Two of the most influential pro-Israel newspapers in the UK are to close due to the effect of the coronavirus crisis on the media industry.
The Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News are to close and their staff will be made redundant after their parent company ran out of money.
Both newspapers have been at the forefront of defending and promoting Israel, as well as targeting pro Palestine activists. They both played a prominent role in accusing former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of antisemitism, and delegitimising him in the eyes of voters.
The Jewish Chronicle has also been forced to settle a number of libel claims due to false reporting.
In February it apologised to a Labour activist for libeling her over “anti-Semitism.” It admitted on its website that it had published “allegations about Mrs Audrey White” which were “untrue.” It said it had agreed to pay White a sum in damages plus her legal costs.
The libel settlement came after a UK press regulator in December ruled that the paper’s four articles about White had been “significantly misleading” and that the paper had engaged in “unacceptable” obstruction of their investigation.
In August last year, The JC was also forced to pay $60,000 in libel damages to InterPal, a British charity which aids Palestinians. The paper had falsely attacked the charity with insinuations of “terrorist” activity.
The Jewish Chronicle announced today: “With great sadness, the Board of the Jewish Chronicle has taken the decision to seek a creditors voluntary liquidation of Jewish Chronicle Newspapers Ltd.
“Despite the heroic efforts of the editorial and production team at the newspaper, it has become clear that the Jewish Chronicle will not be able to survive the impact of the current coronavirus epidemic in its current form.
“The liquidation is expected to be finalised in the coming 2 to 3 weeks and every effort will be made to ensure that the paper continues to be published over this period and the website continues to provide regular updates.
“The Kessler Foundation, owners of the Jewish Chronicle, are actively working to secure a future for the Jewish Chronicle after the liquidation. Further announcements regarding this will be made in the coming days.”
The Jewish News, which was due to merge with the Jewish Chronicle, issued a similar statement.
“With great sadness, the board of the Jewish News has taken the decision to seek a creditors voluntary liquidation of Jewish News Limited.
“Despite the heroic efforts of the editorial and production team at the Jewish News it has become clear that the business will not be able to survive the impact of the current coronavirus epidemic in its current form.
“The liquidation is expected to be finalised in the coming two to three weeks and every effort will be made to ensure that the paper continues to be published and the website continues to provide regular updates over this period.
“We are actively working with the Kessler Foundation, owner of the Jewish Chronicle, to secure a future for the Jewish News after the liquidation. Further announcements regarding this will be made in the coming days.”
A collapse in print sales and advertising revenue is hitting news outlets hard, with many local and independent newspapers facing severe financial strains.
On Tuesday, Enders Analysis predicted a long-term blow to the British news industry as a result of the pandemic, with as many as a third of journalists losing their jobs.
News outlets that rely heavily on print revenue have been hit particularly badly, with people not going to shops to buy copies and advertisers cutting back.