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Jonathan Freedland’s Corbyn Apology

by Kit

In an attempt to restore some of his fast-disappearing credibility, Jonathan Freedland gives a half-hearted, over-qualified apology to Jeremy Corbyn. It’s self-serving, dishonest, and far more revealing than he meant it to be.

Following the surprising (to some) election result, the Guardian has seen their big-name Op-Ed writers desperately trying to claw-back their credibility. For those of us who could see, and understand, the real support that Labour have been gaining in the two years since Corbyn was elected it has been amusing to watch.

Jonathan Freedland’s damp article tries to both rewrite the author’s history, morally justifying his outrageous bias, claim he was right all along and undermine the electoral result. In trying do all this it not only falls between two stools, but face-plants straight into a third.

Freedland on pre-election predictions:

…barring a couple of polls dismissed as rogue outliers, nothing suggested that Theresa May was about to throw away her parliamentary majority.”

This demonstrates the dangerous insulation of the Westminster “bubble”. It was palpable, given the progress of the campaigns, that any fair vote was going to be much, much closer than headlines declared. It was obvious to anyone watching Theresa May scream her “policies” out into the world from a motorway lay by, in front of pre-approved reporters and paid supporters waving signs, that she would struggle. Comparing that to the spectacle of Corbyn speaking to thousands of people in packed town centres all across the country was startling.

The distance between reality and the world of the media is becoming frighteningly wide. They seem genuinely surprised when the real world doesn’t correspond with the lies they tweet at each other, the myths the publish and the dreams they print. It’s moving from dishonesty into schizophrenia at this point.

Freedland on his “opposition” to Corbyn:

I opposed Jeremy Corbyn when he first stood for the Labour leadership in 2015, and thereafter, and I did so on two grounds. First, on principle: I was troubled by his foreign policy worldview, with its indulgence of assorted authoritarian regimes, and by what I perceived as his willingness to look past antisemitism on the left. But more immediate was an assessment of his basic electability. I wanted the Tories gone, and simply did not believe Labour could pose a serious electoral threat under Corbyn.

Firstly, he did not “oppose” Jeremy Corbyn – he attacked him, smeared him and slandered him. As did everyone else at his paper. And everyone else in the media. And everyone else in Westminster. The whole political establishment united against the man, including his own party. The Prime Minister called for his resignation during PMQs.

The reasons Freedland gives for taking part in this undignified pile-on are as self-serving as they are false.

Regarding “foreign policy” – appearing on Iranian TV [Freedland’s cited example] is hardly endorsing autocracy. Certainly it can’t be as bad as selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, or Israel, or training terrorist proxies in Jordan to kill people in Syria. Government backed crimes which never seem to trouble Freedland.

That a man who cheered on illegal Imperialist wars, and subsequent crimes against humanity, in Libya and Syria can dare take up the moral high ground over a non-interventionist, one who has been proven correct time after time, is sickening.

Antisemitism on the left is almost entirely fictional. A McCarthyite tactic used to deflect all criticism of Israel, or Zionism in general. Freedland is no stranger to this tactic.

As for “electability”? It is a nonsense concept. An invention of a fake-left wing media to bash a man whose actual policies were beyond condemnation, whilst maintaining their illusory “liberal” label.

Freedland on the election:

Lest we forget, it was not enough. Labour still lost, even when faced with the weakest Tory campaign in at least 40 years.

Even when he is attempting to be contrite, he can’t take responsibility for his role in this. He doesn’t mention his attacks, and those of other journalists and neo-liberals, as (deliberately) handicapping Labour’s campaign before it even started. He doesn’t mention the attempted PLP coup that destroyed Labour’s cohesion at a time when a united alternative would have posed a huge threat to an unstable Tory government.

Part of the reason the shambolic Tory campaign was able to limit Labour gains to 32 seats, is that they were starting from a position of massive strength – gifted to them by Red Tories in the press and MPs more concerned with remaining part of the in-crowd than trying to better society.

Corbyn was hobbled and undermined at every turn, presented with an almost impossible task…and, even so, he nearly pulled it off. This deserves more than a grudging half-apology, it deserves genuine respect.

Freedland and his ilk will give Corbyn neither.

The truth is, the reason Freedland opposed Corbyn, and will continue do so even as he insincerely tries to win-over his increasingly estranged leftwing readership, is that he doesn’t want socialism anywhere near government.

Freedland doesn’t want to “get rid of the Tories”, he wants to rebrand them. He wants Tory economic policy under a false-flag of “liberal values” and drenched in fake progress. He wants equally low pay for everyone, and to make sure racial minorities have fair access to food banks.

He’s wealthy, and perfectly happy to let poverty spread and to sell off the NHS and look-on as society crumble, he just wants to do it from a position of faux-concern.

That’s the legacy of Blairism, it appealed to people who are self-centred capitalist me-firsters at heart, but who want to hide behind a mask of social conscience. The same kind of people who want to go to war to protect peace. Who bomb to save lives. Who can say or do anything whilst maintaining their pristine self-image and snow-white conscience.

The real point of this election is that people voted for Corbyn even though Freedland, and everyone like him, kept telling them not to. That every concern-trolling phony-liberal earnestly claiming to be “troubled by Corbyn’s unelectability” was largely ignored.

People don’t really listen to “journalists” anymore, and this sort of self-serving dishonesty is the reason why.


  1. howard lane says

    I’m sorry, major personal responsibility failure here. Corbyn fails to win election – blame the Guardian! yes Corbyn was really up against it, particularly from the rightwing tabloid press, and did far better than most had expected. You may be insightful enough to have foreseen how much better Labour would do, but that’s easy to say in hindsight. The Tories clearly thought they would cream the opposition otherwise they wouldn’t have called the election, but then ran a truly disastrous campaign themselves and blew it. Of course Corbyn isn’t anti-semitic, but there are plenty of nut job conspiracists on the left who are, even if their disgust at Israeli genocide is fully justified. Corbyn has taken a while to find his leadership style and to show the doubters that maybe he is electable after all. Not his fault, but the risk that Labour ran when they made him leader.

  2. Cathy Devine says

    Thanks for this, totally agree. Freedland’s article really annoyed me, the gall of the man. Re the polls: YouGov and Survation were predicting a possible hung parliament. He just didn’t want to believe them. So yes, some people could see it coming, just not him and his cronies.

      • The feeling of injustice and the shock at all the lies and distortion in the press and from individuals, from the time of Corbyn’s leadership win up the the General Election hung parliament, is still vividly present. For me, it was as if all the poison :the false speech of politicians and their servile media, was suddenly disgorged into the street. This is why this thread ,here and in other places. will continue.

        • Larry Johnston says

          Thank you. As I noted in an earlier comment, I think the demonisation of Jeremy Corbyn, both by the Blairites in his own Party and by the press has done irreparable damage. It is not simply a question of free speech and expression of opinion; it is more the use of a limited publicity resource to vilify a man who has a rational and humane outlook and presents no threat to anyone other than those seeking to maintain the neo-liberal establishment. The bile of the outpourings did more to undermine the foundations of democracy than anything Corbyn might represent. Apologies from Freedland or Rentoul, or any of the other hate figures can do nothing to reduce their contribution to the breakdown of civilised political discourse. They and the newspapers they represent have shot themselves in the foot; although a reader of the Guardian for decades and the Independent since its inception until its closure, I would not pay a penny to support either or to turn off my ad-blocker in the latter case. How can I trust anything they say?

    • Sanjeev Chowdhury says

      Compare and contrast: Freedland, Cohen, Mad Mel, Aaranowitch, Hartley Brewer, and
      PIlger, Assange, Galloway, Milne.

      Like contrasting goats piss and a premier Grande Cru.

  3. Nachito Gurito says

    People like Jonathan Freedland are the reason many of us can barely suffer most of the press these days.

    We don’t know what is really going on about many subjects, as they can’t help but spin everything to suit their agenda. They have absolutely no credibility.

  4. I think people may underestimate the power of the jewish lobby, they run warmongering USA , and have quite a lot of influence in the UK, the minute you mention Israel in any dim light, they’re all at it ” anti-semetic. As someone who has spent 20 years in this industry and has watchedit become the elite beast it is today, I am loving watching the fallout at just how blindsided the MSM has been by this election.

    • JGarbo says

      We must take into account Freedland’s indoctrination when referring to his writing. WaPo intern, ie CIA recruit from Operation Mockingbird, Daily Mirror sleuth, hustler for right-wing & Zionist publications, now poster boy for the Groin.
      His mission is to further the interests of his masters, disguising his distortions and falsehoods as news.
      Though a despicable putz, he deserves pity or at least sympathy. He may then repent if not confess.

      • Redfox96 says

        He neither deserves pity or sympathy. He is a very well paid sycophant to an organisation that distorts truth, in order to aid, not the government in the country in which he resides, but to Israel.

  5. I know it’s all the fault of the Jews (really?). What is actually going on? Who is (supposedly) running the show? Does anyone here, or anywhere else, have any idea? Really.

  6. I do wish we could all try and be better behaved. Obviously Freedland, Toynbee and so many others are not actually members of our tribe, but they are human beens. Chill out guys/gals. Please.

    • Jim Scott says

      You say Freeland and Toynbee are human beens. I wonder what they are now! I certainly don’t recognise them as evolved beings so perhaps they have retrogressive back to a more primative state.

  7. Larry Johnston says

    The comments have gone rather off-topic. Concentration on Judaism is an unnecessary distraction. The worrying aspect is that none of the ‘quality’ newspapers showed any degree of objective reporting. Obviously Off-Guardian is concerned with one particular publication, but the Independent was, if anything, worse in its coverage of Jeremy Corbyn. (The Times and The Telegraph can be eliminated at the start.) All publications seem to lack the ability, found in most European newspapers, to distinguish news and commentaries. There is no attempt at objective reporting. Character assassination took the place of considered opinion, and as a result not only was the ‘true’ picture distorted, but we were left with no place to turn for intelligent and balanced information. That is very disturbing in a so-called democratic state.

    • rtj1211 says

      What you will actually find is that, left and write, character assassinators become crybabies if you turn their behaviour against them.

      Ed Miliband was not fit to be PM, but it had nothing to do with bacon sandwiches. James Delingpole was shocked when I said his career in journalism should be over if he could not eat a bacon butty in his hunting attire whilst clearing 5 ft hedges without grease dripping on his gear.

      Torygraph bullies have long lambasted fatties, but when I said Simon Heffer could not go to Lords again until his grossly obese figure was within healthy limits, outrage emerged.

      Poison pen writers at Conservative Home are the same.

      It must be brutal, targeted and in response to unprovoked attacks.

      Journalists need depression, they need despair and they need sacking…….

  8. janet doe says

    “Antisemitism on the left is almost entirely fictional.”
    Absolutely 100% untrue. Both in the UK and US it is rampant. Your denial is sickening.
    “A McCarthyite tactic used to deflect all criticism of Israel, or Zionism in general.”
    Riiiiiight. Unlike accusations of Islamaphobia, xenophobia and racism?

    No wonder the author didn’t want to give their last name. The denial is strong and shameful. These comments are exactly the way the alt-right talks about Muslims, blacks and illegal immigrants. You call them Nazis when they talk like this. Hmm.

    • no idea who you are (Janet Doe?!). My address is 26 Well Close Square, Framlingham IP13 9DS. Who, or what, are you? I was baptised David John Simpson. Would you like my National Insurance number?

      ““Antisemitism on the left is almost entirely fictional.”
      Absolutely 100% untrue. Both in the UK and US it is rampant. Your denial is sickening.”

      err, evidence please. not paranoia.

    • If antisemitism on the left is “rampant”, and my denial is “sickening”, then you should find it very easy to link me to some. Source me this antisemitism.

      Unlike accusations of Islamaphobia, xenophobia and racism?

      No, not unlike those. All of those tags in general are used to stifle the debate and cloud the proper issue. You are welcome to try and find evidence of my supposed hypocrisy. It will be a fruitless search.

      These comments are exactly the way the alt-right talks about Muslims, blacks and illegal immigrants. You call them Nazis when they talk like this.

      I’m sorry, what comments? I didn’t make any comments about general groups of the population at all.

    • simon prowse says

      Just is not true, even many non-Zionist Jews will tell you that. The biggest racists in the pack are always always the Tories. Shami Cakrobati was commissioned to do a report on so-called anti-semiticism in labour, and found nothing. As the ex head of Liberty I’m quite sure that if there was any truth to the allegations, she’d have told the truth. Where does your information come from?

  9. Sav says

    Guardian writers were left with egg on their face and likely their membership contribs were also suffering. Left stranded with no one supporting them cept the few trolls brown nosing them in the comments section looking to write articles. So they quickly changed tact.

    Are even Monbiot’s words said with sincerity? Hmmmmmm.

  10. I read his faux apology today, as well as George Monibot’s explanation of how the MSM got everything so wrong. As someone who came into journalism at the bottom on an out-in-the-sticks local newspaper I entirely agree with what GM says, and it also goes to explain some of JF’s anti-Corbyn comments. Journalists are now part of the establishment in a media bubble that reflects and feeds on itself. It is not made up from people from all parts of society, but rather a privileged few. As someone who has spent 20 years in this industry and has watchedit become the elite beast it is today, I am loving watching the fallout at just how blindsided the MSM has been by this election. But I am saddened that this will also ultimately bring the printed press to its knees. Had the Guardian seen what was coming and thrown itself behind Labour much earlier it may not have needed to keep asking readers for money. We would have flocked to it in droves.

    • pkoc says

      The Guardian’s campaign against Corbyn – for that’s what it was, a campaign – was orchestrated. I’m hoping at least one staffer will blow the whistle on the extent of this. Even the politically-illiterate among them were recruited to pen anti-Corbyn opinion pieces. I’ll chuck money in The Guardian’s begging bowl when they make a full apology to their readers for betraying the paper’s principled past.

      • Apologies very much in short supply this week I feel. TM should be first in the queue, never mind about apologising to her backbenchers, her and Cameron should be prostrate before the populace for bringing about this mess. And then the Guardian writers and commentators who should have known better. Even Owen Jones had a wobble and he’s been Corbyn’s most vociferous supporter.

  11. DonNeedNoStinkinUserName says

    I must admit to not visiting here for some time – my bad – but as I usually follow links that Xymphora posts I clicked & wasn’t disappointed. An excellent & highly insightful critique of Freeland & his ZioNazi fellow travellers & as always the comments section is awash with amusing &/or provoking thoughts

    No wonder The Garbagian is pleading for readers & money.

  12. Fake “Left” scum can be explained by the 1773 plan for world domination, prepared for Rothschild by a ‘renegade’ Jesuit Dr. of Canon Law, Adam Weishaupt.

    Comprising 25 points, this plan mandated control of the media, & the ruin of youth through drugs & sex. Look around you.

    Youtube & Retired Head of FBI Tells All…..
    A 1 hr 4 min video by Ted L. Gunderson, who was being poisoned with arsenic, his doctor confirmed, when he died of cancer.

    Book: Pawns in the Game, by William Guy Carr, a WWII Canadian naval intelligence officer.

    Online version: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/pawns_inthegame/pawns_00.htm

    The Banksters puppet all.

    John Doran.

  13. Ah yes, there’s the inevitable “antisemitism” because its only ever about them.

    • LES MISRABLES says

      I think people may underestimate the power of the jewish lobby, they run warmongering USA , and have quite a lot of influence in the UK, the minute you mention Israel in any dim light, they’re all at it ” anti-semetic. jew hater holocaust denier” I often wonder why it needs the backing of the law in many countries to suggest there maybe evidence to the contrary, but their voice is getting louder and louder, soon you won’t be able to mention Palestine.

  14. Here in the States, a ‘politician’ is required to show absolute loyalty to Israel, anything else is a political death sentence, with AIPAC making sure that no money will flow to their campaign and their media will savage that person constantly with the usual slurs of being anti-Semitic or a lover of Islam.

    For Corbyn to stick to his ideals and promote the blasphemous thought that we can work out the ME’s problems without using bombs, bullets and rockets against people who are NO threat and have NEVER attacked us shows the man has actual values.

    I pray and hope Corbyn has a damned good security detail for he is dealing with people who will resort to anything, including assassination, to fulfill their fantasy of an Eretz Israel.

  15. Emma Wilcock says

    does anyone have a link for the Jess Philips article.
    I shared this article on my FB page expecting little response however i have been surprised by the range of people who want to know more about OffGuardian. A big well done for snapping at these Tory cronies and revealing them in their true colours.

  16. The Guardians betrayal was one of the worst blows for progressive people. Freedland, Cohen , Toynbee et al will never recover from their treachery and the Guardian will continue to decline. They are already begging for money from what”s left of their readers, I wouldn’t give them a wooden nickle.

  17. chris.crookes@bredband.net says

    Basically, there is an ‘elephant-in-the-room’ that no-one dares mention for fear of being smeared with the ‘anti-semite’ canard. It is that commentators and journalists like Freedland, Laura Kuenssberg, Nick Robinson, Jeremy Harding, etc., etc., are pro-Israeli zionists who are motivated by a concern and loyalty to the ‘Jewish State’ and its land-theft and slow genocide in occupied Palestine rather than to the nation of Great Britain and to the people they inhabit that nation with. They have all been trying to destroy Corbyn’s credibility and chances of election because he has been consistently a defender of the human rights of beseiged Palestinians.
    Pointing this out IS NOT a criticism of all ‘Jews’ nor is it a hatred of Jews. But we all know that pointing this out is immediately silenced by discrediting this factual observation with the accusation of ‘anti-semitism’.

  18. Sheila says

    I believe with Freedland it’s not so much that he’s a money loving corporation man. He’s just so anti-Palestian and pro-Israel that Corbyn is beyond the pale for criticising Israel and that colours Freedland’s view of anything Corbyn says. Basically to Friedland, Corbyn is so evil he can do no right.

  19. Looks like the people aren’t buying into this narrative anymore, even us plebs ‘who clean for a living’ can see through the spin and smears and we don’t like it one bit.

  20. John says

    The Manchester Guardian was a key component of the Manchester School of Zionism [see https://www.thejc.com/lifestyle/features/chaim-weizmann-and-how-the-balfour-declaration-was-made-in-manchester-1.37772%5D, which played a key role – along with Chaim Weizmann – in procuring the Balfour Declaration.
    Freedland is just the latest manifestation of this vile influence on UK political life.
    He – and the rest of the parroting self-describing “journalists” at The Guardian – should be permanently ostracised for the lick spittle scum they are in the promotion of supremacist racist zionism.

  21. Dead World Walking says

    Freedland has partners in crime all around the world.
    They are corporate arse lickers.
    They are puffed up excuses for human beings.
    They are dying out because anyone with an ounce of perception can see right through them.
    Truth, unlike lies, is irrefutable.

  22. j jones says

    Agree, Jonathan Freedland chose to collude with the avalanche of personal abuse directed at Jeremy Corbyn because it suited his purpose. Now that the wind of public opinion has turned and is steadily blowing in Jeremy’s direction, some of the fear and smear brigade have decided their own interests would best be served if they pretend they have changed their minds. That’s all this is – self interest through and through.

    Lie, deny, justify – it’s the self service way!

    • Speaking of faux apologies, the most hilariously smug I’ve seen yet – in the face of stiff competition and not just by Freedland – came from the odiously self serving Jess Phillips, Labour MP and Corbyn vilifier. See her Graun piece today, entitled – with exquisite absence of irony – “We must all of us eat … humble pie.”

      Then scroll down the BTL to catch Andy Platt’s wickedly on target take on what she’s really saying. Or read both at

      • j jones says

        Thanks for the heads up. Just read it now as rarely read articles in the Guardian since it started banning comments. Odious individual and as you say thoroughly self serving. Andy Platt summed up her ‘humble-less me, me, me pie’ brilliantly. Thanks, jools

  23. Paolo says

    I’m not sure you are right about this…. “Freedland doesn’t want to “get rid of the Tories”, he wants to rebrand them. He wants Tory economic policy under a false-flag of “liberal values” and drenched in fake progress. “.
    I think rather Friedland is one of these chameleons one alway finds in such influential positions. An opportunist who goes with whatever flow he happens to find himself in. In germany they call such people “mitläufer” .

    • DonNeedNoStinkinUserName says

      I’m afraid that will never happen. . . . it is going to take one of us to help her by thrusting said sword into her, not from behind but from the front, while explaining to her how much of a piece of shit she really is. Of course this is just wishful thinking but I think it’s still legal . . .dreaming that is

  24. Paul Baker says

    Freed land and Cohen have only one thing on their minds; Israel. They know Corbyn will decline Trump’s invitation to join the coming war on Iran. They detest his support for Palestinians. When I pointed out Freedland’s close observance of the Israeli order to “take down” Corbyn on a Comment I was banned for life for “author abuse”. I note Freedland is Comments Editor. I hate him.

    • wardropper says

      Now that says something. I didn’t know he had that useful censoring job…

    • Goldeneagle says

      My father was in Palestine after the war, when Palestinians were being kicked off their land for the Jewish People. he told me many stories about the treatment of the Palestinian people. It was very shocking to hear it all. But what disturbs me more nowadays is that the Israeli government have been land grabbing In Palestine till there is very little land left for them.How can that ever be right. When you see a map with what Jewish people were given and what Palestinians are left with is quite shocking. I can`t remember where I saw this map or I would link to it. My sympathies do lie with the Palestinian people and I do hope that one day, land will be returned to the Palestinian people and that all can live in peace.

  25. Once any politician talks about Palestinians and Lebanese as though they were real human beings with rights like the rest of us NOTHING those politicians do can ever be acceptable to Freeland and his wriggling ilk.

    • JJA says

      Cohen’s piece? Smears about Corbyn’s ‘links’ with Putin, Iran, anti-semitism, etc., etc., As usual, evidence free.

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