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Keep Talking (group)
Meetings and membership
In existence by 2010, the group was founded by Holocaust denier Nicholas Kollerstrom and 9/11 truther Ian Fantom. Fantom helped to set it up because he believed the 9/11 truth groups had been "sabotaged from within".
The group holds monthly meetings in central London. It has discussed a wide variety of conspiracy theories, particularly about 9/11, the London terror attacks, assassinations, the White Helmets, and Holocaust denial. One frequent theme is that terrorist attacks in London have been false flag operations. In November 2017 Gilad Atzmon told the group that the Balfour Declaration was meant to "conceal a century of Jewish political hegemony in Britain". In 2020 the group discussed COVID-19 conspiracy theories.
The 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." People involved in the group include expelled Labour Party member Elleanne Green, founder of the Palestine Live Facebook group; Gill Kaffash, a Holocaust denier and former Palestine Solidarity Campaign activist; Alison Chabloz, convicted in 2019 after singing Holocaust-denial songs on social media; and James Thring, a regular attendee who has appeared on the radio show of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Piers Corbyn, older brother of the former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, addressed at least one meeting and attended several.
Stead Steadman, an organizer of the far-right group London Forum, has regularly videotaped the meetings. Vanessa Beeley, a conspiracy theorist focused on the Syrian Civil War, spoke to the group in December 2018, as did Peter Gregson in March 2019. Gregson was suspended by the Labour Party and expelled from the GMB trade union after making comments deemed to be antisemitic. Gregson's 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. According to Rich and Mulhall, he was "ridiculed" at the meeting for saying the Holocaust had happened; during the Q&A, Thring maintained it had not and there were no recorded deaths at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
In 2018 a series of six events the group was planning at Conway Hall in London were cancelled after it was revealed that Nick Kollerstrom would speak at the events. 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.
Black Lives Matter photograph
During 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, a 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, Best for Britain deleted its Twitter post of the photograph and apologized, while ITV News retracted the story.
Researchers Dave Rich of the Community Security Trust and Joe Mulhall of Hope not Hate began a three-year investigation into the group in 2017, which included infiltrating meetings. Their report, Inside Keep Talking, was published in February 2020.
- Rich, Dave; Muhall, Joe. "Inside Keep Talking" (PDF). Hope not Hate and Community Security Trust. pp. 1–28. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 March 2020.
- "Report: London conspiracy group uniting far-left and far-right". Jewish News. 24 February 2020. Archived from the original on 6 March 2020.
- 2020 report, p. 7.
- 2020 report, p. 24.
- 2020 report, p. 16.
- 2020 report, p. 25.
- 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.
- "COVID-19 & The Far Right: Weekly Round Up – HOPE not Hate". HOPE not Hate. 24 April 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
- 2020 report, p. 4.
- 2020 report, p. 6; "Alison Chabloz has anti-Semitic songs conviction upheld". BBC News, 13 February 2019.
- 2020 report, pp. 6–7.
- Townsend, Mark (22 February 2020). "UK left activists attended events with far right antisemites". The Observer. Archived from the original on 13 May 2020.
- 2020 report, p. 20.
- 2020 report, pp. 17, 26; "Intrigue, Ep6: Mayday – The One With Sean Penn". BBC Radio 4. 9 November 2020.
- Hannan, Martin (3 January 2019). "GMB to expel Labour activist Pete Gregson for anti-Semitism". The National.
- 2020 report, p. 6.
- 2020 report, p. 17.
- Mulhall, Joe (5 March 2018). "Holocaust deniers event cancelled". HOPE not Hate. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
- "Six events with a Holocaust denier pulled after pressure from anti-racism group". Jewish News. 11 November 2020.
- 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.
- Bell, Joanne (16 June 2020). "When Rosie met Jim: the anti-racism picture that wasn't". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 13 November 2020.
- "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.
- "Footage shows pro-Corbyn activists in meeting with far-right Holocaust deniers". The Jewish Chronicle. 23 February 2020.
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