Jewish Voice for Labour statement

Glynn Secker, speaking at the Palestine demo

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