Emergency rally today, Monday, to oppose Board of Deputies attack on Jeremy Corbyn, 5.00pm outside Portcullis House


Jewish Voice for Labour

Emergency rally today, Monday, to oppose Board of Deputies attack on Jeremy Corbyn


Outside Portcullis House Westminster

JVL is calling on all supporters of Jeremy Corbyn to attend a rally to oppose Board of Deputies/Jewish Leadership Council cynical selective outrage. Tory current chief executive is a former chair of the Jewish Leadership Council.

Jeremy Corbyn is not an antisemite. Jeremy supports Palestinian rights and is campaigning for a socialist vision for Britain. The BoD and the JLC oppose both of these.

JVL has issued this statement to the press

Labour Jews support Jeremy Corbyn – oppose Board of Deputies selective outrage

Pro-Corbyn Labour Jews:

  • oppose Board of Deputies’ Parliament Square demonstration Monday March 26
  • urge BoD and Jewish Leadership Council to “stop playing party politics”

Following several days of attacks on Jeremy Corbyn by members of the Parliamentary Labour Party hostile to his leadership, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council have chosen this moment, just as campaigning begins in earnest for local government elections in May, to call a demonstration in Parliament Square on March 26 holding Corbyn responsible for alleged antisemitism.

Jewish Voice for Labour has issued the following statement in response:

We are Jews in the Labour Party currently actively campaigning for Labour in local elections. We are appalled by the actions and statements of the Board of Deputies. They do not represent us or the great majority of Jews in the Party who share Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for social justice and fairness. Jeremy’s consistent commitment to anti-racism is all the more needed now.

As the British people call time on May and the Tories, they are getting more desperate. There is massively more antisemitism on the right of politics than on the left. Any organisation claiming to represent Jews in the Labour Party should be holding up for criticism, the senior ex adviser to the Prime Minister who recently used a national newspaper to dredge up antisemitic conspiracy theories, and the local Conservative party which issued a dogwhistle leaflet aiming to mobilise racism in their local election campaign. The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council have been silent on both. They have nothing to say either on the global rise of the far right and the toxic anti-immigrant rhetoric of the tabloid press. Jewish history surely gives us an imperative to speak out against both racism and fascism.

The BoD and the JLC and those supporting them must be aware that this is an attempt to influence local elections and has nothing to do with the real and necessary task of challenging racism and antisemitism at all levels of political life. We call on them to stop playing party politics and start representing what our community needs. We believe that is best represented by the politics we fight for and hope to see win on May 3rd.


Comments (12)

  • Liza Dresner says:

    Too early for those of us working. Would have been there if later.

  • Umut Gezer says:

    It is clear that this anti-Corbyn campaign planned well before the accusations of Corbyn being anti-semitic. Everyone from the right-wing Labour MPs to liberal-right media controlled by the Tory machine worries that JC may become the next Prime Minister, who is the only person that would bring peace to not only to the Middle East but also home and across the world. I condemn BoD and the JLC of becoming part of this campaign. We will come out stronger than ever from this hate campaign.

  • Robert Bleeker says:

    Jewish Voice for Labour,

    This string of mean-spirited attacks from the usual suspects on JC and his direct political environment – attacks initiated from the very moment of his first election as Labour Leader and continuing until this very day – is all part of a well-orchestrated strategy.

    A strategy exclusively meant to prevent Corbyn ever to become PM, (mainly) because of his to be expected foreign policy – based on international law and BDS (!) rather than on exceptionalism and ethno-nationalism – on the ME in general and on the neo-colonial policies from Israel (and its neo-conservative allies from the West) against the indigenous people of Palestine in particular.

    The UK May elections are only a small part of this ferocious anti-Corbyn project from the WW pro Eretz-Israellobby.

    Solidarity from Holland to all of you, that are fighting for the right causes (which of course does necessarily mean, that I do unconditionally agree on every proclaimed policy 🙂 )

    Have courage and clear (in)sight..

    Success from

    Robert Bleeker

  • Robert Bleeker says:

    Erratum : which of course does NOT necessarily mean, that I do unconditionally agree on every proclaimed policy

  • David Taylor Searle says:

    If only we could get there we would. As a family we give you all of our support and wish you well.
    Please don’t be panicked or led into metaphorical blind alley ways by the merciless media monsters and the anticorbyn lobbyists!
    All of our best wishes and may success fly fairly with you!
    David T. Searle and Family

  • Eric says:

    The BoD & JLC demonstration has received plenty of free promotion in the media, including the BBC. I’ll imagine there will be press coverage of the event. Watch out for individuals expressing anti-semitic slogans, chants and placards etc. amongst the counter-demonstration. They could be there to deliberately add fuel to the fire and discredit those attending the counter-demonstration.

  • Mary Holmes says:

    Good on you for organising this rally. Of course racism is wrong but no one in their senses could call Jeremy Corbyn a racist. This is all because he wants to see justice in Palestine and people there able to live in freedom not locked behind walls and checkpoints.

  • Ralph says:

    Attack on Corbyn totally sickening and suicidal for the LP. Sorry not able to make it but wish success.

  • Anne Beaton says:

    I think JC would make a good PM. Why would he be anti-Semitic? I always thought that he himself was Jewish. Maybe I am wrong.

  • Jim Denham says:

    Corbyn’s letter to organiser’s of this evening protest. It’s pretty good (or at least heading in the right direction, and well away from the JVL response).

    “Dear Jonathan and Jonathan,

    Thank you for your letter to the Labour Party concerning antisemitism issued as a press statement last night.

    First of all, let me acknowledge the anger and upset that provoked it, and repeat my offer of an urgent meeting to discuss the issues you have raised as soon as possible.

    I stated yesterday, and repeat today, that I will not tolerate any form of antisemitism that exists in or around our party and movement. I am committed to eliminating antisemitism wherever it exists.

    As I told the Labour Party conference in 2016, antisemitism is an evil that led to the worst crimes of the 20th century. Prejudice and hatred of Jewish people has no place whatsoever in the Labour Party, and every one of us has a responsibility to ensure it is never allowed to fester in our society again.

    I recognise that antisemitism has surfaced within the Labour Party, and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples. This has caused pain and hurt to Jewish members of our Party and to the wider Jewish community in Britain. I am sincerely sorry for the pain which has been caused, and pledge to redouble my efforts to bring this anxiety to an end.

    While the forms of antisemitism expressed on the far Right of politics are easily detectable, such as Holocaust denial, there needs to be a deeper understanding of what constitutes antisemitism in the labour movement. Sometimes this evil takes familiar forms – the east London mural which has caused such understandable controversy is an example. The idea of Jewish bankers and capitalists exploiting the workers of the world is an old antisemitic conspiracy theory. This was long ago, and rightly, described as “the socialism of fools.” I am sorry for not having studied the content of the mural more closely before wrongly questioning its removal in 2012.

    Newer forms of antisemitism have been woven into criticism of Israeli governments. Criticism of Israel, particularly in relation to the continuing dispossession of the Palestinian people, cannot be avoided. Nevertheless, comparing Israel or the actions of Israeli governments to the Nazis, attributing criticisms of Israel to Jewish characteristics or to Jewish people in general and using abusive phraseology about supporters of Israel such as “Zio” all constitute aspects of contemporary antisemitism. And Jewish people must not be held responsible or accountable for the actions of the Israeli government.

    The Labour Party has always opposed antisemitism, old and new, and always will. We are proud of our deep historical links with Jewish communities, and to have fought alongside generations of Jewish men and women against fascism, prejudice and discrimination. This is a part of our common heritage from which we will never be separated. But I acknowledge that antisemitic attitudes have surfaced more often in our ranks in recent years, and that the Party has been too slow in processing some of the cases that have emerged. Early action has nevertheless been taken, and we will work to speed up procedures, to deal with cases of antisemitic abuse or attitudes.

    I am committed to making our Party a welcoming and secure place for Jewish people. Zero tolerance for antisemites means what it says, and the Party will proceed in that spirit. That demands among other things the overdue full implementation of the recommendations of the Chakrabarti report, including a programme of political education to increase awareness and understanding of all forms of antisemitism.

    The battle against antisemitism should never become a party political issue. It must unite all of us if we are both to honour the memory of the victims of the bestial crimes of the 20th century and build a future of equality and justice for all.

    In that spirit, I must make it clear that I will never be anything other than a militant opponent of antisemitism. In this fight, I am your ally and always will be.

    Best wishes,

    Jeremy Corbyn MP

  • What I fail to understand is why people who are apologists for Israel’s racist treatment of the Palestinians (be they Jews or non Jews) do not seem to be subject to the same spotlight as (particularly Jewish) opponents of that treatment.

    Jeremy is absolutely correct to say what he does about holocaust denial and about that mural. And comparisons with Nazi Germany are bound to offend many Jewish people, particularly those directly touched by the Holocaust.

    But while he says that criticism of Israel “cannot be avoided”, he will never satisfy those anti Arab racists who do not want Israel to be criticised full stop.

    And neither will he satisfy those who are cynically using this whole issue to wage a struggle to reverse his victory in the Labour leadership campaign and to break up the mass movement that arose as a result of that campaign.

  • Robert Bleeker says:

    1. First of all we have to assume that this letter, printed above and supposedly signed by JC – I have to trust, the letter will have been checked on validity by the JVL moderation – is genuinely arriving from the hands of JC.

    2. If we do accept that this letter has been written by JC, we – even allowing the consideration, that JC might have opted for the perspective as leader of the (entire) Labour party, who “has to” address the full spectre of opinions from within the party and therefor not being in the position, of posing too controversial questions – immediately have to ask the question, why he would try to completely accommodate to (i.e. to plead guilty to) almost the entire encyclopedia of (mainly politically motivated) criticism, that has been thrown at him by his opponents, be it (cross-party) pro-zionist Jews, be it pro zionist Christians and/or others.

    3. Might he have been (ill-)advised by – for example – his over-ambitious deputy Watson et al. – who in the past has been clearly identified of trying to remove JC from his leadership position – to try to (opportunistically) eliminate any apparent reference to whatever weaponized use of the definition of antisemitism at all.

    4. Let alone of even daring to question the definition of antisemitism used (in bad faith, for obviously with the wrong intentions) by his opponents in the first place and subsequently – for example – daring to specify / include that same notion, towards the all too legitimate question of BDS and antisemitism and/or towards the question of ethno-nationalism (the racist Jabotinsky variety) and antisemitism and/or towards the question of ethno-exceptionalism and antisemitism.

    5. Otherwise : Has the veteran warrior for human rights, JC finally and suddenly been intimidated by his opponents in such a way and manner, that he might have felt forced to represent the (rather distorted, for a-typical for the MP JC as we know him) views on the subject of antisemitism, as he did in his letter.

    6. Intimidated in a way maybe – and I have to state some educated guesswork in this respect – that he might have been blackmailed in one way or another, towards his apparent statement on the matter of Labour and antisemitism.

    7. I have to ask these questions too, partly because JC – the lifelong activist against injustice and many times smeared all over by his enemies – would know by now, that whenever he (not least in the strikingly subservient way, that he formulated his letter) would admit to any wrongdoing (according to the politicised accusations of his political opponents, that is), the next stage would and will be, that he will be confronted with the unconditional demand of direct, decisive and punitive action against all those, who his opponents will put in front of him on a list.

    8. Knowing that – even if JC would fulfil all their impossible demands – he would lose all his credibility as party leader : So he seems to have himself manoeuvred into a lose-lose situation, which is exactly what his opponents are aiming at.

    9. So Corbyn – for whatever reason – seems to have bent completely to (the tactics of) his adversaries and by doing so, rendered himself completely to potential political oblivion…

    10. If indeed this might be the case, I think it is about time, that others in the Labour Party – both MP’s, members and affiliates / sympathisers – will stand up against the LFI (and organisations with similar destructive tactics) and (more concretely) protect their party leader against the daily barrage of smear attacks that he is up against and which maybe even has finally broken his fighting spirit (given the position of apparently complete surrender, that he seems to have been demonstrating in his supposed (rather unbalanced, self-accusative and non-assertive) letter, printed above)..

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