Jewish Voice for Labour statement

Glynn Secker, speaking at the Palestine demo

Jewish Voice for Labour statement

There are reports in circulation accusing JVL’s national secretary Glyn Secker of making antisemitic comments during a speech to a Palestine solidarity demonstration on Saturday May 11.

Secker, a veteran Jewish trade unionist and antiracist activist, challenged community leaders for tolerating the far-right connections of some extreme Zionists. For this, he has been publicly abused in distorted reports on social media and in some mainstream publications.

Secker told the national rally for Palestine in central London that “leaders turn a blind eye to the extreme right, even when their own Zionist Federation embraces the English Defence League, a neo-fascist group banned by Facebook. What on earth are Jews doing in the gutter with these rats?”

This was twisted in tweets from a Jewish Chronicle reporter accusing Secker of telling the rally “Jews are in the gutter.” This has been widely retweeted despite being contradicted by a video recording that is publicly available.

Luciana Berger, an anti-Corbyn MP who recently defected from the Labour Party, embellished the distortion with her retweet alleging “Antisemitism on the streets of London in 2019.”

Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz took up the condemnations of Secker. Ha’aretz republished a fabrication by the “Campaign Against Antisemitism” alleging he had “accused ‘American rabbis’ of fueling the neo-Nazis behind antisemitic terrorism, including the fatal terrorist attack on Poway synagogue.” In fact, the video of Secker’s talk, as embedded in the same CAA post, shows he had done quite the opposite. Far from blaming rabbis for fuelling the neo-Nazis, he quoted a rabbi, Steve Engel, who criticised Republican politicians for making false allegations of antisemitism against Democrats, hence “unleashing the extreme right to win key votes in marginal states.”

These attempts to attach an antisemitism label to a leading member of Jewish Voice for Labour – the latest in a growing catalogue of such attempts – were analysed by journalist Jamie Stern-Weiner who has published an accurate transcript of the relevant section of Secker’s speech.

Read Stern-Weiner’s report here.

Some relevant photos


Comments (3)

  • Ang says:

    Yes lots of false reporting, and there is an argument whether or not he verbalised the word “these” saying “these Jews”. I heard the word “these”, I didn’t at first but if You listen carefully You can. You don’t write it here in your transcript though. Either way it actually makes no difference when listening to the full thing. He’s obviously not saying all Jews “are in the gutter” with “these rats” EDL etc. , he’s just asking how any Jew can align with/support/be part of racist far-right EDL types. I honestly don’t know how it’s antisemitic and I am not one of You guys, I’m increasingly disliking the left & far left, and don’t support all this relentless anti-israel and relentless pro-Palestinian stuff. But yes I am failing to see how that was antisemitic. I’m finding this very bizarre. And is this guy Jewish too? No-one mentions it.

    Also what Ha’aretz has written is so very wrong. Sickeningly wrong, and he should file a lawsuit.

    File a lawsuit against all of the libellous/slanderous claims.

    I feel bad for this man.

  • Councillor Tosh McDonald says:

    Solidarity with Glyn Secker and the JVL. Fantastic Socialists. Always supporting the oppressed, never siding with the oppressors. ✊️

  • Dr Brian Robinson says:

    I’ve been wondering recently on how much a part subconscious or repressed Zionist guilt may be playing in accusations of ‘antisemitism’ leveled at critics of Israel, the Labour Party in general and at individual politicians supportive of the Palestinian case for justice.

    You do come across, although not that often, muted expressions of regret at Israeli actions, but couched in such ways as to suggest that something stronger exists but has been heavily censored.

    Even if people don’t always behave ethically, humans are essentially moral animals and it’s extremely rare for them to idealise their bad bits, much more common to hide, suppress and — here’s the point — project them safely away onto others.

    If someone supports, endorses, excuses, minimises or denies Israeli abuses and crimes, where’s the appropriate, decent, normal human guilt? Not felt or only minimally so, it’s hurled onto others. And the collective joins in the endeavour and everyone feels better in their group-healing outrage.

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