Keep Talking (group)

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Keep Talking is a conspiracy theory and Holocaust denial discussion group in the United Kingdom attended by far-left and far-right activists.[1][2]

Formation[edit]

The group was founded prior to 2010[3] by Nicholas Kollerstrom, who has promoted Holocaust denial and other conspiracy theories, and Ian Fantom, who explained that his motivation for launching the group was that previous 9/11 Truth movement groups had been "sabotaged from within".[4]

Topics and speakers[edit]

The group holds monthly meetings in central London.[3] Speakers' topics have included 9/11 conspiracy theories, whether the London terror attacks have been false flag operations, assassinations, EU/ Brexit and COVID-19 conspiracy theories.[5][6] Speakers have included Gilad Atzmon, who told the group that the Balfour Declaration was meant to "conceal a century of Jewish political hegemony in Britain";[7][8] conspiracy theorist Vanessa Beeley, on the funding of the Syrian opposition;[9] Peter Gregson on freedom of speech on Israel and antisemitism[7] (Gregson was expelled from the GMB trade union for making comments about Israel deemed to be antisemitic.[10] His use of Keep Talking material and support of Fantom and Kollerstrom caused a rift within Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW), a group opposed to the expulsion of Labour members who made antisemitic comments, leading to the banning of Gregson from LAW's facebook page by LAW's vice-chair Tony Greenstein);[11] Miko Peled on Palestine; and Piers Corbyn, who rejects the consensus on climate change and considers vaccines dangerous and COVID-19 a "hoax", on "global cooling".[12][13][14][15][1][16]

Attendees[edit]

The group includes both far-left and far-right activists. Regular attendees included former Labour Party member Elleanne Green, founder of the Palestine Live Facebook group which featured Holocaust denial and 9/11 conspiracy theories,[16][17] Alison Chabloz, convicted in 2019 for singing 'offensive' Holocaust-denial songs on social media,[18] and James Thring, who has appeared on the radio show of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.[19][16] Gill Kaffash, a holocaust Revisionist[note 1] and former Palestine Solidarity Campaign activist, was present at Gregson's talk.[16][20][21][22] According to Rich and Mulhall, Gregson was "ridiculed" for saying in his speech that the Holocaust had happened; during the Q&A, Thring maintained it had not and there were no deaths at the Auschwitz concentration camp.[23][16][24] Stead Steadman, an organizer of the far-right group London Forum, has for periods regularly videotaped the meetings.[3]

Responses[edit]

In 2018, a series of six events the group was planning at Conway Hall in London were cancelled after it was revealed that Kollerstrom would speak at the events.[25][26] In 2019, St Anne's Church, Soho apologized for allowing the group to have a meeting at its premises.[27]

During the June 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the UK, a photograph was taken of a young black woman talking to an older white man, Jim Curran, an Irish nationalist and regular attendee of Keep Talking events, who was wearing a sign that said, "Racism is a virus, we are the vaccine". The photograph was considered heartwarming and went viral; they were interviewed by ITV News, which described Curran as "a veteran of human rights campaigns dating back to the 1960s". After his involvement in the group was revealed, ITV News retracted the story.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rich, Dave; Mulhall, Joe. "Inside Keep Talking" (PDF). Hope not Hate and Community Security Trust. pp. 1–28. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Report: London conspiracy group uniting far-left and far-right". Jewish News. 24 February 2020. Archived from the original on 6 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b c 2020 report, p. 7.
  4. ^ 2020 report, p. 24.
  5. ^ 2020 report, p. 16.
  6. ^ "COVID-19 & The Far Right: Weekly Round Up – HOPE not Hate". HOPE not Hate. 24 April 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  7. ^ a b 2020 report, p. 25.
  8. ^ a b Edmunds, Donna Rachel (16 June 2020). "Lauded 'anti-racism activist' has ties to Holocaust denial group". Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 1 November 2020.
  9. ^ 2020 report, pp. 17, 26; "Intrigue, Ep6: Mayday – The One With Sean Penn". BBC Radio 4. 9 November 2020.
  10. ^ Hannan, Martin (3 January 2019). "GMB to expel Labour activist Pete Gregson for anti-Semitism". The National.
  11. ^ https://www.thejc.com/news/uk/emails-reveal-row-within-labour-against-the-witchhunt-over-member-s-support-for-holocaust-denier-1.483088
  12. ^ "Is there trouble ahead for Jeremy Corbyn? Enter sibling Piers, the wacky weatherman..." The Independent. 13 August 2015. Archived from the original on 13 December 2019. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  13. ^ York, Chris (14 September 2020) [20 June 2020]. "Jeremy Corbyn's Brother, Piers, Charged With Breaching Coronavirus Regulations At 5G Protest". HuffPost. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  14. ^ Kennedy, Dominic; Ellis, Rosa (11 September 2020). "ANTIVAX Piers Corbyn blamed for split among coronavirus deniers". The Times. Archived from the original on 11 September 2020. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  15. ^ 2020 report, p. 20.
  16. ^ a b c d e Townsend, Mark (22 February 2020). "UK left activists attended events with far right antisemites". The Observer. Archived from the original on 13 May 2020.
  17. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/mar/08/labour-suspends-party-members-in-antisemitic-facebook-group
  18. ^ 2020 report, p. 6 "Alison Chabloz has anti-Semitic songs conviction upheld". BBC News, 13 February 2019.
  19. ^ 2020 report, pp. 6–7.
  20. ^ Cohen, Justin (4 April 2016). "Labour bans activist who promoted Holocaust revisionism". Jewish News. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  21. ^ https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/britains-labour-party-expels-activist-over-holocaust-denial-450309
  22. ^ Mendick, Robert (20 May 2018). "Jeremy Corbyn's 10-year association with group which denies the Holocaust". Telegraph. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  23. ^ 2020 report, p. 8 & 17.
  24. ^ 2020 report, p. 6.
  25. ^ Mulhall, Joe (5 March 2018). "Holocaust deniers event cancelled". HOPE not Hate. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  26. ^ "Six events with a Holocaust denier pulled after pressure from anti-racism group". Jewish News. 11 November 2020.
  27. ^ Weich, Ben (7 October 2019). "Church apologises for hosting event staged by Keep Talking, a group founded by Holocaust denier". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 7 December 2019.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The term for one who does not deny that Jews were interned in prison camps during World War II; rather, they argue that the number of deaths was greatly exaggerated - http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1860871_1860876_1861026,00.html