JVL Complaint to the Charities’ Commission about the Campaign Against Antisemitism

Earlier this year Jewish Voice for Labour called on the Charity Commission to remove the Campaign Against Antisemitism ( the CAA) from the Register of Charities

Our submissions are published below.

Executive Summary

Earlier this year Jewish Voice for Labour presented to the Charity Commission a formal written complaint against the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), a charitable incorporated organisation with registered number 1163790, and called upon the Commission to exercise its powers under section 36(1)(b) of the Charities Act 2011 to remove the CAA from the Register of Charities on the following grounds:

  • that the CAA is so seriously and persistently non-compliant with charities law that it is damaging, or has the potential to damage, its own reputation and the reputation of charities generally; and
  • that the CAA is not, in fact, functioning as a charity.

A month later JVL presented a supplemental complaint in order to explain some of our concerns in relation to CAA as an ‘educational‘ charity in more detail and with extended examples.

It has long been JVL’s view that the CAA is a highly politically partisan organisation which does not deserve charitable status, and does not deserve the tax breaks and other financial advantages and the badge of respectability that accompany charitable status. JVL considers that the CAA’s activities and conduct are wholly unbecoming of any organisation (whether charitable or not) that is genuinely concerned with promoting, and educating the wider public in the subjects of human rights, anti-racism and good community relations.

We understand that a formal investigation into the CAA’s conduct is under way.

Here are our complaints edited in order to protect the identity of affected persons. It should, however, be noted that Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbyn MP and Dr Ghada Karmi of Exeter University have kindly given their express permission to our publishing in full those sections of our complaints which concern the CAA’s attacks against them.


JVL’s Two Submissions

In the following submissions, JVL is referred to as “the Applicant” and Campaign Against Antisemitism as “the CAA”.


First Submission

1. Introduction

1.1 The CAA’s charitable objects are as follows:

    • to promote racial harmony for the public benefit between Jewish people wherever in the world and other members of society by the elimination of antisemitism, including raising awareness of the occurrence of antisemitism and providing advocacy, assistance, care and relief in relation to those affected by antisemitism; and
    • to advance education as regards the history, causes, effects and prevention of antisemitism for the public benefit.

1.2  The Applicant accepts that these objects are charitable in nature. The Applicant does not accept that CAA’s activities are solely charitable; nor does it accept that any strictly non-charitable activity that CAA continues is merely incidental to its charitable purpose. Rather, the Applicant considers that the CAA’s activities are almost entirely, patently, non-charitable. The Applicant therefore requests that following consideration of this submission, the Commission removes the CAA from the Register of Charities.

1.3 In this submission the Applicant will demonstrate (with supporting evidence) that:

1.3.1 The CAA is not functioning as a charity, but as a highly partisan political campaigning organisation.

1.3.2 Its activities are not genuinely carried on in pursuance of its stated charitable objects and do not significantly contribute to their fulfilment.

1.3.3 Its activities are carried on in ways which are unprofessional and disreputable and are therefore liable to undermine public confidence in the charitable sector.

1.3.4 Its activities are not for the public benefit.

2. The Applicant and the CAA

2.1 Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) was established in 2017 as an unincorporated association of Jewish, socialist supporters of the Labour Party who do not share the outlook of the Jewish Labour Movement (which is formally affiliated to the Labour Party and the World Zionist Congress).

2.2 Almost from the moment of its foundation, JVL members have been the target of many public, highly personal and vituperative attacks by the CAA: see for example this article from April 2018.

2.3 In this direct attack, the author variously describes the Applicant as:

    • on the fringes of the Jewish community, and supportive of extreme elements,
    • engaged in activities which the author considers shocking and notorious; and
    • guilty of cooperating with Free Speech on Israel, the Boycott, Sections and Divestment (BDS) Movement and other organisations which, according to CAA, camouflage themselves as ‘anti-Zionists’ – the clear implication being that when their “camouflage” is removed, these organisations are revealed to be antisemitic.

2.4 The Applicant considers these remarks to be offensive and defamatory and, more seriously, to be the marks of a doctrinaire organisation which is using its charitable status to give respectability to an exercise in constraining freedom of speech, a fundamental human right.

2.5 The Applicant makes no secret of its political outlook and its campaigning objectives; whereas it is CAA which “camouflages” itself as a charitable organisation while acting as an antagonist of many essentially political organisations, mainly (but not exclusively) on the left, of which the Applicant is one notable example. The Applicant conducts itself lawfully and is moderate and responsible in its use of language (see for example the substantial body of material that the Applicant publishes on its website, and on the broadcast media), whereas the CAA regularly abuses its own position as a charity in traducing the Applicant’s work and in making unsubstantiated and defamatory remarks concerning the Applicant’s more prominent members. (See para. 2.3 above.)

 2.6 The trustees and officers of the CAA are entitled to their personal views and opinions. The problem arises when a charity expresses corporate views which are harshly critical of the Applicant and of others who broadly share the Applicant’s views, and which are profoundly political in nature. The CAA should not be permitted to air these criticisms in the public arena from behind a screen of false political neutrality conferred by charitable status. This points to the politically partisan nature of the CAA, which is the subject of the next section.

 3.The CAA as a politically partisan organisation

The majority of CAA’s activities are openly politically partisan, and CAA does not attempt to limit its specifically political campaigning to the attainment of its charitable objects. The political nature of CAA is most apparent in relation to 3 issues:

3.1 CAA and the Labour Party

 3.1.1 A review of CAA’s website will reveal that one of the central themes of CAA’s activities is an open and deep-seated hostility to the UK Labour Party, for as long as it was under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn who was elected to its leadership on 12 September 2015. During Mr Corbyn’s tenure, the CAA’s efforts were relentlessly directed to demonstrating that the Labour Party under his leadership, with the close support of other senior figures on the left of the party (including John McDonnell MP, Diane Abbot MP and Richard Burgon MP) had become “institutionally antisemitic”; that is, infused from top to bottom, from the leadership to the grassroots membership, with anti-Jewish attitudes. See for example here.

3.1.2 The purpose of our referring the Commission to this lengthy CAA publication is not to defend any of the political personalities against criticism, but to draw to the Commission’s attention the highly tendentious nature of the CAA’s charges against them and the highly elastic definition of antisemitism upon which the CAA relies and constantly invokes. The IHRA “Working Definition” of antisemitism is central to the CAA’s efforts to discredit numerous figures on the political left, and we set out our strong reservations about this document in Section 3.2 below. The CAA continues to misapply the definition by taking the expression of “examples” of possible antisemitic attitudes as conclusive, without noting the proviso in the IHRA Working Definition that examples ‘could, taking into account the overall context, include..[etc]”

 3.1.3 In the meantime we draw attention to authoritative legal advice that the Applicant obtained from Mr James Price QC, an eminent defamation specialist, on how the law would take account of the ordinary reasonable citizen’s perception and recognition of antisemitic behaviour or sentiment. Leading Counsel’s advice on this crucial point reads as follows:

The accusation of antisemitism – is it potentially defamatory?

(1) Put simply, a false allegation against an individual that s/he is an antisemite, that s/he holds antisemitic views and/or is guilty of antisemitic conduct, is defamatory. This is because the ordinary, reasonably intelligent person will in his mind equate antisemitism to a particular type of centuries-old racism of very a dangerous and sinister kind.

 (2) The fact that the author of the recent (2016) IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism purports to introduce new variations on the theme of antisemitism is almost entirely irrelevant to this, because the ordinary person is unlikely to have heard of the IHRA document and even if s/he has, s/he will not have studied it. Whether or not a particular false statement is defamatory is a question of fact which . . .has to be decided by a judge alone, applying the same standards.

 (3) It follows from this that external evidence, expert or otherwise, as to what an allegation of antisemitism connotes will not be admitted. The court will not be concerned about how attitudes in certain parts of the Jewish community might have changed in recent years, whether as a result of recent developments in the Middle-East or the publication and promotion of the IHRA document. The standard is that of ordinary reasonable people across the whole community, not that of people in any section of society. As things currently stand, the court will use as its reference point the ordinary person’s understanding of what sort of behaviour and attitudes constitute antisemitism, and will then decide whether the action or conduct that the defendant has alleged against the claimant would be recognised by the ordinary citizen as antisemitic.

3.1.4 If in the light of this advice one considers the CAA’s long denunciation of 22 Labour Party figures in its document Antisemitism in Political Parties referred to in paragraph 3.1.1 above (compared to 2 Conservatives), two things become very apparent: first, CAA has very little understanding of or respect for the law of defamation; and secondly, CAA’s own definition of antisemitism is highly elastic and is shaped by a wide variety of assumptions that are far from universally accepted. Hence when considering various remarks made by Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Chris Williamson, Jo Bird (and so on), CAA’s approach has been to denounce them as antisemites first, and then to leave them with the burden of responsibility for proving otherwise and restoring their public reputations.

3.1.5 Moreover, the CAA promotes its narratives and makes its public denunciations of the Labour Left without giving serious consideration to any of the extensive and publicly available evidence to the contrary which suggests that the numbers of Labour members who espouse antisemitic views (including the very large numbers of members who joined after Mr Corbyn became leader, taking the membership from c 150,000 in early 2015 to 500,000+ in late 2019) is probably very low, and considerably lower than the percentage of the general population who hold such views. See for example here.

For this evidence to have found its way into the pages of The Economist, a well-respected journal which is not famed for left-wing opinions, points to CAA’s tendentious position-taking and predetermined attitudes towards the Labour Left. Please see also section 5.2 below, in which the Applicant shows how the CAA’s “research” is shaped political prejudice to the point of dishonesty.

3.2 CAA and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition of Antisemitism (with examples) (henceforth ‘the IHRA Working Definition’)

3.2.1 The CAA is determined to promote widespread acceptance of a highly contestable definition of antisemitism, the IHRA Working Definition, to the extent of openly calling for its widespread institutional and policy adoption. See for example, here, where the full text of the Definition may also be read.

3.2.2 The IHRA Working Definition is not merely questionable in substance. As a proposed legal measure, it is thoroughly unfit for its proposed purpose because, as Sir Stephen Sedley, former Lord Justice of Appeal, has written, it fails the first test of any definition: it is indefinite. Moreover, its language is weak where it should be robust, in that it limits the definition to expressions of hatred and does not proscribe discriminatory perceptions of Jews that are expressed otherwise than as hatred.

3.2.3 The IHRA Working Definition is also a highly political document, in that 7 out of the 11 “examples” of contemporary antisemitism listed in its Annex explicitly refer to the State of Israel, and these “examples” are in their nature:

a) conditional (they may be antisemitic, but maybe not, depending on context) and

b) contentious (one is entitled to believe and to argue that Israel’s constitutional arrangements, conferring as they do certain rights and benefits exclusively on citizens of a particular heritage, is not a good model for a modern nation state, without being denounced as an antisemite).

Geoffrey Robertson QC, Sir Stephen Sedley and Hugh Tomlinson QC are just some of the eminent legal authorities who have opined in detail on the patent inadequacies of the IHRA Working Definition and on its potential to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel, if it were incorporated into the general law and/or into codes of conduct and/or terms and conditions of employment. And as the Applicant’s legal adviser Mr James Price QC put it in his written opinion of November 2018:

The IHRA “definition” is not a definition in any sense that the law would recognise. It is, in fact, a very odd document, amounting to a 3-line attempt at a definition of antisemitism, which is a very ancient and well-understood evil, together with “illustrations” that are wide open to debate and have huge potential to create confusion and misconception. Even if one accepts its intended status as a “working” (provisional or draft) definition, one wonders why it should need such extensive qualification.

3.2.4 Nevertheless, the CAA has no regard for the obvious problems of both an ethical and semantic nature which the IHRA Working Definition presents. Instead the CAA regularly refers to its “examples” when seeking to “call out” antisemitic conduct and castigating the supposed perpetrators. Many examples will be found in the CAA’s report referred to in para. 3.1, Antisemitism in Political Parties: Labour Party.

3.2.5 Any responsible and intellectually independent charity with the CAA’s objectives should take fully into account such publicly available legal opinions before making judgements and devising strategies for the challenging and combatting of racism and the promotion of inter-ethnic understanding both in the UK and abroad, including in Israel and Palestine. In fact, no reference to these analyses will be found anywhere in CAA’s campaigning literature or archives. To CAA, the IHRA Working Definition is authoritative, and anyone who questions or contradicts CAA’s interpretation of it, or even shows support for someone who so questions or contradicts, risks being be condemned as an antisemite or as one who colludes with or gives succour to antisemites.

3.3 CAA and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

3.3.1 The BDS Movement attempts to draw attention to Israel’s human rights abuses by calling for boycotts of Israeli goods and discouraging trade and commerce with Israel while it remains in breach of international law, in particular UN Resolution 194 which calls for Palestinian refugees to have the right to return to their homes. It is modelled on the South African anti-apartheid movement which, while not a charity at the time, was an entirely lawful and popularly supported movement which contributed to the eventual abolition of the former apartheid regime in that country.

3.3.2 While stopping short of describing BDS as intrinsically antisemitic, the CAA is implacably opposed to BDS and has described its methods as encouraging and creating a form of antisemitism.

3.3.3 Reference is also made to paragraph 1.4.2 for evidence of CAA’s regular denigration of BDS as providing “camouflage” for antisemites – which is equivalent to saying that the Anti-Apartheid Movement’s campaigning for the boycotting of South Africa during the era was a cover for anti-White racism. The CAA’s obvious desire to attack and neutralise BDS is further evidence of its determination to shield Israel from criticism, and hence of its political nature.

4. The CAA’s failure to carry on its activities in pursuance of it stated charitable objects

4.1 Education

4.1.1 The CAA’s educational chartable purpose is as follows:

to advance education as regards the history, causes, effects and prevention of antisemitism for the public benefit

CAA’s activities have little or no educational value, in that the methodologies that the CAA applies when carrying out its research into the prevalence and manifestations of antisemitism are highly questionable. CAA’s research all too often is derived from anecdotal evidence and from interpretations of data comprising yes/no answers to leading questions; and/or surveys of the “perceptions” and/or “feelings” of members of the UK Jewish community. There is little reference in CAA’s research to observable hard facts about the prevalence of anti-Jewish racism and its manifestations.

4.1.2 For example, in conducting the surveys which provided the raw data for its Antisemitism Barometer 2019 (see Section 5.2.2 below for further details), CAA’s researchers engaged with its interviewees by “showing them”, and asking them about “the extent of their agreement with”, the following statements:

i) ‘Israel and its supporters are a bad influence on our democracy’.
ii)  ‘Israel can get away with anything because its supporters control the media’.
iii) ‘Israel treats the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews’.
iv) ‘I am comfortable spending time with people who openly support Israel’.
v) ‘Israel makes a positive contribution to the world.’
vi) ‘Israel is right to defend itself against those who want to destroy it’.

(pp. 16-17 Antisemitism Barometer 2019)

4.1.3 These are not only leading questions. They are mischievous, in that they are patently designed to pressure people into giving over-simplified answers, positive or negative, to questions on complex subjects of which many of those questioned will only have limited knowledge, and on the strength of which CAA’s “researchers” will proceed to categorise the interviewees as either antisemitic or philosemitic.

4.2 CAA’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019

4.2.1 In this sub-section we describe in more detail one particularly egregious example of the CAA’s partisan propaganda presented as academic research.

4.2.2 Shortly before the General Election of 13 December 2019, the CAA published its annual Antisemitism Barometer. This document was presented as a “comprehensive” research piece which purportedly demonstrated that antisemitism was, at the time of publication, more prevalent among Labour voters than among Conservative voters, and was particularly high among supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. As Gideon Falter, CEO of the CAA, put it in his foreword to the document:

Antisemitism on the far-left now exceeds antisemitism on the far-right. The leader of the once fiercely anti-racist Labour Party is now the candidate of choice for anti-Jewish racists, and 84% of British Jews feel that he is a threat specifically to Jews. Two in five British Jews have considered leaving the UK over antisemitism in the past two years alone, 85% of them because of antisemitism in politics, with two thirds expressly mentioning the Labour Party or its leader as their reason.

4.2.3 The document was published in late November 2019, just two weeks prior to the General Election of that year. According to the introduction, the relevant data and commentary were derived from commissioned academic research, thus:

CAA commissioned YouGov to survey the British population’s attitudes towards Jews in 2018 and 2019 and The YouGov survey was designed and analysed by Dr Daniel Allington of King’s College London.

The Antisemitism Barometer 2019 can be found here and Dr Allington’s research can be found here.

4.2.4 The Barometer received a considerable amount of media attention – see:

The Jewish Chronicle, Antisemitism on the far-left has ‘overtaken’ antisemitism on the far-right according to researchRosa Docherty, December 1 2019

The Daily Telegraph: Jeremy Corbyn’s most ardent supporters ‘more likely to be anti-Semitic’ – Edward Malnick 30 November

The Mail Online: Jeremy Corbyn’s most loyal supporters are more likely to be anti-Semitic than those of other party leaders, YouGov poll reveals1 December 2019

It would have been apparent to the CAA at the time of its publication, in the run-up to a general election, that its Antisemitism Barometer 2019 was likely to have a material impact on the opinions of voters, and not just those in the UK’s Jewish community. Given the overtly political subject matter of the report and the sensitivity of its timing, it was particularly important that a charitable organisation, whose chief purposes are the provision of education and the encouragement of good community relations between different faith and ethnic groups, should ensure that its research was accurate, rigorous and presented in good faith, and was not directly intended either to promote or to denigrate any particular political party.

4.2.5 In fact the CAA seems to have had no regard for such matters. Instead, it chose to publish a document whose conclusions were highly politically contentious, in large part patently subjective; and, most seriously, dishonest in at least one significant respect, in that they were the product of manipulation and distortion of data prepared by a different charitable research foundation, the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR). Close examination reveals that the authors reached their conclusions not by collecting and analysing hard data that recorded the attitudes (negative and positive) of non-Jewish UK citizens and institutions towards the UK’s Jewish community, but rather by:

a) Reinterpreting hard data of those types which had already been collected and analysed by a different organisation, JPR, in 2016–2017, and re-presenting it in a way which patently distorted the JPR’s original conclusions so as to convey a fundamentally different view, one which was much more hostile to Labour;

b) augmenting the misleadingly presented data with the results of the CAA’s own surveys of the attitudes of UK Jewish citizens, comprising answers to leading questions about the interviewees’ subjective “feelings” and “perceptions”, (rather than presenting hard facts about the extent of anti-Jewish racism in the UK); and

c) combining these two strands into one and presenting it as evidence that antisemitism was rapidly on the increase in the Corbyn-led Labour Party.

4.2.6 The JPR survey was undertaken in 2017 by Daniel Staetsky, Senior Research Fellow with that organisation. It is a thorough piece of research in which the author has clearly striven objectively to examine and record attitudes to Jewish people in the UK in a wide variety of contexts. It may be read here.

Importantly, throughout the report the author maintains a rigorous distinction between attitudes towards Jews (as an ethnic and faith-based group) and towards the State of Israel (as a secular nation state and centre of geo-political power), while recognising a degree of overlap between the two, given that Israel regards itself (and is regarded by many) as the national home of the Jewish people.

4.2.7 The authors of the Antisemitism Barometer 2019 derived from the JPR data a so-called mean antisemitism index (JpAs) and a separate anti-Israel index (AzAs), the latter being derived from collated responses to the JPR’s “6 anti-Israel statements’, as shown in the 4th column of the table below. These two sets of statistics illustrate two distinct phenomena: (i) antisemitic attitudes and (ii) attitudes towards the State of Israel. However, despite the earlier JPR’s findings that (i) there was a weak correlation between endorsement of anti-Israel statements and antisemitism and (ii) any such correlation was even weaker on the political left than right, the CAA authors attributed equal weighting to two indices. Moreover, the CAA went on to present its own combined “total” index in the 6th column, which is self-evidently weighted towards the higher “anti-Israel” index. See:

4.2.8 In this way the CAA Report deliberately combines two distinct groups of attitudes and opinions into one, which the CAA defines as an objective index of levels of contemporary antisemitism. In fact it amounts to a muddled and meaningless conflation, unless one regards any criticism of or antipathy towards the State of Israel as a form of antisemitism. This is a position which the JPR explicitly avoids taking, because it is fundamentally irrational. However, it is one which the CAA willingly adopts; and then uses as a pretext for asserting the prevalence of antisemitism on the far left of British politics and the perception that the Labour Party harbours antisemites.

4.2.9 In summary, by misrepresenting JPR’s research, CAA deliberately reversed JPR’s key findings that antisemitism is:

      • at lower levels among Labour than among Tory voters;
      • lower on the political left than on the right, especially the far right; and
      • lower among supporters of Jeremy Corbyn than among supporters of Boris Johnson.

For a registered charity with educational purposes to engage in such distortions and misrepresentations on an issue of such public importance and sensitivity during an election campaign is not only merely misguided. It is deeply disreputable and potentially seriously harms the causes of anti-racism and good community relations that the CAA claims to be promoting, as it undermines public trust in organisations appointed to undertake such work.

4.3 Human rights

4.3.1 The CAA’s human rights purpose is as follows:

the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity.

The Applicant considers that CAA does little or nothing to fulfil this objective, for reasons which follow.

4.3.2 The information and research which CAA publishes is frequently aggressive and dogmatic in both style and content, seemingly intended to instil fear and anxiety within both Jewish and non-Jewish communities and, in particular:

      • anxiety about the future of the UK’s Jewish community under a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn or a leader of similar political outlook; and
      • anxiety about Muslims and their supposedly habitually antisemitic attitudes and proclivity to engage in terrorist acts.

It has published “research” concerning allegedly high levels of antisemitism within the UK’s Muslim community which is ill-founded in content, and written in a style which is provocative and bordering on the racist. See this for example.

It is not difficult to imagine the outcry that would quite rightly follow if a Muslim charity were to conduct a survey of Jewish attitudes to Muslims, presented in a similar fashion and adopting similarly disdainful descriptions of certain “categories” of Jew.

4.3.3 In saying this, the Applicant acknowledges the fact that the JPR’s research, which the Applicant considers to be responsibly prepared and presented, revealed that roughly 13 per cent of the UK Muslim community does harbour antisemitic opinions to some degree. Nevertheless, the promotion of religious and racial harmony requires a respect for and understanding of other faiths and cultures, a quality which in the view of the Applicant is seriously lacking in CAA publications such as the one cited above. Rather, the likelihood is that such publications will foster division between different faiths and cultures, notably between Jews and Muslims.

4.3.4 Moreover, we have already commented in para. 2.4 above upon the CAA’s apparent determination to foster division among Jews by deliberately alienating and insulting the significant numbers of British Jews who seek to distance themselves from the State of Israel’s ideological claim to be the nation state of the Jewish people, particularly when Jewish nationhood is established at the expense of the human rights of the region’s indigenous Arab population (see Israel’s Nationality Act, passim, enacted July 2018).

5. The CAA’s unprofessional and disreputable conduct

5.1 CAA is seemingly a small organisation. The identity of its trustees is hidden from public view – possibly legitimately, given the risk of harassment and intimidation. More curiously, however, the CAA’s webpage page which c. 12 months ago set out a substantial list (c 10 in number) of Honorary Patrons (including former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, the former Labour MP for Dudley North Ian Austin, the former Secretary of State for Communities Lord (Eric) Pickles, and Colonel Richard Kemp, CBE) has disappeared from view. A link to “Honorary Patrons” now takes the viewer to an “Error-404” reference. The Applicant suggests therefore that these esteemed public figures have developed doubts about the wisdom of maintaining their association with the CAA.

5.2 CAA also appears to be the preserve of two people, Gideon Falter, CEO: and Stephen Silverman, who is described as Director of Investigations and Enforcement. The very term “enforcement”, and the presumptions that underlie it, point to the tendency of these two individuals to behave as self-appointed enforcement officers or, to use the popular term, vigilantes. The Applicant will now refer to three examples of this type of conduct.

 5.3 [REDACTED]

 5.4[REDACTED]

5.5 The Rt. Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP

5.5.1 In this sub-section the Applicant first quotes from the introduction to CAA’s Special Briefing on the outcome of the Labour Party’s leadership election, announced on 4 April 2020. The Briefing was circulated on 21:00 same day to the CAA’s subscribers to the CAA’s email briefings. The entire briefing can be read here.

The author of the Briefing is Gideon Falter, CEO of the CAA. Emphasis is added to the following extract:

As promised when I wrote to you on Thursday, now that Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath, has ended, I am writing to you with our initial reaction to the election of Sir Keir Starmer, as was widely predicted.

This morning, the Labour Party started the process of turning the page on the era of Jeremy Corbyn, an anti-Semite who [sic] the vast majority of British Jews regarded specifically as a threat to them. However, retrieving the once fiercely anti-racist Labour Party from the grip of institutional antisemitism is not as simple as replacing its antisemitic erstwhile leader. Sir Keir Starmer MP, the accomplished Queen’s Counsel and former Director of Public Prosecutions, faces a long-term campaign if he is serious about the very welcome promise he made in his victory speech to seek out antisemitism and “tear out this poison by its roots”, for its roots grew extensive under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, who Sir Keir called his “friend” in his speech.

5.5.2 Secondly, the Applicant refers to the following video broadcast, published shortly after the general election of December 2019, in which Mr Joe Glasman, described as “Head of Political and Government Investigations” with CAA, issued a “personal thank you” to all allies of CAA who helped to ensure that the Mr Corbyn was “slaughtered”:

5.5.3 In answer to these two disgraceful pieces of nakedly political propaganda, the Applicant refers back to the written advice of Mr James Price QC to the Applicant in November 2018, in which Mr Price stated:

Put simply, a false allegation against an individual that s/he is an antisemite that s/he holds antisemitic views and/or is guilty of antisemitic conduct, is defamatory. This is because the ordinary, reasonably intelligent person will in his mind equate antisemitism to a particular type of centuries-old racism of very a dangerous and sinister kind.

6. Conclusion

6.1 The Applicant refers to the Commission’s five statutory objectives set out in section 14 Charities Act 2011:

6.1.1 The public confidence objective: to increase public trust and confidence in charities.

6.1.2 The public benefit objective: to promote awareness and understanding of the operation of the public benefit requirement.

6.1.3 The compliance objective: to promote compliance by charity trustees with their legal obligations in exercising control and management of the administration of charities.

6.1.4 The charitable resources objective: to promote effective use of charitable resources.

6.1.5 The accountability objective: to enhance the accountability of charities to donors, beneficiaries and the general public.

6.2 The Applicant submits that since its foundation in 2014, the CAA has consistently conducted itself in ways which are liable to undermine or infringe all five of the stated objectives.

6.2.1 By its aggressive conduct and use of language, its culturally divisive and intolerant attitudes, and its lack of respect for the dignity and humanity of those with whom it disagrees, the CAA undermines public trust and confidence in itself as an organisation and the charitable sector more widely.

6.2.2 For the same reasons, the CAA also fails to meet the public benefit test.

6.2.3 The CAA is non-compliant, and infringes the fundamental legal principle that charities must not be politically partisan, by reason of its extreme aggression towards and defamatory attacks against persons on the constitutional political left and Palestinian human rights groups.

6.2.4 The CAA fails to deploy its resources effectively and competently, as evidenced by the poor quality of its research and by the vigilante-type behaviour of its officers.

6.2.5 The CAA lacks proper accountability to the general public in that it lacks transparency: the identities of its trustees are withheld from public view and the names of its honorary patrons (if they still function) are absent from public view.

6.3 The CAA does not behave like a charity; its standards of conduct and service provision fall well short of those to be expected; and it is not, in fact, a functioning charity. The Applicant therefore respectfully asks that the CAA be removed from the Register of Charities.


Second submission

1. Introduction

1.1 We write further to our Application to the Charity Commission dated 27 April pursuant to Section 36 (1) (b) of the Charities Act 2011, to have CAA removed from the Register of Charities. We wish to make a supplemental submission in support of the Application.

1.2 The purpose of this supplemental submission is to draw to the Commission’s attention two recent articles or public statements which have been published by CAA on its website; which have been disseminated to CAA’s supporters and followers on Twitter and Facebook; and which demonstrate CAA’s flagrant disregard for its legal obligations as an educational charity:

1.2.1 to fulfil its charitable objects honestly, in good faith and for the public benefit;

1.2.2 to do so in accordance with the Commission’s Guidance on campaigning and political activity guidance for charities (CC9); and

1.2.3 to do so in accordance with the Commission’s guidance on education for the public benefit.

1.3 The first of the two articles concerns Jeremy Corbyn MP and can be found here.

The second concerns Ms Ghada Karmi, an Anglo-Palestinian academic and activist based in Exeter, UK, and can be found here.

We now wish to comment on each article in turn.

2. The CAA’s article concerning Jeremy Corbyn dated 02 April 2020

2.1 Written by Mr Gideon Falter, CEO of the CAA, this article purports to provide an overview of the tenure of the Rt. Hon. Jeremy Corbyn MP as leader of the Labour Party from September 2015 – April 2020. It contains an exhortation to the new Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer (who also happens to be a former Director of Public Prosecutions) to “discipline” Mr Corbyn for being “an antisemite”.

2.2 The article also contains a long series of attacks on the integrity of Mr Corbyn as a public figure and political leader. The article contains no less than 14 separate accusations and/or allegations against Mr Corbyn, all of which the CAA clearly intends the reader to accept as conclusive proof of Mr Corbyn’s “antisemitism” – the straightforward meaning of which (as supported by many legal experts) is a dislike of or hatred of Jews because they are Jews. (See paragraph 3.1.3 of our main submission for Leading Counsel’s advice to JVL as to what the ordinary, reasonably intelligent person would understand “antisemitism” and “antisemite” to mean.)

2.3 The 14 accusations are unsupported by any additional factual evidence or references. In several cases, CAA also insults by name or by implication various other people who have in one way or another been associated with Mr Corbyn during his tenure as Labour Leader. For example, in the case of Baroness (Shami) Chakrabarti, Labour’s former Shadow Justice Secretary, CAA impugns her professional competence and integrity by accusing her of presiding over and authoring a “whitewash” report concerning the best means of combatting racism, including antisemitism, in the Labour Party.

2.4 We now quote directly CAA’s series of accusations against Mr Corbyn – presented as supposed fact – and we add a numbering system for ease of reference. Mr Corbyn, according to the CAA, is guilty of all of the following:

(1) working to excommunicate Labour’s Jewish affiliate;

(2) claiming that Israel exercises an outsized influence in the British media;

(3) describing the antisemitic genocidal terrorists of Hamas and Hizbollah as his “friends”;

(4) endorsing the comparison of Israel’s policies to those of the Nazis;

(5)trying to undermine the centrality of the genocide of the Jews in Holocaust Memorial Day;

(6)writing an adulatory foreword to an antisemitic book;

(7) defending an Islamist preacher banned from Britain for indulging in the medieval blood libel that accuses Jews of using the blood of non-Jewish children to bake bread;

(8) backing the disgraced Reverend Stephen Sizer;

(9) defending an obviously antisemitic mural;

(10) suggesting that British “Zionists” lack a sense of irony despite having lived here their whole lives;

(11) instigating the whitewash Chakrabarti Inquiry and then awarding its author with the peerage that he promised never to bestow on anyone;

(12) describing The Guardian journalist Jonathan Freedland’s motives in raising the matter of Labour antisemitism as “disgusting subliminal nastiness”; and

(13) directly interfering in numerous disciplinary cases on behalf of the offending Labour members while standing by (at best) while Jewish women MPs were hounded out of his Parliamentary Party.

(14) To top it off, Mr Corbyn was opposed to the adoption of the International Definition of Antisemitism by the Labour Party.

2.5 We now remind the Commission that the CAA’s charitable objects are:

      • to promote racial harmony for the public benefit between Jewish people and other members of society by the elimination of antisemitism . . . and
      • to advance education as regards the history, causes, effects and prevention of antisemitism) . . .

2.6 We now quote from Charity Commission Guidance Document, The Advancement of Education for the Public Benefit, published December 2008, amended December 2011.

Section C5. Is there a difference between advancing education and promoting a particular point of view?

Education does not have to be value-free and completely neutral. Education can be based on broad values that are uncontroversial which would be generally supported by objective and informed people.

Although education can have an uncontroversial broad value base, it should allow those being educated to make up their own minds on controversial issues. This means:

      • researching and presenting information in a neutral and balanced way that encourages awareness of different points of view, where appropriate;
      • considering the arguments in an appropriate way related to the evidence; and
      • if it reaches conclusions, those conclusions being based on evidence and analysis.

If the purpose of providing information or education is to persuade people to form specific conclusions, then this is not education. Raising people’s awareness of an issue to build support for a campaign is not educating them about this issue as the aim is to gain their support. Promoting a specific point of view may be a way of furthering another charitable aim, but it would not be education.

The Applicant recognises that this guidance is several years old and is under review, and that it therefore does not necessarily reflect the Commission’s current thinking. Nevertheless, the Applicant assumes that the Commission has not changed its view that an educational charity has a clear duty to research and present information in a neutral and balanced way and to allow those being educated to make up their own minds on controversial issues. Accordingly, we would invite the Commission to conclude that the CAA’s attacks on Mr Corbyn shows a flagrant disregard for these duties.

2.7 The CAA may respond to this objection to its methods by stating that racism is racism, and that one should not extend to racists a right of reply and the freedom to express their hideous opinions. In answer to this, the Applicant makes the following points:

2.7.1 An accusation that another person is a racist and an antisemite is a very grave one, which has the potential to destroy that person’s reputation. If it is false or factually incorrect, the accusation is defamatory. The accuser must therefore be sure of his or her ground and produce credible evidence in support. As the Commission’s own guidance states, if an educational charity reaches conclusions,

those conclusions [must be] based on evidence and analysis.

2.7.2 In this case, the “evidence” cited by CAA in its 14 examples is not “evidence” which any competent court of law would ever admit. Every one of them is, at best, tendentious. All are completely unreferenced. Not one of them amounts to prima facie evidence of Jeremy Corbyn’s hostility or antipathy towards Jewish people – or indeed of his antipathy towards to anyone at all except, possibly, no. (12) which, if true, indicates nothing more than a personal exasperation with the writings of one particular journalist.

2.7.3 Drawing on our knowledge of the various claims and counterclaims concerning Mr Corbyn that have played out in the media and public life over the last 5 years, we would further point out that:

(a) in several of the 14 “examples”, words or actions attributed to Mr Corbyn are so distorted and/or paraphrased and so flagrantly taken out of context as to amount to dishonesty, in particular examples: (3), (5), (7), (8), (9) and (10).

(b) Several amount to nothing more than malevolent insinuations and insults which one would have to be extremely charitable to excuse as “questions of interpretation”, in particular examples: (2), (9), (11) and (12).

(c) In some cases, the allegations made are downright and demonstrably false, in particular examples: (1), (4), (6), and (13).

2.8 The result is that anyone who is already opposed to Mr Corbyn and Labour on political grounds, on reading CAA’s statement, is likely to have their views confirmed and strengthened; while a reader who comes to the subject with an open mind in search of information will not be educated to make up their own minds on controversial issues. Rather, CAA’s statement is intended to spread fear and panic at the prospect of such a politician being elected to high office (or having come close in 2017 to being so elected).

2.9 If it would be helpful to the Commission, the Applicant can provide detailed, factual rebuttals of all of the CAA’s 14 “examples” of Mr Corbyn’s “antisemitism”. At the time of writing, accusation no 13 is being extensively re-examined as a result of the Labour Party’s leaked report into the workings of its Governance and Legal Unit; while the subject of allegation no 14, the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism (and its numerous flaws) is examined in section 3.2 of our main Submission dated 27 April.

3. The CAA’s article concerning Ghada Karmi dated 22 April 2020

3.1 This section concerns an attack made by the CAA on a prominent British-Palestinian doctor and academic, Dr Ghada Karmi, over an opinion piece of Dr Karmi’s which was published in Middle East Eye on 10 April 2020.

3.2 Dr Karmi wrote her article primarily as a tribute to Mr Jeremy Corbyn’s record, including decades of support on his part for the Palestinian cause, as he stepped down as Labour leader. On 24 April 2020 the CAA, in response, published its attack on Dr Karmi, which can be seen here.

3.3 At the end of this piece, the CAA declared its intention to write to the General Medical Council (as Dr Karmi’s regulator) and Exeter University (where Dr Karmi was previously an honorary research fellow) to draw attention to her “numerous antisemitic statements”. The CAA also called on students “concerned about antisemitism on campus” to contact it for help. It is clear that the CAA’s objective in making these calls was to make an example of Dr Karmi, possibly in the hope that she would be disciplined by her professional regulator and/or disowned by her University. In fact, neither of these things has happened.

3.4 Dr Karmi is one of a dwindling number of Palestinians alive today who experienced first-hand the Nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe”. In local parlance, Nabka refers to the programme of (what is now termed by many historians) ethnic cleansing which many historians argue took place in 1948 to facilitate the creation of the State of Israel as a predominantly Jewish state, and which involved the forced removal and transfer of many hundreds of thousands of Palestinian people, Dr Karmi being among them. Driven from her home in Jerusalem by the Israeli army, Dr Karmi and her family eventually settled in the UK.

3.5 The CAA has taken exception to several passages in Dr Karmi’s article, to the extent of accusing her of expressing antisemitic views. Dr Karmi writes:

Persistent campaigning by [the pro-Israel] lobby since 2016 – largely mediated by the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement, the pro-Israel Board of Deputies of British Jews and Labour Friends of Israel, and likely coordinated by the Israeli embassy – achieved its aim. From a famously honourable, anti-racist campaigner who had spent a lifetime fighting for the underdog, Corbyn was transformed by this propaganda into a racist and antisemite; it is now received wisdom that his party is “institutionally antisemitic”, an accusation it will struggle to shake off.

3.6 Of this passage, the CAA states:

Dr Karmi is suggesting that the Israeli embassy has played an outsized role in British politics and that the Jewish groups calling out Labour’s anti-Jewish racism – of which there are many more than those that she identifies – are doing Israel’s bidding.

 According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective” and “Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations” are examples of antisemitism.

 Moreover, the suggestion that antisemitism in Labour is a ‘smear’ or “propaganda” has been a common trope deployed to deflect criticism of the Party’s institutional antisemitism over the past several years and to imply that the Jewish community has had an ulterior motive in pointing out anti-Jewish racism in Labour, including that it is doing Israel’s bidding.

3.7 A proper reading of the passage in question will reveal that Dr Karmi does not refer to lobbyists such as the CAA as doing “Israel’s bidding”. Rather she argues that the pro-Israel lobby’s campaign against Mr Corbyn was “likely coordinated by the Israeli embassy”. Far from being antisemitic, this statement can be readily substantiated by the following facts:

3.7.1 In 2006 Israel established its Ministry of Strategic Affairs and included in its remit a responsibility to challenge and to neutralise support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which had been established by Palestinian civil society in 2005.

3.7.2 The Ministry’s main objectives were no secret and have been widely discussed in the Israeli media. Moreover, some of the Ministry’s more secretive methods of working were exposed in an undercover four-part documentary, The Lobby, aired on the Al Jazeera network in early 2017.

3.7.3 In the documentary, Mr Shai Masot, at the time a member of the Ministry working at the Israeli Embassy in London, is shown repeatedly meeting with pro-Israel lobby groups to devise ways to undermine and “take out” (as Mr Masot put it) not only Jeremy Corbyn but also politicians from other parties, (including a Conservative, Sir Alan Duncan) who were regarded as too pro-Palestinian.

3.8 In making her points, Dr Karmi does not ascribe any motive, ulterior or otherwise, to the “Jewish community”. Rather, she states her opinion that pro-Israel lobby groups have sought to damage Mr Corbyn politically because they perceive him to be a threat to Israel. The CAA’s claim that in doing so Dr Karmi is making mendacious, dehumanising, demonising, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective is not only inaccurate and insulting – it is defamatory.

3.9 Towards the end of her article, Dr Karmi offers her view on Mr Corbyn’s successor, Sir Keir Starmer and writes of him:

Starmer is a member of Labour Friends of Palestine and agrees with the two-state solution. He opposes Trump’s peace plan and has appointed Lisa Nandy, an avowed supporter of Palestinian rights, as shadow foreign secretary. At the same time, he also calls himself a supporter of Zionism “without qualification”, and says he believes in the State of Israel.

 These positions are incompatible: to support Palestinian rights, which include self-determination and the right of return, is to negate Israel’s legitimacy as an exclusive state for Jews in Palestine, and vice versa. Starmer’s confused positions cannot work.

 In apartheid South Africa, it was not possible to support apartheid and also black rights, and the conflict only ended with apartheid’s abolition. The same holds true for Zionism in Palestine. Terminating Zionism is the only way to a permanent peace.

 3.10 The CAA voices its objections to this passage as follows:

[Dr Karmi] insists that this position is “incompatible” with opposition to “Israel’s legitimacy as an exclusive state for Jews” (whatever she means by that phrase) and that he must understand – as, interestingly, she alleges that Mr Corbyn does – that “terminating Zionism is the only way to a permanent peace.” She concludes by noting that “these are uncomfortable ideas for Starmer and all Western politicians. They would prefer to persist with the myth of a Palestinian state living ‘alongside Israel’, so as to avoid confronting the true situation.”

 Clearly, Dr Karmi believes that Zionism – the ideology underpinning Israel’s creation – is racist, and that Israel is essentially a racist endeavour and should be destroyed. Indeed, in the past she has also reportedly welcomed [sic] Israel’s destruction. The Definition specifies that “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour)” is antisemitic.

 The CAA then concludes its diatribe against Dr Karmi with a warning:

There is no place for an antisemite to teach on campus and Campaign Against Antisemitism shall be writing to the University of Exeter calling for Dr Karmi to be removed from her position and to the General Medical Council which regulates doctors.

 3.11 The CAA’s complaint against Dr Karmi is focused on the “example” included in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition that states that it may be antisemitic to refer to Israel as a “racist endeavour”, and goes on to claim that Dr Karmi’s suggestion that Zionism – which the CAA itself refers to as “the ideology underpinning Israel’s creation” – should be “terminated” is tantamount to arguing that Israel “should be destroyed”. In fact, Dr Karmi is expressing her well-founded opinion that without a radical reform of its constitution there is an incompatibility between Israel’s declared, exclusive status as the state of the Jewish people (confirmed in its highly contested Nationality Act of July 2018) and the rights of Palestinians under international law to self-determination in their former homeland.

3.12 JVL has contended in its main submission that the IHRA’s shifting of the emphasis away from dislike or hatred of Jews towards criticism of Israel and opposition to Zionism as an ideology is regrettable. However, the IHRA definition does not state that all references to Israel as a “racist endeavour” are proof of antisemitism. It notes that such comments may be antisemitic “taking into account the overall context”. Context here is crucial, and no reasonable person with some understanding of the context could read Dr Karmi’s article and conclude that she is calling for the destruction of Israel as a country or of its Jewish population. Rather, she is calling for the abolition of a political ideology that has, in her view, been used to justify the dispossession and oppression of her own people, the Palestinians, for many decades.

4. Conclusions

4.1 One of the essential principles of a democratic, open society is the right to free speech and freedom of debate. This freedom extends not only to academics such as Dr Karmi but to all citizens; and it includes the freedom to debate Israel’s constitutional principles and policies and the future for Palestinians within a Jewish state. The CAA apparently seeks to curtail this freedom. For a charity with an educational mission to engage in such conduct is both unacceptable and unlawful.

4.2 The question of whether or not a constitutional arrangement that confers certain rights and benefits exclusively on citizens of a certain religious or ethnic heritage is a good model for a modern nation state is quite obviously a legitimate topic for debate; and if one reaches the conclusion that it is not a good model, one should not have to tolerate accusations of antisemitic racism. This, however, has been both Mr Corbyn’s and Dr Karmi’s fate (and that of many others) as a result of the CAA’s persistent misappropriations and distortions of the IHRA Working Definition for political ends.

4.3 The CAA’s central objectives in practice are not to educate the general public about antisemitism and to promote better inter-ethnic and inter-faith understanding and mutual respect in ways that the law of charities would recognise and endorse. Rather, since its foundation in 2014, its central objectives have been and continue to be explicitly political, including:

4.3.1 To defend and shield Israel, a modern nation-state, and its agencies against legitimate criticisms of its policies towards the indigenous Palestinian peoples of the West Bank and Gaza and against legitimate criticisms of its domestic policies;

4.3.2 To attack and to impugn the integrity of Mr Corbyn (frequently using vituperative and defamatory language) who prior to his election as Labour Leader was most well-known for his campaigning against racism and antisemitism in the community and for the human rights of oppressed peoples and minority groups around the world, including for self-determination of the Palestinian people; and

4.3.3 To attack and to impugn the integrity of Mr Corbyn’s allies and associates in the Labour Party, so as to seek to ensure that their arguments, values and principles are pushed outside the boundaries of acceptable political debate.

4.4 Accordingly, we reiterate our request that the Campaign Against Antisemitism be removed from the Register of Charities.

 

Jewish Voice for Labour

 

 

 

Comments (32)

  • Mary Davies says:

    Brilliant work JVL.

  • DJ says:

    Good stuff. We need to expose these charlatans. Who actually funds this organisation?

  • Geoff Rouse says:

    For such an organisation to hide behind the badge of ‘charity’ is much like a coward being shot at and hiding behind a person in a wheelchair.

  • Naomi Wayne says:

    Very impressive – a real test for the Charity Commission!

  • Well done; surely you can get something into the mainstream media, Open Democracy or other widely read publications about this.

  • Ellie Palmer says:

    Thank you JVL for your tenacity integrity and intellectual rigour in challenging the CAA. Proud to be a member.

  • Simon Dewsbury says:

    According to what I can find on the Internet the Commission should report back within 20 working days or give a different timescale if it cannot be dealt with in that period. I hope they will be pressed for a speedy decision. Oh, and this is a very impressive submission.

  • Jon Grunewald says:

    Very glad to see this excellent, persuasive submission. I submitted my own complaint to the Charity Commission about CAA, back in April 2018. There was no acknowledgment from the Charity Commission. After I sent them reminders by letter and email, I eventually got an email in September 2018 from the “Office of the CEO” of the Charity Commission. It said:
    Thank you for your letter to the Chief Executive dated 21st August 2018, I do apologise that to date you have not yet received a response from the Charity Commission. I would like to assure you that we have received your original correspondence and it will be reviewed and assessed as part of casework undertaken by the Charity Commission in relation to Campaign Against Antisemitism. Please note it is not the Charity Commission’s policy to comment on live cases. Unquote

    So either they have been busily investigating the CAA for all this time, or the issue has been firmly kicked into the long grass.

  • Dr Rodney Watts says:

    I remember signing a petition to the Charities Commission about two years ago, organised by Tony Greenstein and garnering some 3000 signatures if my memory is correct. Clearly that effort was not successful, but JVL is to be commended for producing the detailed submissions.

  • Philip Ward says:

    I hate to say it, but I suspect this is not going to succeed. I don’t know what exactly happened to Tony Greenstein’s complaint to the charity commission, but it seems to have not been effective, given that the CAA still exists. In addition, Tony’s attempt to sue the CAA for calling him a “notorious antisemite” was not successful either, the judge deciding it was not a “statement of fact”, but rather one of “opinion” and therefore not defamatory. Because of that, whether or not you are accused of antisemitism under the IHRA definition is irrelevant to miluds: it’s only “opinion” anyhow. This suggests that the Charity Commission will be able to use similar arguments about the defamatory statements of the CAA. Of course, these decisions are utterly perverse, but we are talking about the English (and Welsh) legal system, so what do we expect?

  • sandy Palmer says:

    Excellent and thorough piece of work. Proud also to be a member of this organisation.

  • I sincerely hope that the Charity Commission does investigate because I sent it a comprehensive complaint in February 2017 and followed this up and it has stonewalled. At the same time it was cracking down hard on Muslim charities.

    There is a lot more that can be said about the CAA e.g. its support for ‘Hinduphobia’ the allegation by supporters of India’s nakedly racist government of Narendra Modi that anyone supporting Kashmiri independence or who supports the right of the Dalits or untouchables not to be discriminated against.

    Although the submission does not state it, it is clear to me that the Israeli state has played a large part in the activities of the CAA. I know for a fact that Falter has close relationships with the Israeli Embassy.

    What is also not mentioned is the relationship between the CAA and Silverman with the group of far-Right Zionists clustered around Jonathan Hoffman. On the Al Quds demonstration 2019 he was photographed with Danny Thomo, Tommy Robinson’s bodyguard, Mel Gharial – a link person between Robinson supporters and this group of Zionists and Paul Besser, ex Britain First.

    https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2020/09/campaign-for-free-speech-on-palestine.html

  • Max Cook says:

    Perfect

  • John Webster says:

    Excellent. Expose these people.

  • Hazel Davies says:

    Congratulations. A move long overdue. Well argued and referenced, covering all the important points.
    Thank you.

  • Gen Doy says:

    excellent. very informative. Good luck with this.

  • steve mitchell says:

    The accusations against Corbyn and the Labour Party are part and parcel of the insidious plan to destroy democracy in the UK. The country is in very grave danger of being ruled by a Far Right populist government in the near future. The CAA is not the only extreme conservative outriders to be granted charity status. In effect the taxpayer is subsidizing these institutions who have unlimited amounts of dark money from vastly wealthy individuals ,many of them foreign such as the Koch brothers in America . These institutions have nothing but contempt for democracy. They want a small state without any regulation. Johnson has already installed Russian oligarchs in the British legislature. Most are associates of Putin . Some have served in the Russian security services.
    The one institution that could have prevented a Far Right government ,the Labour Party is now effectively impotent thanks in part to the activities of Jewish groups who really should know better
    Netanyahu is cozying up with Neo Nazis in Hungary and Poland. With totalitarian Arab princes as well. If my fears come to pass the Jewish people will be in grave danger. Witness the attacks on George Soros by Orban.It will be self inflicted injury. It is absolutely essential you keep up the good work.

  • Anthony Sperryn says:

    Quite a lot more than a year ago, a senior Labour MP put on her Facebook page the question of when the Labour Party would end the scourge of anti-semitism in its ranks. I put the simple answer: “When the Israelis stop using the Palestinians as target practice.” I’m not aware of further comments from her on the topic since then.
    Clearly, the CAA is evil, with the notorious video particularly so, but, despite these truly superb submissions from Jewish Voice for Labour. one has to recognise that the Charities Commission is headed by a Tory ex-minister and may not be detached enough to deal with this matter properly.
    At the present time, democracy is faltering everywhere and, with the likes of CAA rampant, there will come a time when real anti-semitism takes hold.

  • ian kemp says:

    Excellent By JVL Send it to James O’Brian LBC Try the Guardian but under present editor doubtful I fear.

  • Margaret West says:

    Beautifully expressed ..

    I appreciate particularly your references to the current dangers to todays society of the far right.

    I certainly hope that your correspondent Philip Ward is wrong! I note his account
    of an attempt to sue the CAA and its failure. There is an inherent inconsistency in m’luds response which makes my head swim – the association of the IHRA document with “opinion” and the fact that it is a supposedly a definition.

  • rc says:

    Perhaps now is as good a time as any to review the (frankly, rather tiresome) mantra that there cannot/should not be any ‘hierarchy of oppression’.
    We are all against hierarchies, by definition…, are we not?…
    But the effective meaning of this slogan is that all oppressed groups are oppressed to the same extent, and therefore that prioritising one particular oppressed group, its oppression, and concentrating on its relief is anathema – a definite echo of the IHRA’s insistence that Israel must be criticised, if at all, only to the same extent that the would-be critic criticises other countries (on the purported sacred ‘truth’ that Israel as ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ cannot and must not be ‘singled out’ for its behaviour.
    All this is merely an elaborate form of ‘whataboutery’, the logic of which is to try to legislate political priorities. But as Nye Bevan put it, “the religion of socialism is the language of priorities”; indeed politics without priorities is almost meaningless.
    It is up to democratic (indeed, all) political organisations to determine their own priorities, taking into account the situation they address. If they are democratic, they will do so democratically (it would be nice if this were, contrary to the General Secretary’s proclamations, true of more than a slight smidgin of its policy making and other, including disciplinary, procedures ). But for external, especially unaffiliated, bodies, even or especially when masquerading as ‘stakeholders’ (what a revealing term!) to impose priorities upon the membership and affiliates of the LP, is wholly unacceptable.
    The faux-McPherson notion that each and every allegedly oppressed group must be the sole judge of its own oppression also needs to be discarded. Suffice it to recall the Nazi canard that Jews were domineering over and oppressing the Aryan Volk – now recycled in the more recent canard that indigenous white people in Europe and the USA are being subjected to ‘replacement’ (as chanted in Charlottesville by Trump’s ‘very good people’).
    So when we address racisms, let us concentrate on real and pressing problems, such as those that afflict the GRT and Windrush people and refugees in particular and genuine racial oppression at large – and look to working class politics to provide the tribune platform to sweep these oppressions away.

  • Dr ALAN MADDISON says:

    Not easy to cover so many complex aspects but the JVL team has done a great job. Well done.

  • Derek Evans says:

    Thank you JVL and your legal team. Where would we be without you?

  • Pete Rossetti says:

    Excellent and about time to!!!

  • Dr Rodney Watts says:

    Should the Charities Commission again fail to act I would be very inclined to inform HMRC, who are usually keen to ensure that tax receipts & disbursements are correctly administered. (according to the Law). In fact, in the light of the apparant failure of Tony Greenstein’s earlier submission I don’t think it would do any harm to make a submission to HMRC as soon as possible.

  • Kathy McCubbing says:

    Well done JVL. A succinct, coherent and clearly expressed argument. I look forward to seeing the response from the Charities Commission.

  • Allan Howard says:

    If people REALLY believed that Jeremy was an anti-semite and an existential threat to the Jewish community etc, then how come the other political parties didn’t refuse to engage with him or refuse to sit in the HoC when he was present, because if he really WAS what all these Jewish groups and organisations and Jewish newspapers and numerous MSM journalists and columnists *AND* the leadership of the Tory Party/Government and the LibDems claimed him to be, then the latter two would no way on this planet have accepted him and engaged with him as the leader of the opposition.

    And the fact that they DID says it ALL!

  • Looking at your submission again, Para. 4.1.2. re the Antisemitism Barometer 2019) (pp. 16-17 you refer to 6 questions as ‘leading’ and ‘mischievous’ which they are. But more to the point they have nothing to do with anti-Semitism. They refer exclusively to Israel not Jews. Israel is not a person but a state.
    These statements of course had one purpose and one only. To enable the CAA to now claim that antisemitism on the left was greater than that on the right, which it accomplished. Sure enough the media responded to these bogus and confected findings.
    In fact nothing had changed other than the fact that the CAA had added 6 new statements to its existing statements of what is anti-Semitic (many of which were dubious enough as it is)
    i) ‘Israel and its supporters are a bad influence on our democracy’.
    ii) ‘Israel can get away with anything because its supporters control the media’.
    iii) ‘Israel treats the Palestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews’.
    iv) ‘I am comfortable spending time with people who openly support Israel’.
    v) ‘Israel makes a positive contribution to the world.’
    vi) ‘Israel is right to defend itself against those who want to destroy it’.

  • Allan Howard says:

    I just came across the following yesterday from February 2017, which I must have missed at the time – ie a letter to the Guardian:

    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/feb/27/university-wrong-to-ban-israeli-apartheid-week-event

    I learnt of its existence from an ‘article’ on the CAAs website whilst doing some research, which was in fact their ‘reaction’ to the letter, which began as follows:

    On Monday, 244 academics attacked Campaign Against Antisemitism and the International Definition of Antisemitism in a letter published in The Guardian (and not for the first time either). The academics claimed that we were stifling criticism of Israel rather than acting against genuine Jew-hatred. It was not long before The Independent was repeating the claims.

    Neither paper had the decency to seek our comment before publishing the claims and indeed The Guardian initially refused to publish our reply to the letter.

    After we lodged a formal complaint against The Guardian and The Independent, The Guardian agreed to publish the following letter. We will continue to pursue the outstanding elements of our complaints.

    https://antisemitism.org/the-guardian-publishes-caa-letter-after-complaint-is-lodged/

  • Allan Howard says:

    I’m sure Tony (Greenstein) is aware of the following piece on CAAs website regarding him reporting the CAA to the Charity Commission in 2017, which I just came across in the results when I did a search on their website in relation to something else. It’s a fairly lengthy piece, and they make many claims in relation to Tony, all of course to paint him as an anti-semite, including that he has said that the Jews have inflated the Holocaust:

    Mr Greenstein regularly characterises the creation of Israel as “racist,” which is also in breach of the International Definition of Antisemitism by “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour)”. To boot, on his blogs he claims that Jews inflate the Holocaust in order to defend Israel, writing: “The holocaust has…been the alibi for every atrocity of the Israeli state.” However, under the definition: “Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust” is antisemitic.

    Needless to say Tony does NOT claim that Jews inflated or exaggerated the Holocaust, and the quote they use doesn’t say any such thing. In an article on his blog – which doesn’t appear to be dated – entitled: ‘Are You a Holocaust Believer? Neo-Nazi Facebook Group Masquerades as Anti-Zionist’, Tony says the following at the end of the piece:

    The Holocaust took place independently of the use that Zionism makes of it today. It is a historical fact. The Holocaust happened. Its chief perpetrators, Eichmann, Himmler and Hoess the commandant of Auschwitz, all admitted that the Holocaust took place.

    Anyway, here’s a link to the CAAs hatchet job on Tony:

    https://antisemitism.org/tony-greensteins-attempt-to-shut-down-campaign-against-antisemitism-showcases-the-similarities-between-far-left-and-far-right/

  • Jock Orkin says:

    I must declare my interest in this matter. My son works for the CAA and I applaud his efforts in confronting antisemitism in the UK.
    What I simply cannot understand is your refusal to acknowledge Jeremy Corbyn’s disdain for people who support Israel.Anyone who calls Hamas and Hezbollah his ‘friends’ and lays a wreath on the grave of a terrorist who murdered the Israeli athletes in Munich can hardly be a philosemite..Yet you claim that Mr. Corbyn is a wonderful friend of the Jewish people !

  • Allan Howard says:

    Can you provide any examples of Jeremy Corbyn’s disdain for people who support Israel Jock?

    And am I right in thinking that you have no problem with the way the Israeli state has treated the Palestinians during the past seventy years or more. As for terrorists, there are many who see the US and the UK and Israel as by far the biggest terrorists on the planet.

    https://skwawkbox.org/2019/07/09/fifty-times-jeremy-corbyn-stood-with-jewish-people/

    https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2019/12/03/historical-record-shows-jeremy-corbyn-is-a-defender-of-jews.html

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