JLM evidence to EHRC – Gossip, distortion, double standards and presumed guilt

Media Release

Embargoed for release until 12 noon Monday 4 May

  • Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) rebuttals destroy credibility of the vast majority of Jewish Labour Movement’s (JLM) claims
  • Allegations of antisemitism mis-state facts and draw false conclusions
  • Leaked report on Labour’s Governance and Legal Unit undermines JLM allegations
  • Procedural failings unjustifiably attributed to antisemitic bias
  • Calling for due process and natural justice, for accused as well as accusers, is not antisemitic
  • Hiding the names of accusers and the evidence they presented while publishing the names of those they accuse of antisemitism puts the reputations and even the personal safety of those accused on secret evidence at risk.

JVL has produced a detailed analysis of over 150 claims made by the Jewish Labour Movement in their late submission to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission in support of their charge that the Labour Party discriminates against its Jewish members when dealing with allegations of antisemitism. The executive summary of the analysis has been made available to the public

Co-chair of JVL, Jenny Manson said: “We have had the benefit of expert opinion in producing this thorough review of the claims made in the JLM’s closing submissions to the EHRC in December 2019. We find overwhelmingly that it fails to establish its case that Labour ‘is no longer a safe space for Jewish people or for those who stand up against antisemitism’.”

In its “Supplementary Submission to the EHRC in response to the Closing Submissions on Behalf of the Jewish Labour Movement”, JVL presents its conclusions based on JLM’s evidence “insofar as this is possible, given the often sketchy or over-generalised nature of it.” JVL’s investigators were nonetheless able to explore scores of JLM’s complaints in detail, finding totally inaccurate narratives in many cases including high-profile, widely publicised ones.  The oft-repeated story of antisemitic abuse directed at Luciana Berger by pro-Corbyn Labour Party members, and the case of expelled Black activist Marc Wadsworth, are two such examples where the evidence presented by JLM is “just plain wrong”.  Details of the rebuttals of these two claims are in the Notes to Editors below, along with JVL’s refutation of the charge against Jeremy Corbyn concerning a meeting with Holocaust survivor Hayo Meyer. Just one of the many of the claims against Corbyn rebutted in the JVL submission.

The claims relating to staff procedures lack inherent credibility and now, they are further undermined by the explosive revelations in the recently leaked, and widely available, internal Labour Party report on the workings of the Governance and Legal Unit responsible for processing complaints. Many of JLM’s allegations concern party members who accused the GLU of deliberately manipulating disciplinary procedures to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. The leaked document gives ample evidence that this was indeed the case. Furthermore, whereas JLM alleges that Corbyn presided over procedural failings caused by antisemitic bias, we now know that – to the contrary – hostile senior staff deliberately sidelined serious complaints of antisemitism in order to discredit the elected party leader.

Underpinning the JVL submission is an understanding of the flawed definition of antisemitism (the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance non-legally binding working definition, plus 11 examples) deployed by the JLM to justify a substantial proportion of its allegations.

Mike Cushman said: “Time after time the dossier moves from remarks about a specific Jew or group of Jews to claiming this refers to all Jews. An individual Jew may be accused of some sort of undesirable behaviour, just as any individual may be. It is only antisemitic if there is a pattern of selecting individual Jews for this behaviour and overlooking it in the case of non-Jews or if there is a suggestion that the behaviour is in some way reflective of their Jewishness.”

The decision of the JLM to release its document in a partially redacted form gives rise to great concern. The names of those giving evidence are redacted and their identity is not disclosed. In contrast the names of those against whom allegations are made are public. Their reputations, and indeed their safety, are jeopardised and the reader is unable to evaluate whether they have been fairly accused or not; those accused cannot effectively rebut undisclosed evidence and their chance of mounting an effective defence is seriously undermined.

Many of the claims depend upon the false assertion that defending someone accused of antisemitism is the same as denying the existence of antisemitism

Overall the JVL submission demonstrates that the JLM’s evidence depends so heavily on the selective use of prejudiced gossip, distortion, double standards and presumption of guilt without investigation as to render it largely worthless.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. Executive summary of the JVL submission can be downloaded here.

2. Three examples of the rebuttals contained in the JVL submission:

1. Ruth Smeeth and Marc Wadsworth

JLM Claim

Paragraph 20.2: After Ruth Smeeth MP was forced to walk out of the launch of the Chakrabarti Inquiry Report following harassment by Marc Wadsworth (for which he was eventually expelled from the Party, some two years later), she was the subject of over 25,000 antisemitic posts and messages. These included being called a “yid c***”, a ‘‘CIA/ MI5/Mossad informant” and a “f***ing traitor”.

JVL response

Ruth Smeeth was not “forced out” of the Chakrabarti report launch. This can be evidenced by the video of the event showed that Smeeth left of her own accord. A witness sitting close by heard one of Smeeth’s contacts stating “that’s antisemitic” when Mark Wadsworth referred to the fact that she was exchanging notes with the Daily Telegraph correspondent. Wadsworth subsequently stated that he had not known that Smeeth was Jewish and that what had disturbed him was the Press attempts to ignore his statements that the Chakrabarti report should have addressed racism more widely.

Dr Alan Maddison, a professional statistician, raised questions about Ruth Smeeth’s claims. These may be summarised as follows.

Ms Smeeth claimed that she had received over 25,000 abusive tweets. This volume of online abuse was not picked up by three surveys that were undertaken at the time: one by the Community Security Trust, one by Salford University and one by Amnesty, all finding nothing like the volume of messages that she had reported.

From the Salford study for example;

In one of these prospective surveys, by Liam Mcloughlin and Stephen Ward of Salford University, on-line abuse was tracked for 573 MPs, for over 10 weeks from 14th November 2016 to 28th January 2017. Their results showed that MPs received a total of 4761 abusive tweets and that of the top 50, Corbyn and his supporting MPs had received more abuse than Labour MPs who had opposed him. In addition, those MPs who did not appear in the list of the top 50, including Smeeth, would have therefore received less than 50 abusive tweets over the whole 10 week period.

With regard to the volume of messages Ms. Smeeth claims to have received, a Sheffield University study of abusive tweets in 2016 found that the highest number were directed at Jeremy Corbyn himself.

In addition, no data appears to have been produced to show how many of these messages emanated from Labour Party members.

More information

Alan Maddison (2018) Searching for the truth about on-line abuse allegations Jewish Voice for Labour 01.03.2018 (updated 08.04.2019)

Liam McLoughlin and Stephen Ward, Turds, Traitors and Tossers: The abuse of UK MPs via twitter, European Consortium of Political Research Joint Sessions, University of Nottingham, Nottingham April 25-29 2017

Andy McSmith (2016) Labour activist who berated MP Ruth Smeeth says he did not know she was Jewish and denies Momentum links, The Independent 30.06.2016

University of Sheffield (2017) University of Sheffield research shows MP Twitter abuse doubled after terror attacks, 25.07.2017

JVL (2018), David Rosenberg on the Wadsworth show trial, Jewish Voice for Labour 20.04.2018


2. Luciana Berger

JLM Claim

Paragraph 20.4: The campaign of online abuse against Luciana Berger MP was persistent and aggressive, until she was finally hounded out of the Party earlier this year. Examples of the abuse include caricatures of her with a hooked nose, sometimes featuring Stars of David soaked in blood and accompanied by various extreme terms of abuse. In September 2018, the broadcaster LBC received from anonymous sources an internal Party dossier detailing cases involving messages posted on social media, which included a threat to Ms Berger’s safety, and other messages including: “We shall rid the Jews who are a cancer on all of us”. The Party had not even informed Ms Berger of the threat to her safety. Such was the severity of the abuse, that several individuals were successfully prosecuted for hate crimes.

JVL response

Jeremy Corbyn chose Luciana Berger to be the first ever Shadow Cabinet Member for Mental Health, highlighting the importance he attached to the issue and the confidence that he had in Ms. Berger, then MP for Liverpool Wavertree. In 2016, Berger was one of the first to resign from the shadow cabinet, helping to trigger a second leadership ballot in which she backed Corbyn’s opponent

There is no doubt that Berger has been subject to abuse and threats of an antisemitic nature, some of it serious, emanating from the far right. (see also response to paragraph 36.6 below) In 2014, for instance, a member of a neo-Nazi group, National Action, was jailed for sending Berger an antisemitic tweet. This generated a wave of hateful attacks on her. She and JLM have persistently portrayed her as a victim of antisemitism from the left within the party but there is no evidence of this (see below). There has been much political criticism of her opposition to Corbyn, but she has not made public any convincing evidence of antisemitic attacks from within the party. The local LP member whose name was most publicised to his distress and detriment, Professor Scott-Samuel, is Jewish and was the Chair of the CLP for much of the period (see also response to paragraph 133 below).

JLM alleges that the party failed to inform her of threats contained in dossiers of evidence it had received. The dossiers JLM refers to which were leaked to LBC and handed to the Metropolitan Police, have resulted in only one individual being charged with an offence, and it is not clear whether this person was a Labour Party member. There are in fact three people who have actually gone to prison after being convicted of race hate crimes against Berger, not one of whom is connected with Labour but who are instead Far Right activists. They are Garron Helm (who received a four-week sentence in October 2014), Joshua Bonehill-Paine (two years in January 2016) and John Nimmo (two years and three months in February 2017). It seems that only one LP member from Liverpool was convicted.  He is on record for saying that he sincerely regretted saying such things to LB while he had too much to drink. He was charged with a minor public order offence.

Locally in Wavertree CLP it was acknowledged that Luciana Berger did get antisemitic abuse on social media and she received a message of sympathy from the CLP to this effect. The CLP indeed gave Berger every opportunity to attend meetings and engage in discussion. However, she never engaged with the executive, and it appears that this was because the majority of members supported the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. None, however, would tolerate, let alone excuse abuse of any kind.

More information

Bob Pitt (2019) Has the Labour left subjected Luciana Berger to hatespeak and death threats?, Medium, 20.03.2019


3. Corbyn meeting with Hayo Mayer

JLM Claim 

Paragraph 25.5: In August 2018, Mr Corbyn was again forced to apologise after it was revealed that he attended an event in 2010 on Holocaust Memorial Day entitled “Auschwitz to Gaza: Never Again for Anyone”, during which Israel was compared to the Nazis

JVL response

The main speaker at this event was Hayo Mayer, a Dutch Holocaust survivor who made this parallel between Israeli actions and Nazi conduct from the depth of his experience under the Nazis, including 10 months in Auschwitz. The lesson that Mayer learned from this experience was that nothing like this must ever happen again, not only to Jewish people, but to anyone. As such he felt compelled to speak out against the treatment of Palestinians, ostensibly being carried out in his name and some aspects of which recalled his treatment by the Nazis.

Various other senior Labour figures including Louise Ellman were present at the meeting which is strange given this statement by her to the Times in 2018: “I am exceedingly disturbed to hear that now there is evidence that Jeremy [Corbyn] was actually at a meeting where these sorts of views were expressed”.

It is perplexing that Mr Corbyn’s attendance (along with other senior Labour figures) at a presentation by a Jewish Holocaust survivor should be reckoned evidence of antisemitism.

 

Comments (21)

  • Well done. those who want only to hear and promulgate the alternative, largely false, narrative, won’t listen. And that may well include the EHCR, though we hope for some objectivity, but it is important to set the record straight.

  • Simon Montague says:

    Thanks for supplying more info about the accusations.

  • Ray hall says:

    J.V.L the only legitimate Jewish voice of labour party

  • Adrian Chaffey says:

    Important and very good. It is not in any way a criticism to say that I very much doubt this will be picked up in the mainstream media.

  • AH says:

    It seems even with the most forensic of evidence (yours) and rebuttal after rebuttal that JLM etc keep on and on with their pernicious lies. Can nothing legal be done about this continuing mendacity?

  • Keith Egerton says:

    The context of Corbyn’s so-called ‘irony’ comments should also be explained. These were directed at well known Palestine event disrupter Hoffman and his companions, who were ‘thankfully silent’ at the said meeting.

  • John Booth says:

    The want of the Truth existing in the upper levels of the Labour Party now is dismally lacking.
    Fear of the main stream media is instead all consuming

  • Catherine Hughes says:

    Thank you for your work & bringing a sense of balance to this debacle. Like most people who joined the Labour Party to build a fairer, greener sustainable future for my grandchildren, I am completely appalled by the claims he is an anti Semite, leading a corrupt & anti Semitic party. I guessed this was because he would condemn the Israeli government’s occupation and subjugation of Palestine & Palestinians, just as apartheid in S Africa was ended by global pressure. Thank you for supporting socialism for all, solidarity!

  • Dear JVL, thank goodness for you. It is heartbreaking to see the level of abuse and literal lies that were used by JLM to vilify and smear Jeremy Corbyn. That the media took these up with absolutely no evidence whatsoever is shameful. I hope your report will help to settle this issue, along with the shocking leaked report, and lay to rest once and for all the myth that Labour is institutionally antisemitic.

  • Luqman Khan says:

    Institutionalised RACISM within the Labour Party. The political LYNCHING of a black labour party activist didn’t happen in the deep state of USA in 1930s. It happened in Britain in 2018.

  • LYNNE FORDYCE says:

    thank you

  • Azees says:

    Need jewishvoiceforlabour.org
    To keep fighting for progressive ideas,to challenge the Board of Deputies’ allegation on unfounded antisemitism allegations and many many other issues. Keep up the good work. Nearly made it in 2017.

  • Omar Qassim says:

    Thank you

  • Iqbal Sram says:

    In relation to Ruth Smeeth incident it is clearly apparent that Marc Wadsworth did heckle Ruth Smeeth. Ruth Smeeth did not merely attended the meeting and did not speak at the meeting. So therefore could not have been heckled by anyone including Marc Wadsworth. If there was any hacking it was done by Ruth Smeeth who is heard to say “how are you” when Marc Wadsworth was on his feet and speaking. These are the only things that the video shows.

  • dave says:

    It’s hard to think of a lower point for them than using Hajo Meyer against us (note correct spellings of his names). When Nazi comparisons are made, people automatically jump to WW2 and not the long period of discrimination that led up to it. Likewise, Denis Goldberg noted similarities with apartheid in South Africa, and not exact comparisons.

  • Margaret West says:

    Apropos Hoffman –
    He was convicted last year for his behaviour at a meeting :
    https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/jonathan-hoffman-damon-lanszner-convicted-public-order-act-israel-palestine-puma-protest-1.485573

    He and others who were*** members of the Zionist Federation were well known for their bad behaviour at pro Palestinian meetings.

    *** maybe still are members?

  • Ann Miller says:

    What a shame that the forensic Sir Keir doesn’t seem interested in the facts that would undermine the credibility of the institutional antisemitism narrative. The determination of JLM to hound Marc Wadsworth out of the party is particularly shocking.

  • Steven says:

    “Underpinning the JVL submission is an understanding of the flawed definition of antisemitism (the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance non-legally binding working definition, plus 11 examples) deployed by the JLM to justify a substantial proportion of its allegations.”

    Its not a definition at all. Why mislead people, JVL?

    Mike Cushman said: “Time after time the dossier moves from remarks about a specific Jew or group of Jews to claiming this refers to all Jews. An individual Jew may be accused of some sort of undesirable behaviour, just as any individual may be. It is only antisemitic if there is a pattern of selecting individual Jews for this behaviour and overlooking it in the case of non-Jews or if there is a suggestion that the behaviour is in some way reflective of their Jewishness.”

    This statement is superb and should be the headline. Posting to my fb and twitter timeline.

  • Doug says:

    The role of the MSM and toilet papers will be used against them when it comes to regulation and reform
    Put Prince Harry and Hugh Grant in charge and give them a pitch fork each
    Now that’s irony for you

  • Erica says:

    If only the truth made a difference…

    The JLM has proved itself to be an anti-socialist, hostile body in the Labour Party. How shameful that, even under a socialist leadership, it was allowed to side-line socialist Jews and promote a false narrative that helped prevent Labour winning the 2017 election

  • James L says:

    Thank you for this and for all you do to stand up for truth and justice in the Labour Party.

Comments are now closed.