Labour’s advisory board members vetted – and vetoed – by the Board of Deputies and JLM

JVL Introduction

We repost without further comment an article on Labour’s appointees to its “high-level Advisory Board” on antisemitism.

This article was originally published by Skwawkbox on Wed 27 Jan 2021. Read the original here.

Exclusive: BoD and JLM given veto to exclude expert nominees from Labour’s ‘independent’ antisemitism ‘advisory board’

SKWAWKBOX (SW)

Keir Starmer’s call for nominations to his new ‘advisory board’ on Labour’s ‘independent’ antisemitism complaints process is a sham, according to Labour insiders. The members of the board have already been decided – and the right-wing Board of Deputies has been given a veto over appointments to the advisory group, alongside right-wing affiliate the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) which, despite a common narrative that it has a history as a Labour affiliate of more than a century, was reportedly re-founded when Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader out of concern at his victory and the prominence of Bernie Sanders in the US.

According to well-placed sources, those rejected for positions include Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) nominee Adam Hurst and all three prominent Jewish figures nominated by former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell:

Brian Klug

Brian Klug. Image: Wikipedia

Oxford University senior research fellow and tutor in philosophy Brian Klug is a member of the philosophy faculty at Oxford University. He is also an honorary fellow of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations at the University of Southampton and fellow of the College, Saint Xavier University, Chicago.

Klug is associate editor of Patterns of Prejudice, a peer-reviewed journal examining social exclusion and stigmatization and a founder member of the Jewish Forum for Justice and Human Rights, a UK-based group that addresses racism and antisemitism, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, immigration, and the treatment of asylum seekers

Antony Lerman

Antony Lerman. Image: Antony Lerman Twitter

Lerman is a British writer who specialises in the study of antisemitism, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, multiculturalism and the place of religion in society. He is a former Director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, a founding member of the Jewish Forum for Justice and Human Rights and a former editor of Patterns of Prejudice. He served on the Runnymede Trust’s Commission on Antisemitism sits on the advisory committee of the Imperial War Museum’s Holocaust exhibition

Rabbi Danny Rich

Rabbi Danny Rich. Image: liberaljudaism.org

Until last year, Labour councillor Danny Rich was the Chief Rabbi of Liberal Judaism in the UK. Although a patron of the Zionist Federation, he was attacked by the right in 2018 for hosting a shabbat dinner with Jeremy Corbyn and a JVL representative. Rich was also attacked by the right in 2012 for speaking at an event alongside two Jewish pro-Palestinian activists.

Cllr Adam Hurst. Image: JVL

 

Cllr Adam Hurst

JVL’s nominee Adam Hurst is a Sheffield Labour councillor and Reform synagogue member. He spoke in favour of a Sheffield City Council motion to recognise Palestinian statehood.

Despite the breadth of views and obvious depth of relevant experience and expertise represented by these nominees, none of them have made it onto the advisory board, according to Labour sources.

The Board of Deputies is estimated to represent – though rarely presented as such – only around a third of UK Jews. Its constitution states that one of the reasons for its existence is to ‘advance Israel’s security, welfare and standing’.

The group has no affiliation with the Labour party and, the day after the 2019 general election, published an article prominently headed by the Conservative party logo, attacking Jeremy Corbyn and praising the ‘historic achievement of Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party’:

McDonnell said:

We have yet to hear who the party has appointed to this body. The individuals I proposed are people of immense experience and knowledge held in high standing for the work they have undertaken on issues effecting the Jewish community. I would hope and expect that nobody within or outside of the party would view them as anything other than ideally suitable for the role envisaged by the EHRC.

The ‘BoD’ has taken an extreme position on the level of antisemitism within the Labour party that went far beyond what the recent EHRC report found to be the case, as the above article shows. The EHRC did not find Labour to be institutionally antisemitic and found only a couple of cases – which are disputed by legal experts – in which Labour could be held accountable for behaviour the EHRC considered antisemitic.

In spite of this clear conflict, admission to Labour’s ‘independent’ advisory board – which is being set up in response to the EHRC’s recommendations – is subject to a veto by a right-leaning, non-Labour group with an explicit, constitutional commitment to Israel and an entrenched position on ‘Labour antisemitism’ that far exceeds the EHRC’s findings. And expert nominees who have equivocated at all on the subject of Israel and Palestine have been denied a place.

Meanwhile, Labour members have been banned from arranging or attending training sessions run by JVL.

Supporters of justice for Palestinians will be unlikely to consider that the ‘independence’ of the advisory board and the new disciplinary process it is meant to oversee will offer them any meaningful balance, or protection against politically-driven accusations.


The SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless

Comments (10)

  • Dave says:

    Indeed posted without comment. I do have a problem with this and the ‘Israeli spy’ story as we have no corroboration for either, officially from the party or in other media. While we may have feelings that they are true we should be cautious about relying on single sources.

  • DJ says:

    This sham is the inevitable outcome of outsourcing antisemitism disciplinary procedures to the Israeli lobby in the UK! The Labour Party seems to be hell bent on eliminating critics of Israel from the party. If you support Palestinian justice you are not welcome.

  • Doug says:

    Make the point to Labour that those who made Vexatious claims of anti semitism to the EHRC against members and the party are not fit to join the board

  • Linda says:

    The “Guardian” today has an article in which Starmer is warned by his advisors that only 4% Tory voters are now turning to Labour, though – wonderful news! – much of the LibDem vote has signed up. Accordingly, Labour shouldn’t hope to make much progress in the May local elections (if they’re held).

    It’s pretty weird, isn’t it , that Labour should be so focused on attracting voters who usually vote for more right-wing political parties???

    We already know there are huge numbers of people in the electorate who haven’t seen any reason to vote for any of the parties. Many of them were the people enthused by Corbynite policies even if not by Corbyn. Surely it’s worth going after their votes and continuing with the policies they favoured?

    Yes, it takes effort and sustained local commitment from party members (people like themselves) to reach these disenchanted voters. Yes, that’s why Labour needs to be a mass membership party – and NOT a party run by rich donors. And no, disrespecting your members and restricting their involvement in choosing party policies really ISN’T an election-winning formula.

  • John Bowley says:

    The New Labour Party is narrowly concerned only about one form of racism, to the overwhelming disadvantage of far more who really are oppressed.

  • John C says:

    2 of these nominees are particular heroes of mine, when it comes to understanding antisemitism, the deep-seated crises of inequality, human rights and radical exclusion. They are all fine candidates. They are “unacceptable”? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will reject the rejectors?

  • John Thatcher says:

    This should disabuse the “Soft Left” of any lingering notions of Starmer and his gang being in any way of the Left and in any way committed to truth and democracy, coming as it does after the recruitment of an Israeli government spy as the witch finder to Starmer’s team.

  • Margaret West says:

    I am infuriated by this – how can the Labour Party possibly advertise itself as diverse? Also, as indicated by other respondents it shows an unbelievable political ineptness.

    On the one hand we have a UK Labour Party relentlessly moving to the right and on the other we have a new US Government appointing Bernie Sanders. Now given that in the US the Republican opposition is more right wing than any I remember the appointment of a self described socialist surprised and pleased me immensely.

    Well done Joe Biden for your far-sightedness and badly done Keir Starmer for your myopia !

  • Margaret West says:

    I have just read the “comment” from LFI published on Labour list by Michael Rubin concerning views allegedly held by Biden and Harris.
    https://labourlist.org/2021/01/labour-friends-of-israel-how-the-british-left-can-learn-from-biden-and-harris/

    Not sure what to make of this – and if these are really the views of Biden and Harris?

  • steve mitchell says:

    I have cancelled my Labour Party membership. I joined the Young Socialists in 1956 so I cannot be described as an entryist. All my life I believed the Labour Party was the only institution that could bring real change and make the lives of its citizens better. I was born when bombs were raining down on our cities and the RAF was engaged in a life or death battle with Goering’s bombers. The first half of my life was a period when the lives of industrial working class people like me improved in a way we could not have dreamed. All this thanks to the Attlee Government. The second half of my life has been a period of regression. Everywhere you look there is crisis. It was there before Covid after 40 years of Hayekian economics. Who would have believed in the 1960s that citizens would be starving if they could not gain access to food from charities. Todays Britain is nothing like it was in the decades after 1945. Through thick and thin I continued to believe Labour would come to the aid of my country. Not any longer. Corbyns ideas gave us hope for a return to the golden era. There is no hope under the present leadership. Starmer has left the battlefield already. Progressive policies are discarded. He has even failed to oppose giving military the right to torture and murder with impunity. No respectable political party could countenance having an outside body handling complaints .or having a veto over appointments. The decision I have taken to leave was very difficult. It is like a bereavement in some ways. I saw Richard Murphy give his verdict on Labour in a TV interview recently. His opinion _ “Labour is dead.”

Comments are now closed.