a terrified child by someone more than three times her age, after all.

Harassment, I might add, which didn’t just occur at Oberman’s hands. When public figures behave like this, there are horrible consequences for the victim. See this link for a sample of what Rosie had to deal with as a result.

Let’s pick out a few of these devil’s familiars. Remember when Oberman had ludicrously suggested that Rosie wasn’t 16? This played into a growing, hideously ugly conspiracy theory about her. Here’s the wit and wisdom of the repulsive Harley Quinn.

In her profile, Quinn describes herself as a ‘centrist’. In everything I’ve argued over the last week or so, QED.

Next up, it’s the delightful Mike Allen Jones. It is, after all, an outrage that a 16-year-old should know her own mind and dare to express it. Why doesn’t she let the bullies win instead?

Oh, the police have certainly been contacted, Mikey. They’re currently investigating. You might even get a knock on your door if you’re not careful. Especially with revolting accusations like the below.

Mikey even slanders me, just for the hell of it. Mikey seems profoundly unwell.

And here’s some more from Harley, and others. It’s like getting a glimpse at the Missing Link.

And for the crowning turd in the waterpipe:

Yes, that’s right. Apparently, Rosie’s Dad is an anti-Semite now too. Because… oh don’t ask stupid questions! Because anyone who supports Corbyn and is trying to protect his teenage daughter must be an anti-Semite of course!

Remember: it’s these people who insist, against all evidence, that Labour is institutionally antisemitic. These people who believe they have to save Britain from Corbyn. In fact, it’s Britain that desperately needs to be saved from scum like them. Individuals who, when a child is harassed all day long in public, blame her, and blame her father. Individuals who, like Oberman, like Riley, like so many others too, are beyond help and beneath contempt.

As for Oberman: if she’d like the above detailed in court; if she wants the press to know how she relentlessly harassed a terrified child who already suffered from anxiety and defamed her father in the most repugnant way; if she’d like the world to know how she sent a child almost 60 unsolicited tweets in a few hours, inviting her to London when the girl’s never even met her; if she fancies the media finally waking up to what’s actually going on here, and how vile people like her and others truly are, she can be my guest.

It’d be by far the most stupid decision of her life (and from someone already so stupid, she left everything I’ve set out in full public view on her timeline, that’s truly saying something), but she’s more than welcome. Go ahead and make my day, Tracy. Make all our days.

Riley sinks to a new low

What, though, of Riley? A woman who, to judge from her ongoing behaviour, would clearly have been well at home in fifteenth and sixteenth century Spain (and I don’t mean the Monty Python sketch).

Those who read my piece last weekend will be familiar with how she smeared the likes of Noam Chomsky while defending racists like Alan Sugar, anti-Semites like Mark Meechan, and continues to work alongside Jimmy Carr, recently warned for telling an antisemitic joke. You’ll also recall her attempts to gaslight more or less the entire Labour support on Twitter by effectively inviting her followers to go after anyone with a Palestinian flag, a red rose, or the hashtag #GTTO (Get The Tories Out) by their name. Not to mention publicly praising a group whose members intimidate and harass peaceful protesters and even issue death threats.

But worst of all was her despicable conduct towards Rosie. When Rosie warned Riley she was being dogpiled and bullied, the latter took a screenshot of her latest comments (complete with Rosie’s face, which she’d tried to prevent by locking her account); included Rosie’s original comments to her in a tweet which, for all the world, sought to make it appear as though this smart, brave beyond words 16-year-old child was somehow antisemitic; and then went even further, suggesting that Rosie was some sort of conspiracy theorist for challenging her at all.

In my article, I suggested that Riley “wanted Rosie taught a lesson”; which probably explains her standing back and watching her great pal Oberman harass Rosie to within an inch of her life, before interjecting to support the aggressor.

Her most recent behaviour means we have a new definition of antisemitism. All those of us who’ve grown up knowing where humankind’s hatred towards its fellow humankind can lead; all those scholars who’ve studied this evil for over a century, must pray silence and learn from the one and only Ms Riley. Presenting, ladies and gentlemen, the Riley Formulation:

“I, the all-seeing, all-knowing Rachel Riley, know everything there is to know about antisemitism. If you disagree with me; if you so much as even question me and don’t bow down before me in worship, you are an anti-Semite”.

Think I’m exaggerating? I wish. Collier’s critique of my article contained a number of vicious smears, several of which I could cheerfully take him to court over. These included:

  1. “What [Shaun] seeks to do is convince everyone that the State of Israel, the Jewish press, the Jewish people speaking out against Corbyn and indeed 93%+ of all Jews everywhere, are actually the real antisemites”. A preposterous, hateful slander, so at odds with what the article actually says, it’s laughable.
  2. “The whole episode of the sixteen-year-old (Rosie) reeks of behind-the-scenes manipulation”. A quite hideous attempt by Collier to deploy the exact same ‘behind the scenes’ trope which is used disgustingly against Jews all the time.
  3. “If any one of these people had any real sense of duty towards her, they’d pull her away from the action. You cannot push a 16-year-old into the action and then hold up the fallout as evidence of anything. Who are these people, Hamas?” Yes, that’s right David: a 16-year-old speaking her own mind but being bullied, harassed and dogpiled by celebrities and their hateful yob followers is, of course, entirely comparable to an evil terrorist organisation using human shields.

Collier’s entire riposte was packed to the brim with disgraceful nonsense like this… yet what did Riley do? She only went and agreed with it.

To be fair, this wasn’t exactly the shock of the century. Riley is too intellectually lazy to provide a rebuttal; too vain and conceited to take a look in the mirror and reflect on how she’s behaved. The only thing she knows is to double down: more and more and more. Putting her head down and charging with no care for anything or anyone else is the only thing which has got her where she is in life. There’s only one thing in the world that truly matters to Rachel Riley. Rachel Riley.

So she provided me with a certain amount of entertainment by fulminating against Nessa Childers MEP for praising and retweeting the article; complaining bitterly that Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, and Labour’s General Secretary, Jennie Formby, were now following me on Twitter (not jealous are we? Or is it that you can’t bear the thought of people being interested in the truth?); and showing that, contrary to popular belief, she’s no good with numbers either, by comically claiming that 25% of my piece had been about her (the actual figure is below 18%). Is there no beginning to your talents, Rachel?

But entirely true to form, she reserved her absolute, contemptible worst for, yet again, poor Rosie… and her father. On Tuesday, Riley authored an execrable thread which can only be described as targeted harassment towards both of them. One from the bottom please Rachel; and another two from even lower down.

First, she attacked Rosie’s Dad for the obviously damnable crime of… standing up for his daughter against Riley and Oberman’s disgusting bullying.

Then she defended Oberman, lying through her teeth in so doing. Remember: Riley had been privy to a huge number of tweets which Oberman had sent Rosie. She knew exactly what was going on.

Then she returned to Rosie’s father, castigating him for following various Twitter accounts which Herself Personally Now has deemed beyond the pale (presumably because they call her out on her witch hunts and vitriol).

And then she turned her attentions towards Rosie herself. Limbo dancing under a lower bar than ever, Riley used a 16-year-old child’s mental health issues against her: repeating Oberman’s vile slurs, before concluding with probably the worst, most disgusting tweet I’ve ever seen from a public figure not named Donald Trump.

No Rachel. No adults are ‘using a child’s profile’; it’s you who is abusing a child. In public. In plain sight. While your pathetic, amoral followers watch on. ‘Social workers’? Shame on you.

Rosie’s teachers have, thank heavens, already stepped in. The consequences of Riley and Oberman’s obscene conduct have been as follows:

  1. Rosie’s Twitter account has been hacked several times, by people trying to delete screenshots. Now why might that be…?
  2. People have tried to track down her family’s address and her devastated mother’s Facebook page.
  3. Someone eavesdropped on Rosie in class and tried to sell the story to The Sun. Which in keeping with its reputation of being lower than vermin, printed something… before deleting it hours later.
  4. She has people in college believing she’s an anti-Semite.
  5. She, a 16-year-old child, has received death threats.

Thanks entirely to Riley, Rosie was subjected to yet another pile-on from the effluent tendency. She spent all Tuesday evening in floods of tears… and later, a friend issued the following heartbreaking tweets:

The responses, thank goodness, reminded us that all is not lost. There is still good in the world. Here’s a snapshot of them:

Conclusion: Just what is going on here?

Go back to the data I mentioned at the start: which again and again, confirms that antisemitism on the left, while it certainly exists and nobody should ever be complacent about it, isn’t an endemic problem at all. Factor in the constant media drumbeat which naturally has British Jews intensely frightened of a Labour government. Then add individuals like Riley and Oberman: self-appointed public spokespersons for this ‘campaign’.

Ask yourself: just how twisted must these two people be to believe that harassing and gaslighting children is all part of some noble cause? What is going on when one of these individuals praises an organisation which issues death threats? On what planet do their followers, who do Riley and Oberman’s dirty work for them, carrying out daily witch hunts and online defenestrations of perfectly ordinary, kind, gentle people, think they’re doing anything to help? And when a child is harassed in plain sight, how in the world do other celebrities, privy to what was going on, not step in and call a halt to it?

It’s too easy to say there’s a madness afoot, or to utter some glib statement like this is the world turned upside down. It’s more than that. These are absolutely horrendous individuals bullying, flaming and insulting anyone who dares utter a murmur of disagreement. Quite frankly, the ladies doth protest far too much. What are they trying to hide?

Rachel Riley, Tracy Ann Oberman and others are desperately trying to obscure that on the left, this problem is nothing like as serious as is so often claimed. That’s what the evidence shows. And evidence is always infinitely more compelling than hysteria.

What they are instead are nothing more than chaos agents. The more hatred they spread, the better. The more they divide good people against each other, the better. The more outrageously they behave, the more they can claim that anyone objecting to conduct which would shame a pack of hyenas are doing so because they’re ‘antisemitic’ or, in the case of these two, that they ‘hate women’.

Yes, even that accusation frequently gets thrown around. It was regarding my article at the weekend: never mind that it highlighted the appalling roles of many men as well as women. Never mind that those disgusted by Oberman and Riley’s contemptible behaviour are so, more than anything, because they want to protect a 16-year-old girl.

Any campaign against the evil of antisemitism must be conducted soberly, seriously, calmly, objectively. Through education, through guidance, through showing a common humanity which could not be more absent from this horrific saga. I have no doubt that among my Twitter followers will be the odd individual who’ve said offensive things, believed offensive things and retweeted offensive things in their time. So you know what I’ll do? I’ll reach out to them, ask them what they thought they were doing, and educate them on the reality.

But I’ll tell you what I won’t do. I won’t join in with witch hunts. I won’t act as judge, jury and executioner. I won’t lose my empathy for fundamentally decent, well-meaning people. And I sure as heck won’t go around smearing others, throwing around grotesque allegations like confetti.

The details I’ve set out concerning both Riley and Oberman are already in the hands of the police. I warn them now, as I warn anyone else: if you say one word out of turn about Rosie or her family again, that will be collated and sent to the police too. Enough is well and truly enough.

As for the rest of us: in the end, as Jo Cox’ tragic death should always remind us, there is so, so much more we have in common than that which divides us. That is the abiding lesson I learned from my grandmother. And that is also the lesson I believe Rosie’s story teaches us too. For this is her story: which she’s given her full consent for me to write.

And in closing, I ask anyone reading this to sign her enormously important petition on children’s mental health funding in the UK, and show their solidarity with an immensely courageous, heroic, inspirational young woman.

#IStandWithRosie.