Update on Anti-Semitic Hate Campaign
during Kenilworth By-Election: September 2020
Dear friends and supporters
Some six months have passed since the Borehamwood Kenilworth by-election when I was subject to a vicious smear campaign by Hertsmere Conservatives alongside the worst anti-Semitic abuse that I have experienced in my life. As HertsLive reported last week, to be told that I should go and “die in the gas chambers” and have threats made against my baby, abusive messages sent to my workplace and a stream of other libelous and racist comments directed towards me are things that no one should ever have to go through simply for wanting to make their community a better place.
During the election campaign I was told that I am "a Jewish c**t", "a Nazi," "a disgusting Jew" and that I should be "sent to Tehran" among other things. The Conservative candidate Brett Rosehill sent sickening letters through voters doors about me, and as The Independent reported, senior Conservative Councillor Paul Morris posted a photo of my face on a huge digital billboard outside our town's rail station during rushour insinuating that I support a terrorist group . Another Tory Councillor, Glenn Briski smeared me on social media for belonging to groups I have never joined and used horrible anti-Semitic tropes, describing me and left-leaning Jewish people as being "privileged, guilt-ridden middle-class self-hating Jews."
I wanted to thank you for all the messages of support and to those of you who kindly donated to my crowdfunder appeal for the libel suit I pursued against the perpetrators.
Today I can share the news with you that following an out of court settlement, the Conservative Deputy Mayor of Elstree & Borehamwood Town Council, Sandra Parnell has been forced to apologise for an atrocious comment she made about me during the by-election when she compared me to Adolf Hitler. Ashamedly, despite her apology, the Conservative-run Town Council has refused to distance itself from her comments. My solicitors, Carter Ruck wrote to the Tory candidate Brett Rosehill warning him and the Conservatives over their alleged incitement to anti-Semitism and multiple breaches of electoral law. Cllr Rosehill’s wife also took down a libellous post about me following a separate letter. Other updates include:
All three opposition parties united to condemn the Tories over the abuse I faced, as have Labour MPs, anti-racist organisations, rabbis & Jewish groups.
Labour’s ex-General Secretary wrote to Tory HQ to demand they conduct an investigation into their councillors’ and candidate’s behaviour and alleged anti-Semitism. To date they never agreed to do so.
The case received national coverage in The Independent, Private Eye, Jewish Chronicle & Jewish News. Also on the Borehamwood Times front page.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews condemned the anti-Semitism and sent me a supportive message.
I recently spoke about what happened to me at a Barnet TUC forum alongside MPs and other anti-racism campaigners. You can see the clip here.
I am proud of everyone who volunteered in my campaign team. We fought a clean campaign based on local issues such as demanding a new GP surgery, the protection of Green Belt land from housing developments, opposition to Tory cuts to health services and public transport and for a new youth club and although we lost, we actually performed remarkably well. Our by-election vote was 10% higher than Labour’s national polling the following day, in spite of all the smears against me.
I stepped down as Hertsmere Labour Chair at the time, to campaign for justice in this case. However I remain committed to improving our town and our borough and refuse to let the Tories disappear me from local politics with their hate.
Hertsmere Conservatives have smeared our Jewish candidates in the last three local elections. This is completely unacceptable and I implore them to fight future election campaigns based upon local issues, rather our candidates’ backgrounds.
The abuse only stiffens my resolve to improve my local community and our society. To quote Pablo Neruda, the Chilean exile from the Pinochet regime: “They can cut all the flowers, but they cannot keep spring from coming.”
Dr Dan Ozarow
Borehamwood Kenilworth Candidate
Ex Hertsmere Labour Party Chair