Push against anti-semitism ‘purging Jews from Labour’

Demonstration outside the BBC, 8 December 2018. Photo: Jeff Duckett

JVL Introduction

David Rosenberg, cited by the Morning Star in the article below, captures the essentials of our complaint to the EHRC and the Forde Enquiry.

He says simply: “This submission by JVL is a truly shocking indictment of the way that Jews on the left wing of the party have been severely mistreated under a new management which said its first priority was to listen to the Jewish community and rebuild trust with it.”

This article was originally published by the Morning Star on Fri 6 Aug 2021. Read the original here.

Push against anti-semitism ‘purging Jews from Labour’

JVL reports shocking clampdown on left-wing Jewish members

JEWISH Labour members on the party’s left are being disproportionately targeted by investigations into anti-semitism, a shocking new report has claimed.

Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) published its study today, having submitted it to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) for investigation.

The dossier – also sent to the Institute of Race Relations, the Runnymede Trust and the Forde Inqury into Labour’s handling of anti-semitism complaints – catalogues what it says is a clampdown on Jews who disagree politically with the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Labour Movement.

JVL warned that the Labour leadership has limited its engagement “to groups who claim to represent ‘the Jewish community’ but who in fact represent only one position within it.” It said that disregarding wider perspectives in this way has led to the “administrative persecution” of hundreds of its members, which it branded a form of discrimination.

It urged the EHRC to investigate “the climate of hostility being built up and directed against us,” adding that “no action has been taken against those who have repeatedly disputed, maligned or mocked the Jewishness of JVL” within the Labour Party.

JVL co-chair Jenny Manson said the group believes there is now a pattern of left-wing Jews being targeted as a result of the party’s actions, and that there has been an attempt to purge those with dissenting views.

The group found that actioned anti-semitism complaints have involved a maximum of 0.29 per cent of Labour members, with at least 35 investigations of Jewish Labour members.

Its report claims that about 1.4 per cent of Jewish members have been the subject of an actioned complaint of anti-semitism, rising to 6 per cent among JVL members.

Nine of JVL’s 17 officers and committee members have been investigated, with three currently suspended, meaning that 53 per cent have faced actioned complaints of anti-semitism.

Ms Manson said: “We are suffering just the kind of anti-semitism that people pretended was going on in complaints to the EHRC. Our feeling that a lot of that was made up is why we are disliked, and they are trying to get rid of us.

“There has been anti-semitism in the Labour Party, always has been, on a much lower level, but I never experienced it until the past few years.

“Anti-semitism, harassment — just the kind of mix of discrimination and persecution the EHRC were supposed to have been investigated some time ago.

“Now I think they should investigate this. I fear they won’t, because the Establishment is closing its eyes to what is happening to Jews like us.”

Shortly after the report was sent to the EHRC, Ms Manson was served with a notice of investigation by the Labour Party herself, relating to an appearance on BBC Newsnight last year.

The study contains the experiences of other JVL members, such as Stephen Marks of Labour’s national constitutional committee, who has now been suspended for alleged anti-semitism.

Socialist historian David Rosenberg, a Jewish Labour Party member and constituency officer, said that the targeting of JVL members was outrageous and sickening.

“This submission by JVL is a truly shocking indictment of the way that Jews on the left wing of the party have been severely mistreated under a new management which said its first priority was to listen to the Jewish community and rebuild trust with it,” he said.

“That work surely begins at home — listening first to the diverse opinions of Jewish Labour Party members.

“But the leadership has chosen to listen instead to a narrow section of right-wing Jewish voices in and outside the party. It has not only ignored the opinions of Jews on the left but has actively persecuted them.

“Reading the testimonies in the submission has been painful. Several concern people I already knew and respected for many years long before JVL even existed. I know them as people steeped in knowledge of and involvement in Jewish history and culture who are also dedicated anti-racists. To see any of them accused as Jews of anti-semitism is as outrageous as it is sickening.”

Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell called on Labour to consider the report’s findings, and praised the work of JVL.

The report includes notes from the MP regarding the membership of Labour’s advisory board on anti-semitism and on calls for JVL to be consulted on the party’s complaints process.

“From its inception, JVL has made a valuable contribution to the Labour Party’s appreciation of the diversity of thought and experience amongst the Jewish community,” Mr McDonnell told the Morning Star.

“This latest report deserves a thorough consideration by the bodies to which it has been submitted, and a full assessment and appreciation by the Labour Party in order to achieve a better and fuller understanding of the range of views and feelings of Jewish people in our country.”

The Labour Party was approached for comment.

The EHRC confirmed that it had received the report, but did not comment further.

Comments (10)

  • Abe Hayeem says:

    It is very clear that this targeting of JVL members is allegedly the direct instigation of the Jewish Labour Movement, and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, to whom the Labour Party has bound itself with its 10 pledges, which mainly target the section of left and anti-Zionist Jews who are considered beyond the pale by these two Zionist affiliated bodies. They hold right of sway in both adjudicating complaints, usually made en masse by members of the JLM and outside bodies like the Campaign Against Antisemitism, and Lawyers for Israel, and also now being able to vetoe any candidate for the future General Election, by being the body required to ‘train’ them, using of course, the now widely derided and not fit for purpose IHRA definition of antisemitism, not least by its author Kenneth Stern and many prominent QCs and highly regarded Jewish academics. The same body, the Jewish Labour Movement, acted most prominently in smearing the twice democratically elected leader Jeremy Corbyn in numerous key moments in the local and general elections, and actively worked to block his election as Prime Minister, and the aims “to take him down” also revealed graphically in the Al Jazeera films on the Israel Lobby, and also in articles in the Electronic Intifada. Now Starmer’s Labour Party has effectively joined forces with the acting General Secretary David Evans to gag CLPs and suspend anyone supporting Jeremy Corbyn in protest against his hounding and the withdrawal of the whip, and suspends anyone who challenges him or Starmer in protest at the witch hunts and the blatantly antisemitic rout of the socialist and anti-Zionist left. This should be investigated and exposed. The banning of JVL in offering training on antisemitism, while leaving it exclusively to the Zionist bodies now entrenched in the Party, whose leaders and shadow cabinet have proclaimed their loyalty to Zionism, bodes ill for democracy and free speech in the Labour Party. It denies Palestinian voices, protects Israel’s brutal settler colonialism in full extreme operation throughout the OPTs and within Israel, which together with its attempts to expunge the legacy of Jeremy Corbyn and his excellent manifesto which nearly won the 2017 election had it not been for the deliberate undermining by members of the NEC and PLP, turns the Labour Party into an empty Blairite husk that is doomed to fragment the Party and risk any comeback for any future general election. It is also an insult to the hundreds of thousands of members who joined the Labour Party precisely for the hope of a really democratic socialist movement that would respond to the really critical needs of this country and the planet. Now it seems the high echelons of the Party would rather dispense with all those members in favour of a return to hard Blairism, which will be perpetually stained with its allegiance to Neo liberalism, and the horrendous wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Of course this is shocking but the whole ‘antisemitism’ affair was never about anti-Semitism or Jews for that matter. It was ALWAYS about Israel and Zionism hence it is quite logical to persecute Jews who are not Zionists. because we’re the living proof that Zionism and being Jewish are not synonymous.

    However it is important to understand that this whole campaign, which began in 2015 with Corbyn’s election was NEVER about anti-Semitism. That is why claims that it’s only 0.4% or whatever of Labour’s membership who have been disciplined entirely miss the point. It was not only irrelevant to say that disciplinary action only affected x% but it was damaging because it conceded the case that SOME people were targeted because of antisemitism.

    Or to put it another way. When Labour was a pro-Zionist party no one gave a fig about anti-Semitism. Why should Zionism be concerned about anti-Semitism. Historically anti-Semitism was the preserve of the Labour Right and Poale Zion (JLM) had NO OBJECTION to this.

    The following statement by Ramsay MacDonald after a visit to Palestine in 1922 contrasted ‘good’ Zionist pioneers with

    ‘the rich plutocratic Jew, who is the true economic materialist. He is the person whose views upon life make one anti-Semitic. He has no country, no kindred… he is an exploiter of everything he can squeeze. He is behind every evil that Governments do… He detests Zionism because it revives the idealism of his race.’

    I first found this quote in an article by David Cesarani in the Journal of Israeli History where he is described as a ‘progressive left-wing intellectual’. In fact he was no such thing by this time. What I didn’t realise until very recently that it was in fact published in a pamphlet by Poale Zion in 1922!

  • Allan Howard says:

    About two weeks ago Craig Murray posted this excellent comment on his twitter page:

    ‘Hard to process the fact that just believing somebody else has been unjustly accused of anti-semitism, will get you immediately removed from membership of Starmer’s Labour Party.’

    Yep, but the problem is you see that if the JLM and the CAA and BoD et al have decided that what someone said is anti-semitic, then it IS. And if you disagree with them and have a different opinion….. well, either you’re in denial and, as such, part of the problem, or you are defending the indefensible and, as such, you must be an anti-semite. And if you are of the opinion that it’s all concocted and confected to demonise Jeremy and the left membership (as of when he was leader) so as to sabotage his chances of winning a general election, then you’re a Jew-baiting Jew-hating conspiracy theorist.

    And if you’re Jewish and you disagree with them, then you must be a self-hating Jew!

    Yes, they’ve got it all sewn up, and as we know of course, there are no depths to which they will not sink.

    NB Funny though, isn’t it, how when Tory MP Alan Duncan was targeted regarding his comments about the Israeli state, he was vigorously defended by the Tory Establishment. And the MSM had no problem with drawing attention to the protagonists:

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4098082/Astonishing-undercover-video-captures-diplomat-conspiring-rival-MP-s-aide-smear-Deputy-Foreign-Secretary.html

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2561063/israel-plot-to-take-down-boris-johnsons-deputy-sir-alan-duncan-in-shocking-undercover-footage-that-brands-foreign-secretary-an-idiot/

  • John Bowley says:

    Thank you very much, Jewish Voice for Labour, for working so tirelessly and effectively against this oppression from vested right-wing and Israel factions.

  • vaughan Melzer says:

    We all know that anti-semitism is not the real complaint. The purge is against real socialists and internationalists who dare to speak out against the cruelty and indifference to the Palestinians, the poor, and working classes of Britain.
    Perhaps those who should be ejected from the Labour Party are those that give the Tories permission for Tory policies. These are the true betrayers of the Labour Party. Or perhaps the LP is not really what says it is?

    I’ve only recently discovered the JVL articles. They are breath of fresh air – describing and analysing complicated situations brilliantly (eg Peter Beinart). This is why jews on the Left are disliked by the compromisers and betrayers.

  • Allan Howard says:

    PS And honest and trustworthy of course!

  • Allan Howard says:

    Here’s a couple of clips from the the wikipedia entry entitled ‘Antisemitism in the UK Conservative Party’, which covers the past 150 years or so:

    n 1971, when Edward Heath was Prime Minister and the Foreign Office was headed by Alec Douglas-Home, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office launched a secret investigation to ‘evaluate Zionist influence in the US and Europe’.[101] The findings ‘echoed anti-Semitic notions of Jewish financial power, dual loyalty and undue political influence’.[101] The report was concerned with power and influence of ‘Jewish money’ and the ‘Jewish lobby’ and ‘appeared to treat the people and organizations involved in British Zionism not as British citizens exercising their democratic rights, but as agents of foreign pressure on the government’, ‘reflected a belief that Diaspora Jewish interests were separate from, and even inimical to, those of the countries in which they lived’.

    There were a number of Jews in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet, all of whom experienced antisemitism from their colleagues. The antisemitism may have been involved in the resignation of two Jewish cabinet members.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_UK_Conservative_Party

    NB Would be interesting to know how the author of the entry got to hear about the ‘secret investigation’. I don’t suppose anyone knows, do they?. Tony?

    ………now where’s that quote by John Bercow about Jeremy which was something along the lines of ‘ I’ve known him for the 22 years I’ve been in parliament….. and I’ve never detected so much as a whiff of anti-Semitism’.

    The MSM must have missed the interview though, because surely that’s the only explanation/reason why they didn’t cover it.

  • Bernard Grant says:

    I found the Article and the Replies very interesting. I cannot add anything that hasn’t been said or covered.
    Thank you for the article and to the in depth comments, hopefully one day the World will join together to stop Israel and get some of its leaders in a Court of Law.

  • DJ says:

    We have been betrayed by some people on the left of the party who actually believe that it has a”severe”antisemitism problem. Some of them subscribe to the “new antisemitism” narrative which underpins the IHRA definition of antisemitism. This equates”hostility”towards Israel and Zionism with antisemitism. It’s also a sad state of affairs when it is reported that Jon Lansman no longer considers JVL to be part of the “Jewish community”.

  • DJ says:

    Why has JVL been institutionally marginalised by the Labour Party? Why have so many of its prominent members been and continue to be subjected to complaints of antisemitism. This doesn’t make sense does it? We all know it’s all about Israeli and the bogus IHRA definition designed to shield it from criticism. It’s time for the left including Momentum and the Campaign Group to stand up and be counted. We need you to come out and clearly say there is nothing antisemitic about opposing Israeli settler colonialism in favour of palestinian liberation.

Comments are now closed.