Keep Talking (group)

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Keep Talking is a conspiracy theory and Holocaust denial discussion group in the United Kingdom that includes far-left and far-right activists.[1] It was founded before 2010[2] by Holocaust denier Nicholas Kollerstrom and 9/11 truther Ian Fantom,[3][4] who was inspired to start the group because he thought that 9/11 truth groups had been "sabotaged from within".[2] The group meets once a month in North London.[2][5]

Topics[edit]

The group has discussed a wide variety of conspiracy theories, particularly those relating to 9/11, the London terror attacks, assassinations, antisemitic conspiracy theories, including Holocaust denial, and the White Helmets. One frequent theme is claims that various terror attacks are false flag attacks.[2] In 2017, Gilad Atzmon gave a talk to the group, in which he advanced the argument that the Balfour Declaration was intended to "conceal a century of Jewish political hegemony in Britain".[2][5] Vanessa Beeley, a conspiracy theorist focused on the Syrian Civil War, has also spoken at the group's events, in 2019,[6] as has Piers Corbyn (the older brother of Jeremy Corbyn). In 2020, the group has engaged in COVID-19 conspiracy theories.[7]

History[edit]

In 2018, its events at Conway Hall in London were cancelled after the involvement of Holocaust deniers was revealed.[8][9] In 2019, St Anne's Church, Soho apologized for allowing the group to have a meeting at its premises, during which Miko Peled gave a speech.[4]

In 2020, the Community Security Trust and Hope Not Hate published a report on Keeping Talking, the results of their researchers Dave Rich and Joe Mulhall's joint three-year investigation into the group.[1][3]

Attendees[edit]

The discussion group includes both far-left and far-right activists. According to Rich and Mulhall, "The deeper we looked into the ‘Keep Talking’ group, the harder it became to know whether it was far-right, far-left, a mixture of the two, or something else entirely".[1] People involved in the group include expelled Labour Party member Elleanne Green; Gill Kaffash, a Holocaust denier and former Palestine Solidarity Campaign activist; and Alison Chabloz, fined for an antisemitic song.[2][3][10] During one meeting in 2019, former Labour Party and GMB activist Peter Gregson[11][12] was ridiculed by members of the group for saying that the Holocaust did happen and James Thring, a regular attendee with links to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke,[8] claimed that there were no recorded deaths at Auschwitz concentration camp.[2][3] Stead Steadman, an organizer of the far-right group London Forum, has for periods regularly videotaped Keep Talking meetings.[2]

Black Lives Matter photograph[edit]

During 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the UK, a photograph was taken of a young black woman having a conversation with an older white man, Jim Curran, 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". Best for Britain retweeted the photograph, but later deleted the post and apologized, while ITV News retracted the story, after it was revealed that Curran had regularly attended Keep Talking events.[5][13][14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Report: London conspiracy group uniting far-left and far-right". Jewish News. 24 February 2020. Archived from the original on 6 March 2020. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Dave Rich and Joe Mulhall. "Inside Keep Talking" (PDF). CST. Hope not Hate and Community Security Trust. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 March 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Townsend, Mark (22 February 2020). "UK left activists attended events with far right antisemites". The Observer. Archived from the original on 13 May 2020. Retrieved 24 April 2020. Also present in the audience was Ian Fantom, co-founder of Keep Talking and a 9/11 "truther", who has appeared alongside Piers Corbyn, older brother of the Labour leader, at a Keep Talking event.
  4. ^ a b 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. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b c 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. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Intrigue, Ep6: Mayday - The One With Sean Penn". BBC Radio 4. 2020-11-11. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  7. ^ "COVID-19 & The Far Right: Weekly Round Up – HOPE not hate". HOPE not hate. 2020-04-24. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  8. ^ a b "HOPE not hate gets Holocaust deniers event cancelled – HOPE not hate". HOPE not hate. 2018-03-05. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  9. ^ Grant, Brigit (2020-11-11). "Six events with a Holocaust denier pulled after pressure from anti-racism group". Jewish News. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  10. ^ "Footage shows pro-Corbyn activists in meeting with far-right Holocaust deniers". The Jewish Chronicle. 23 February 2020. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Ruling: 05311-19 Gregson v Sunday Herald". Independent Press Standards Organisation. 28 November 2019. Archived from the original on 4 August 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Union to expel Scottish Labour activist for anti-Semitism". The National. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  13. ^ Bell, Joanne. "When Rosie met Jim: the anti-racism picture that wasn't". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 13 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  14. ^ "Best for Britain apologises for tweeting viral picture of man with antisemitism links in anti-racism rally and then issuing offensive response to criticism". Campaign Against Antisemitism. 19 June 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.