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Statement of Principles:

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Shenanigans on Labour’s right

A few days ago the Labour Party launched the Democracy Review. It represents the most significant opportunity to radically transform the structures, culture, and balance of power of the party in modern history.

So we like this story in Skwarkbox which shows the so-called “independent” slate standing candidates in the forthcoming NEC elections is anything but independent, actually feeding its information straight to Progress and Labour First, two organisations that tried strenuously to prevent Jeremy Corbyn becoming Labour leader, that supported the challenge against him and are widely regarded as implacably opposed not only to his leadership, but to the vision and direction of the Labour party under him. […]

Robert A.H.Cohen writes from the the Amos Trust’s 1,000-mile ‘Just Walk to Jerusalem’: “We know we cannot turn back the clock to a time before Balfour. Whatever the second Balfour century looks like it will include Jews and Arabs living on the land.

The question is: will they live as equals and in peace or will they live, as they do today, as oppressed and oppressor?…Our call is simple, but frustratingly it is also highly contentious: Equal rights for all who call the Holy Land home.” […]

René Cassin: the Jewish Voice for Human Rights – Fellowship Programme

The René Cassin Fellowship Programme (RCFP) explores Jewish visions for a just society and provides individuals with the knowledge, skills and contacts needed to enhance their activism in the areas of social justice and human rights. The RCFP brings together a cohort of exceptional professionals to explore human rights issues from a uniquely Jewish perspective. As a supporter your webperson received the above email about their training programme with a link to forward to friends. […]

Marie Schmolka, who inspired the Kindertransport

Anna Hájková & Martin Šmok remember Marie Schmolka, a lifelong Social Democrat in Czechoslovakia, who coordinated assistance to refugees from the Nazi regime, and inspired the Kindertransport. She has been forgotten. The preparatory committee for the Marie Schmolka Memorial wants to change that and will soon start soliciting donations to support the memorial — a plaque at her house in Gospel Oak, a statue in Prague, and a prize for historical work addressing female Jewish social workers in the Holocaust. […]

What is it to be Jew-ish?

Jo Bird writes: “One of my parents is Jewish, the other is not. For many years, I didn’t feel Jewish enough, or pro-Israel enough, to name and claim my experiences as Jewish. This is my story.” […]

Two Jewish newspapers speak out against Islamophobia in Golders Green

Two important and outspoken articles have appeared in the Jewish Press. Both concern attempts to stop an Islamic centre in the heart of Golders Green. Both rail against the bigotry that underlies this campaign. Hats off to Jewish News which runs a fighting editorial on the matter; and to Stephen Pollard who writes in the Jewish Chronicle in a personal capacity. Let us hope others in the Jewish community join in condemnation of this rampant Islamophobia. […]

The Israeli Labor Party – a fit sister party for Labour?

The Israeli Labor Party is, like our Labour Party, a member of the Socialist International.

The Haaretz editorial reprinted here is a bitter critique of that Party and its move even further to the right under its newest leader, Avi Gabbay. And Ben White in the Independent argues:”The uncomfortable reality is that Gabbay’s racism, as well as his support for settlements and disproportionate military force, is entirely consistent with the [Israeli] Labor Party’s past and present.”

We trust that all Jewish members in and around the Labour Party, starting with Labour Friends of Israel and Jewish Labour Movement, will be appalled by these developments and hope to hear loud voices of condemnation from all concerned. […]

Pro-Israel Social Democrats USA endorse BDS with a heavy heart

Sheldon Ranz has contacted JVL to say: “Shalom! I’m from across the Pond(USA), and I’m excited about JVL. Recently, my organization, Social Democrats USA endorsed BDS as Democratic Zionists. I was a co-author of the resolution, If anyone in JVL feels a positive emotional attachment to Israel but has been led to believe that the BDS movement or demands are inherently anti-Zionist, you need to read this article.” […]

A new film from Independent Jewish Voices

100 Years After Balfour is a new talking heads film made by Independent Jewish Voices. The film spells out the troubling legacy of the Balfour Declaration, challenging the notion that this year’s centenary is cause for celebration, given the grave consequences of the document for Palestinians above all.

The film goes on to explain how the decisions of the British government in 1917 are linked to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, its fifty year occupation of the West Bank since 1967, and today’s political gridlock. 100 Years After Balfour features seven experts and activists: Professor Avi Shlaim, Professor Jacqueline Rose, Rabbi Howard Cooper, Professor Brian Klug, Antony Lerman, Barnaby Raine and Miri Weingarten. […]

Balfour revisited

The 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration is nearly upon us and Robert Cohen fears it is becoming a sacred Jewish text. “But unlike other Jewish scripture, these are not words our rabbis will be allowed to examine, verse by verse, in synagogue sermons, nor our students wrestle with in yeshiva study halls.” So, Cohen affirms, “For the sake of future Jewish generations, not to mention historians of the 20th century, it would be a good idea to put a stop to this manufacturing of holiness, this muddling of religion and nationalism.” […]