JVL Statement in support of Cllr Jo Bird

Cllr Jo Bird. Photo: Wirral Globe

JVL Statement

6th March 2018

Jewish Voice for Labour condemns the suspension of our member and Bromborough councillor Jo Bird.  Jo is Jewish and  a courageous campaigner for justice and in the relatively short time that she has been a councillor has proved herself to be dedicated to the community that she represents.  Her suspension seems to be based on a bizarre interpretation of a light-hearted comment, not at all antisemitic, that she made in a speech last year in Manchester.

We support Jennie Formby in her commitment to implement fair procedures and proportionate sanctions where they are found to be necessary, however, we are extremely concerned at what seems to be a return to automatic suspensions.  Cllr Bird was speaking on behalf of JVL in support of Marc Wadsworth’s fight to clear his name.

We are Jews who are entirely comfortable in the Labour Party. But we are far from comfortable seeing the terrible history of the Jewish people exploited by those intent upon scuppering the best hope in decades for ordinary and vulnerable members of our society.

Shutting down comrades like Jo Bird and Chris Williamson weakens our capacity to fight the Tories and their cruel austerity agenda and their pernicious hostile environment. The hypocrisy of people like Theresa May and Amber Rudd calling our Party antisemitic beggars belief. We need to be attacking the Tories. Instead we are harassing people who are an asset to our movement

The message that the Labour Party is antisemitic is cruelly leading to genuine fear for some Jewish people at the same time as trying to silence the best allies against oppression, discrimination and hatred.  We are extremely concerned that while those who oppose the Corbyn project are once again ratcheting up the allegations of antisemitism, individuals are being picked off for daring to publicly reject the assertion that Labour is rife with antisemitism. This was shown to be false when General Secretary Jennie Formby provided clear information indicating extremely low levels of antisemitism in the Labour Party. But those who are determined to bring down Corbyn are relentlessly pursuing their agenda with the support of the mainstream media and the Establishment.  Like Jo Bird and Chris Williamson, we stand against the abuse of media and establishment power. It is this we oppose, not the necessary steps the party is taking to deal fairly with the small amount of antisemitism that does exist among Labour members and supporters.


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