Questions for the Jewish Labour Movement

There is much that is puzzling about the role of the so-called Jewish Labour Movement, an organisation affiliated to the Labour Party. It presents itself as the voice of all Jews in the Labour Party. It does not speak for us.

Some sharp questions about its politics and ambiguous role, drawn up by members of the Labour Party in London, are posed below.


Dear friends,

We hope you will endorse the ‘Questions for the Jewish Labour Movement’ (JLM) which we will soon be posting about its position on the leadership of the Labour Party.

The JLM, an affiliate of the Labour Party, said publicly on 7 April that in an election they will not support Jeremy Corbyn or any Labour candidate who accepts his leadership.  We think people have a right to know this, as the implications are wide.  

We hope that you will endorse these questions and circulate them widely.  Please say if you are signing as an individual or for an organisation.

You can contact us on [email protected] or Facebook

Warmest regards,

Sara Callaway, Pete Firmin, Owen Holland, Selma James, Michael Kalmanovitz, Nina Lopez, Sam Weinstein, Aurora Yaacov

Initial signatories

Dr. Haim Bresheeth
Dr. Ghada Karmi
Emeritus professor Moshe Machover
Ian Macdonald QC
Leon Rosselson
Alexei Sayle
Avi Shlaim, FBA
Asa Winstanley

The JLM’s AGM on 7 April 2019 passed resolutions denouncing the leadership of the Labour Party and the Labour Party itself. This is extraordinary coming from an organisation affiliated to the Labour Party. We therefore have some questions to ask the JLM and their supporters.

The JLM passed resolutions that said:

the Labour Party is institutionally antisemitic;
the leadership of the Labour Party have demonstrated that they are antisemitic; 
andJeremy Corbyn is therefore unfit to be prime minister and a Labour government led by him would not be in the interest of British Jews.
…[we] withhold endorsement, support or campaign time from any candidate who is not an ally in the fight against antisemitism in the Labour Party…

Q: In the Peterborough by-election in May, the JLM decided not to campaign for Labour parliamentary candidate Lisa Forbes, and after she won you called for her to have thewhip suspended immediately. Does that mean that you were so opposed to her election that you did not care who was elected instead? Undermining the Labour candidate enhanced the chances of the Brexit party, led by an extreme right-winger who has connections with the antisemitic racist right in Europe.  Would you have preferred the Brexit candidate to be elected?

Q: Is the JLM in favour of the Labour Party manifesto which Corbyn’s leadership has produced, against austerity, for re-nationalisation and an ethical foreign policy?

Q: When there is a general election, what other party would the JLM encourage Jewish people to vote for, or would you propose that Jewish people abstain from voting? Would the JLM tell people not to vote Labour, allowing the possibility of a racist, anti-immigrant, homophobic, pro-austerity, extremist right wing Tory prime minister?

There is an increasing threat of war against Iran by the US, backed by Israel and Saudi Arabia. A Corbyn government would ensure that Britain uses its power to deflate such a horrendous possibility and would not back such a war.

Q: Would the JLM support the Corbyn-led anti-war Party or support this highly dangerous promotion of war?

The Al Jazeera documentary, The Lobby, revealed that leading members of the JLM was working with Israeli agent Shai Masot based at the Israeli embassy, who was plotting to “take down” Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan and discredit the then chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Crispin Blunt for disagreeing with Israel’s policies towards Palestinians.

The then chair of the JLM, Jeremy Newmark, was filmed at the 2016 Labour Party conference in a meeting with Masot and Israel’s ambassador to the UK Mark Regev discussing how to undermine Party members’ support for Palestine.

In undercover footage, Ella Rose, then director of JLM, now Equalities Officer, defended the JLM’s relationship with Masot saying she knew him “very well” and that she had worked with him when she was a public affairs officer at the Israeli embassy.  She admitted that the JLM brought an Israeli delegation to the conference on behalf of the embassy.

Q: In the light of this we have to ask what is the relationship between the JLM and the Israeli embassy in London?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry called for an investigation into the apparent Israeli interference exposed by Al Jazeera.

Q: Does the JLM support such an investigation?

The JLM website states:

In addition to the UK Labour Party, the Jewish Labour Movement is also affiliated to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Zionist Federation of the UK, and organise within the World Zionist Organisation alongside our sister party in Israel, Havodah – the Israeli Labor Party . . .

According to the UN, the World Zionist Organisation was allocated $35 million by Israel to fund and organise Israeli settlements on Occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law. The Zionist Federation of the UK demonstrated in support of the 2014 bombing of Gaza where over 2,000 Palestinian civilians were killed, including 500 children. The Board of Deputies of British Jews attempted to justify the widely condemned intentional killing of unarmed Palestinians by the Israeli military during the Great March of Return.  So far this has resulted in 277 killed, including 52 children, media, medical personnel and disabled people, and 28,000 wounded and deliberately disabled.

Q: We see no references to these tragedies on the JLM website: how do you explain being affiliated to these organisations which defend illegal incursions into Palestinian land and life, and the organised murder and maiming of unarmed civilians?

Isaac Herzog, while leader of the JLM’s ‘sister party’ the Israeli Labor Party (ILP) stated his apartheid view to: “separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as quickly as possible . . . We want to . . . complete the barrier that separates us.” Last year he stated that intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews is a “plague”. ILP leader Gabbay has said: “the Arabs have to be afraid of us” and “We will not share a government with the [Arab majority party] Joint List, period.”, and joined the racists in trying to legislate for 35,000 African asylum seekers to be either deported or indefinitely incarcerated.

Q: Has the JLM challenged these views?

The JLM’s no-confidence resolution in Jeremy Corbyn also says:

Solidarity for those less fortunate than us or who suffered discrimination or injustice are both Jewish and Labour values.

Q: Yet the JLM seems to focus only on antisemitism in the Labour Party and has little to say about antisemitism by other political parties, even by the far right.  Other forms of racism, including Islamophobia, and discrimination and injustice, such as the hostile immigration environment are rarely mentioned. Can you say why this is so?

The JLM AGM also attacked other Labour organisations, including a Jewish organisation:

CLPD [Campaign for Labour Party Democracy], LRC [Labour Representation Committee] and JVL [Jewish Voice for Labour] are a malign influence in the Labour Party.

One of the JLM’s ‘values is: To promote the centrality of Israel in Jewish life . . .

Q: The JLM often refer to ‘the Jewish community’ as if Jewish people are of one mind and whose political views you represent; at the same time you attack a Jewish organisation.  How can you justify this?

Since you consider the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn institutionally antisemitic and therefore claim he is ‘unfit’ to govern, are we right to assume that you stay in the Labour Party to prevent it becoming the government?


Comments (12)

  • Simon Dewsbury says:

    Excellent skewering of JLM’s highly disreputable and increasingly untenable position. Well done.

  • Glyn Secker says:

    It will be of no surprise if there is a deafeningly silent response.

  • S H says:

    The JLM Jokers are anti Jeremy Corbyn, anti Labour and anti Jewish. They are pro brutal oppressors, pro purge of socialists and pro witch hunters who don’t want a Labour Government. Appalling little group who are hiding in the shadows launching attacks against us all.

  • Jessica Leschnikoff says:

    It really saddens me that things have come to this: there are good people in JLM, some of whom I am very fond of.

    But I cannot support JLM as part of the Labour Party because the account of the associations and attitudes expressed by them above conflict entirely with socialism: Labour is a socialist Party.

    I agree with many people that Labour needs to get its own house in order: there is much the Party could do better. Why can we all not take a long breath and stop this madness?

  • Sphragydonuxu says:

    An excellent set of questions apart from the last one. “assume that you stay in the Labour Party to prevent it becoming the government?” is unnecessarily provocative and affords them a pretext for outrage.

    I don’t expect you will get a reply but keep on asking them. The JLM needs to provide us with a convincing reason for it’s existence other than to attack Jeremy Corbyn.

  • Mike Cohen says:

    The monstrous lie that the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn is institutionally antisemitic is now so well entrenched that mere facts seem powerless against it. We live in dark times.

  • John says:

    In fairness, it is my understanding that the anti-Labour campaign had already begun even before Corbyn became Leader of the Labour Party.
    Is it not the case that JLM and their zionist bosses in Israel had already started turning against Labour when Miliband was Leader for the similar reason that Miliband was expressing a degree of sympathy towards the Palestinians living under the yoke of zionist oppression?

  • John Baruch says:

    That is wonderful and really helpful it seemed to me that the campaign was totally organised by the Israeli embassy and the racist clique that rule Israel.

  • christina evans says:

    It is crazy that the JLM are even in the labour party. I am a labour member and I vote for Labour. Not for the leader but for the party. JLM seem to have difficulties as to what exactly the want to vote for. JEREMY Corbyn is not the labour party he is the leader but he can not be a maverick. He abides by labour party rules. I have always voted Labour no matter who the leader was. It is not right that the man is bigger than the party. Having said that JLM have no place in the labour party and should go and join another party.

  • Nicola Mann says:

    It’s shameful that we can’t be critical of Israel without being accused of being an antisemite.

  • Nathan Mann says:

    Jeremy Corbyn has spent his entire life fighting all forms of injustice and racism and is being slurred in an attempt to keep him from No 10.

  • Sandra Mann says:

    Thank you for these questions, they are exactly what’s needed.

Comments are now closed.