Further correspondence with the EHRC

From: Jewish Voice for Labour <[email protected]>
Sent: 07 January 2022 17:50
To: Correspondence EHRC <[email protected]>
Cc: [email protected]
Subject: Update on JVL submission


We understand you will be making a joint response to Bindmans’s letter of 10th November concerning Diana Neslen and to JVL’s submission of 2nd December.  Bindmans have updated you on having received a response from the Labour Party on 23 December to which a reply will be sent shortly.

It seems that the new disciplinary process commences on January 20th. In the light of this, JVL considers it important that you are notified this week on the latest developments.   There seems to be an increasingly dogmatic misunderstanding of antisemitism by a Party which includes in its guidance, both the IHRA definition and the NEC code of conduct and Appendix 9 of the Rule Book.   In this the Party appears to be overly influenced by certain partisan views rather than taking into account the diverse experience and deep knowledge of antisemitism among Jews.

As we have previously demonstrated, Jews are disproportionally targeted;  the total number who have been sanctioned according to our records is now 43 and in addition there have been 55 investigations of Jews with alleged antisemitism at the core,  more investigations than individuals because as you will remember several of us have been investigated serially – e.g. Diana Neslen, three times. These 55 are only the cases that Party members have brought to our attention, there may well be others.

There is a newer concern that well known JVL figures are particularly harshly treated by the NEC Panels that determine the Party’s disciplinary actions.

Noticeable elements are the eight ‘auto exclusions’ of Jews arising mainly from retrospective application of the proscription of  organisations with significant Jewish participation such as Labour against the Witchhunt.  The term ‘support’ is being applied extraordinarily widely to include, for instance, merely expressing concern about the proscriptions. The intent appears clear – to eliminate anti Zionist and other legitimate points of view challenging influences from the Party.

In the redacted Annex, we attach the full case history of a Jewish member who has received an eighteen-month suspension from the Party.  [Currently this Annex is not for publication or wider circulation in any form – JVL web.] This penalty seems to rest solely on Appendix 9 of the rule book which includes the following text, which has been used by the Party to brand as antisemitic any questioning of its handling of allegations of antisemitism, even the correction of the facts or any explanation of Jewish identity which questions the Party’s assumptions.

Any behaviour or use of language which targets or intimidates members of ethnic or religious communities, or incites racism, including antisemitism and Islamophobia,or undermines Labour’s ability to campaign against any form of racism, is unacceptable conduct within the Labour Party.

The first investigation was concluded with the Claimant having no knowledge of a right to defence under the NEC Code of Conduct; a request in 2021 to reopen that investigation was ignored.

This harsh sentence as a conclusion to the second investigation includes a component that effectively will exclude the claimant from the Labour Party; a new rule that requires re-training on antisemitism.

This training is given by the Jewish Labour Movement.  JVL, some of whose members have attended the voluntary open sessions out of interest, has critiqued this training as lacking in depth (it is not ‘education’) and privileging a Zionist viewpoint. See the following:

The view of antisemitism promoted in these sessions is reductive in the extreme; to impose it on Jews who hold a different view of the world based on their own life experiences (in this case of more than eight decades) is surely concerned with humiliation rather than education.

Yours faithfully

Jewish Voice for Labour

[A typo was corrected in this online verion on 7th January at 21.00. It was further amended on 27 February 2022 to remove an extraneous LA4J appeal for funds which had crept into the letter. ]

Comments (12)

  • Jack T says:

    In order placate Zionists, the Labour Party has got itself into a terrible mess. “Any behaviour or use of language which targets or intimidates members of ethnic or religious communities, or incites racism bla bla bla”

    We know for sure that many Labour Party members have been suspended and/or expelled for criticising Zionism, it’s what true Socialists do! How can criticism of racism i.e. Zionism, incite racism? What it does do however is cause a fevered backlash from Zionists for daring to focus the spotlight on the racist actions of the Zionist Israeli government.

    Zionists are experts at playing the victim and making it look as though the Palestinians, who are the real victims, are the aggressors. There is a mental blockage in the minds of Zionists which prevents them from seeing their own racism and acknowledging that the Palestinians have a legal right to oppose the Zionist occupation of their land and homes which have been Palestinian for more than four thousand years. When in comparison, the Zionist colonisers only arrived ‘last week’ with only one thought in mind, expel all Palestinians by any means possible.

  • Jaye says:

    Jack T – your comment is over the top in its inaccuracies by any standard. A small history lesson: Jews, originally all 12 tribes of Israel, established the kingdom of Israel, later Israel and Judea, and this period of many centuries ended with the Roman conquest and their later destruction of the second (Jewish) Temple in Jerusalem. Palestinian ancestry, or more correctly Arab settlement in the Holy Land, dates back some centuries at most. These are facts whereas your other views are arguable.

  • Stephen Richards says:

    Any faith in the independence of the EHRC is misplaced at best. Its composition needs to be questioned; who are they?

  • Eddie Dougall says:

    Jaye — Regarding ‘ownership’ of Palestine, and the situation Palestinians are in and have been in for decades, you may be interested in the following excerpt from BBC’s R4 “Thought for the Day” by Bishop James Jones (18/12/2020) paying tribute to the late Lord Sacks.
    “Some years ago I spent time listening to young people’s dreams and dreads about the future. It made me re-think my own attitude to the environment. What did Jesus have to say about the earth? What were the Jewish and Muslim ethics of Creation?

    I went to see the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. When I ventured that Jews might begin with Genesis he stopped me.

    ‘No, James. That’s a very Christian way of reading the Bible on this subject!’

    ‘No’, he repeated, ‘we start in Deuteronomy with God’s instruction to Moses that as they entered the Promised Land they were never to destroy a fruit bearing tree.’ Long before anyone knew the science of climate change there was a religious intuition that trees were central to our ecology.”
    On hearing this, I could not help thinking:
    Had “God’s instruction to Moses” stood the test of time, any eventual Israeli occupation would have followed a very different course. Today, not only thousands of “fruit bearing trees”, along with the olive and fruit bearing tree farmers, their homes, Palestine infrastructure and freedom would not have been destroyed or continue to be destroyed.

  • John Bowley says:

    Thank you, JVL friends, for patiently keeping pressure on the establishments within the EHRC and the Labour Party. The EHRC is observably very biased and far from independent. The Labour Party is far from democratic socialism. Thank you, again, JVL, for your good work for the benefit of everyone.

  • James Dickins says:

    Jaye: “Jews, originally all 12 tribes of Israel, established the kingdom of Israel, later Israel and Judea, and this period of many centuries ended with the Roman conquest and their later destruction of the second (Jewish) Temple in Jerusalem. Palestinian ancestry, or more correctly Arab settlement in the Holy Land, dates back some centuries at most. These are facts”

    The facts are that the Palestinians are largely the direct descendants of ancient people(s) of Israel/Palestine: https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium.HIGHLIGHT.MAGAZINE-the-enigmatic-genetic-footprint-of-palestine-1.9562122
    What happened is that Jews and others in the area largely became Christians, and then Christians largely became Muslims. Alongside this, Aramaic replaced Hebrew (and other Canaanite languages), and then Arabic replaced Aramaic. There is little Arabian Peninsula (i.e. original Arab) genetic admixture among Palestinians (except Bedouins).
    ‘Race migration’ is largely a myth, and normally reflects catastrophic events like the European extermination of the native North Americans, and their ‘replacement’ by European settlers. The norm is language/culture migration, with very few – though politically dominant – incomers.

  • John Noble says:

    How long can this continue? I am seriously thinking of using my feet to make a difference.

  • Margaret West says:

    Jack T – you allege
    “Palestinian ancestry, or more correctly Arab settlement in the Holy Land, dates back some centuries at most.”

    Now even if this were true – and I leave it to others to argue the issue ..

    What does this mean for rights of the majority of the inhabitants of the United States? How long has the country they inhabit been occupied – for some states less than two centuries***

    ***which is in contrast to the indigenous people who were displaced.

  • Jack T says:

    Jaye. Thank you for your comment. Kindly note that my comment was about ZIONISTS not Jews. Could I suggest that you acquaint yourself with a more rounded account of the history of Palestine and read ‘Palestine, A Four Thousand Year History’ by Nur Masalha. I’m sure you would enjoy it, despite it dispelling many Zionist myths.

  • Jack T says:

    Margaret West, you’ve mistakenly addressed your comment to me rather than Jaye who made that statement.

  • Margaret West says:

    Jack T – I appear to have mis-quoted you.

    Many many apologies – I somehow got
    confused – a frequent occurrence with me
    these days!

  • Kuhnberg says:

    What chance is there of JVL getting the EHRC to offer even the mildest criticism of the prevailing orthodoxy on this subject, as represented by the views of Keir Starmer? We know how abominably they treated the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn when they issued their biassed report and misrepresented its findings as being damning. Thanks to the stranglehold exercised by the supporters of Israel over our media and public institutions, including much of the legal profession, it is now virtually impossible to get a fair hearing on the conduct of Israel, even when the evidence is clear and incontestable. Even if they were forced to issue a mild reproof it would be worded to make it seems that JVL were using some trivial technicality to win its case.

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