Response to Board of Deputies 10 pledges document

A text version of this statement can be found at the end of our commentary below.

The Board of Deputies Ten Pledges to End the Antisemitism Crisis is staggering in its chutzpah.* This organisation, deeply unrepresentative of British Jewry, presumes in effect to dictate to a major political party how it should run its internal affairs.

Make no mistake these are not ten requests: they are ten demands and one threat. The threat to each of the candidates for leader of the Labour Party is in effect – accept our demands or we will attack you as enablers of antisemitism just as we contributed to making Jeremy Corbyn virtually unelectable. This not only brings shame on the Board of Deputies. It also brings danger to Jews living in the UK who will be seen as claiming a privileged place in determining how the country will be governed.

It is deeply regrettable that all the Leadership candidates have succumbed to this blackmail. It is to be hoped that they will undertake to consult widely within the party, listening to a range of voices, about the implications of some of these “pledges”.

The Board of Deputies

The Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) claims to speak for a British “Jewish Community” which is in reality mythological. The Board can make no claim to represent either the 20% or so of Jews who are Charedi, or the approximately 50% who are secular.

The Board’s strong hostility to the Labour Party long predates Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Indeed, its previous President Jonathan Arkush urged a vote for the Tories in 2015 when Ed Miliband (who was Jewish) was leader; and also welcomed the election of Donald Trump. The current BoD President Marie van der Zyl this last year enthusiastically welcomed Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister, despite his known racist credentials.

The Pledges

There is an implied narrative behind the Board of Deputies’ demands which is quite misleading. At a cursory glance it might appear that they are urging the Labour Party to: resolve outstanding cases of alleged antisemitism, ensure transparency in disciplinary procedures, provide no platform for bigotry, communicate with resolve and to show leadership and take responsibility. But even a cursory inspection of how they instruct the Labour Party to operationalise these calls reveals the Board’s sheer effrontery.

Some of the demands are more egregious than others. We will start with those impacting the Party’s internal disciplinary processes. To say that these have not run well would be an understatement. However their dysfunctionality was deliberately exploited by the party’s bureaucracy under Iain McNicol; and has been substantially repaired under his successor Jennie Formby, when the Party was finally able to replace him.

Demands 9 and 10 are, relatively, motherhood and apple pie. The others deserve close attention under a range of headings.

Justice

A first requirement of any disciplinary procedures is that they accord with principles of natural justice and due process. They must provide a framework for a fair hearing under transparent and non-arbitrary procedures. But the Board’s pledges display a cavalier disregard for justice.

Demand 1 is that all outstanding disciplinary cases should be swiftly concluded with a fixed timescale. That sounds good, but some cases are more complex than others. Those accused of something as serious as antisemitic behaviour must be allowed appropriate time to mount a defence, may need extra time because of serious illness, etc. Justice is complicated. The Board is simplistic. And underlying its attitude is the clear view that the only verdict that will satisfy the Board is ‘guilty’.

Demand 4 is that prominent offenders who were expelled or who left while under investigation should never be readmitted to membership. Never is a long time. The current Labour rules allow for the possibility of readmission after any offence, depending on behaviour, after a 5-year period. There is no reason, other than malice, that for this sole category of disciplinary finding the possibility of behavioural and attitudinal change should be excluded.

The aim of this demand is revealed by its inclusion of the word ‘prominent’. How can it be just or appropriate to specify different penalties for people depending on how well known they are or have become? How can it possibly be acceptable to single out people by name? The explanation is that the two people mentioned were prominent ‘scalps’ claimed by a political campaign to extend the meaning of antisemitism. This is political vengefulness.

Demand 3 is that “Jewish representative bodies” (read, BoD) be given access to details of ongoing disciplinary cases. The confidentiality owed to ongoing investigations into allegations that have not been established to have merit is to be tossed out of the window. It beggars belief: the BoD is demanding the right to information that would give them, and their allies on the right of the Party, the ability to put pressure on how individual cases are determined. Out goes the independence of the judicial process. And what about the breaking of hard-won data protection laws?

Who Will Control Labour?

Demand 2 is the very purest chutzpah. The demand is that processing of all complaints, in effect the whole disciplinary process, be outsourced to an independent provider. This would mean that the Party would lose control of who was entitled to be a member! No autonomous organisation could implement such a scheme, least of all a political party. It strikes at the very heart of the freedom to organise for political change in this country. Parties are voluntary associations of people who come together to achieve shared ends, within national legal constraints. Their freedom of discussion and action and of self-regulation is the very fabric of our democratic processes.

Freedom of Expression

Demand 5 is headed “Provide no platform for bigotry”. But honesty in advertising would require it to be retitled “No platform for those who disagree with us”. What it says is that when people are going through the out-of-control disciplinary process assured by Demand 2, and while the details of the investigation are being fed to the BoD and its allies as a result of Demand 3, any other members who argues publicly that this treatment is misguided or unjust will themselves be suspended – and indeed perhaps expelled. If enacted this would ensure that no members could challenge unjust or slanted decision-making. Because those that did so would very likely cease to be members.

What is to be punished?

Demand 6 – to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) “international definition of antisemitism” with all its subordinate clauses, without qualification – begs many questions. Apart from the fact that the Labour Party has already done precisely this (misguidedly in our view), the IHRA document has proved ineffective in actual disciplinary situations. This is because its definition of antisemitism is so confused and its examples highly contentious, with no rules as to how to resolve the inevitable resulting disagreements as to what is and what is not antisemitic. The document was never drafted as a legally binding document, as countless critics (including Ken Stern, its drafter) have affirmed.

It is telling that in September 2019 the BoD and the Community Security Trust jointly issued a document Protecting the Jewish Community from Antisemitism. Sensibly it contains a brief workable definition of antisemitism. But it is not the IHRA definition! Evidently the BoD recognises that the latter is not workable as a practical guide. The demand that the leadership candidates re-endorse the IHRA version is thus revealed as purely ideological. It has no bearing on dealing with antisemitism in the real world. It is merely an attempt to rub Labour’s nose in the dirt and show who is boss.

Who can speak for Jews?

Demands 7 and 8 both seek to define the “Jewish Community” by excluding many Jews – evidently the wrong sort. The right sort include those who run the Board, and the cadres of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). The JLM it should be pointed out refused to campaign for the great majority of Labour MPs at the recent general election. It does not require its members to be either Jewish or in the Labour Party.

Demand 7 is that all Labour Party internal training in antisemitism should be carried out by JLM. For two years from 2016 the aggressively pro-Israel JLM did indeed deliver the Labour Party’s antisemitism training. Its course content was both didactic and dogmatic, based on the supposedly revealed truth of the controversial IHRA document. When in 2018 the Labour Party asked them to revise their approach JLM walked away in a huff. Now they want it back, but on their own terms. Demand 7 is that they be given it.

Demand 8 extends the same monocular approach to the UK’s Jews as a whole. The Labour Party is required to agree to communicate only with ‘mainstream’ Jewish Groups. That is to demand the exclusion of two-thirds of the country’s Jews. Why would they be so afraid that Labour might communicate with the wrong sort of Jews? The  Jewish Chronicle had a ready answer when it reported Demand 8 as being ‘to engage with the Jewish community via its “main representative groups and not through fringe organisations” such as Jewish Voice for Labour (emphasis added)’. Are our demands for a pluralistic vision of the Jewish communities in Britain really so much of a threat that contact with them is contamination? For the Board is demanding, in essence, that expression of our views be banned in the Labour Party.

Oy Vey.


* Chutzpah derives from the Yiddish, meaning audacity, insolence, impudence, gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, presumption, arrogance…

_________________

The “Ten pledges to end the antisemitism crisis” published by the Board of Deputies of British Jews on 12 January 2020 – text version

 

  1. Resolve outstanding cases

All outstanding and future cases should be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale.

  1. Make the Party’s disciplinary process independent

An independent provider should be used to process all complaints, to eradicate any risk of partisanship and factionalism.

  1. Ensure transparency

Key affected parties to complaints, including Jewish representative bodies, should be given the right to regular, detailed case updates, on the understanding of confidentiality.

  1. Prevent readmittance of prominent offenders

It should be made clear that prominent offenders who have left or been expelled from the party, such as Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker, will never be readmitted to membership.

  1. Provide no platform for bigotry

Any MP, peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.

  1. Adopt the international definition of antisemitism without qualification

The IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all its examples and clauses, and without any caveats, will be fully adopted by the party and used as the basis for considering antisemitism disciplinary cases.

  1. Deliver an anti-racism education programme that has the buy-in of the Jewish community

The Jewish Labour Movement should be engaged by the Party to lead on training about antisemitism.

  1. Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups

Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through fringe organisations and individuals.

  1. Communicate with resolve

Bland, generic statements should give way to condemnation of specific harmful behaviours – and, where appropriate, condemnation of specific individuals.

  1. Show leadership and take responsibility

The leader must personally take on the responsibility of ending Labour’s antisemitism crisis.

 

 

Comments (59)

  • Sheena says:

    Disgraceful, undemocratic, immoral, vindictive and effectively blackmail demands. Dear God what is happening.

  • Rita Craft says:

    Good to see that JVL has immediately rebutted the “10 Pledges.”
    Has this document been sent individually to the Labour Party Leadership candidates, requesting a response from each of them?

  • Mary Davies says:

    Shocking. Undemocratic. BoD want to control the Labour Party. We can’t allow it. Yet the leadership candidates have signed up to it. Cowardly.

  • Elizabeth Racki says:

    Thank you JVL for the clarifications.

  • Adrian C says:

    Thanks for the link to the BoD and CST publication. It’s telling that they are not themselves using the IHRA definition and examples, which to my legal mind are a complete dog’s breakfast.

    Their definition seems in fact perfectly sensible and is worth setting out. It reads as follow: CST defines an antisemitic incident is any malicious act aimed at Jewish people, organisations or property, where there is evidence that the incident has antisemitic motivation or content, or that the victim was targeted because they are (or are believed to be) Jewish.

    The question, not least for leadership candidates, is why the BoD themselves use one definition, but seek to impose another on the Labour Party. I think we probably know the answer to that, but would-be leaders should be asked.

  • Gerry Glyde says:

    Thanks for this comprehensive statement and analysis. The threat to natural justice is shocking beyond belief, as is the meek acceptance of the sands by the candidates

    This comment is probably enough to put me on the list of suspect characters. We have to stand up to tyrany

  • Tony Graham says:

    Chutzpah indeed. Well done JVL in calling out the BoD on some of its more galling demands and arguments.

    The JVL will not be alone in suspecting motives here other than combatting anti-semitism. And here’s my point: while this window is still open, we need to reach out to those who have doubts, who do not feel represented by the BoD, who may not agree with us on everything but want at least the opportunity to consider important principles of justice, democracy and the fight against racism, principles that are in danger of being abandoned. The indecent rush of leadership candidates across the spectrum to sign up to these pledges reveals not just a loss of nerve and ‘defensiveness’ but also a failure to make our case more broadly in the party and beyond. This will involve shifting the terms of the debate away from the truly bizarre notion that the biggest problem we face is anti-semitism in the LP.

    To begin to remedy this, how about:
    1. Responding to the BoD’s ten commandments with ten of our own. These should include how we can really fight antisemitism, urging the need for a united campaign amongst all those who really want to take action.
    2. To call for a broad debate about anti-semitism – ie not just between us and the BoD – but including jurists, Palestinians, Israelis, Jews of all hues, anti-fascists, trade unionists, campaigners and so on. If this becomes perceived solely as a spat between JVL and the BoD, we are likely to lose (witness the response so far of the ‘left’ candidates).

    It is incumbent on us to broaden the debate, seek allies, involve those who are not necessarily with us on every last jot, and not allow ourselves to get pushed into a tiny space occupied only by us and some relatively small sectors of the Labour and extra-Labour left.

  • Totally agree with the JVL’s response!
    The leadership candidates’ signing up for the BoD’s ‘10 pledges’ is scandalous and must be reversed.
    We can’t have a leader of Labour who gives into blackmail like this.
    Stephen Kapos
    H&StP CLP, KT branch member,
    Child Holocaust survivor,
    15 family members killed by the Nazis ( Hungary).

  • Martin Davidson says:

    Another way to sum up is to point out that the BoD is really a Tory Zionist clique with a superiority complex. Zionism seems to against the basic tenets of Judaism, therefore Zionists cannot be considered to be true Jews.

    A friend of mine sums up the above article as:
    “A very well argued response to an amazingly arrogant proposal.”

  • Jim Denham says:

    The main problem with the ‘Ten Points’ is the idea that the problem of antisemitism within the Party can be dealt with mainly through administrative and disciplinary measures, with only a passing nod to addressing the issue as a political problem requiring education – and even then in the form of the pledge about the JLM leading not education but “training”.

    If the issue of whether to back the pledges were to arise in a CLP, serious leftists will need to make a judgement call about the composition of the meeting and the nature of the debate. If opposition to endorsing the pledges is led and shaped by antisemites (as much of the opposition to the IHRA was), I’d suggest focusing the argument against those people and perhaps abstaining. In situations where opposition to endorsement of the pledges can be made in the context of a clear acceptance of the reality of antisemitism within the Party and the need to oppose it on a better basis, that would be the correct stance.

  • David Selzer says:

    McCarthyism, it would seem, is alive and well!

  • Philip Ward says:

    “The demand that the leadership candidates re-endorse the IHRA version is thus revealed as purely ideological. It has no bearing on dealing with antisemitism in the real world. It is merely an attempt to rub Labour’s nose in the dirt and show who is boss.”

    I think the last sentence is only a partial answer: after all, support for the Palestinian struggle is being muffled not only in the LP, but in institutions in many countries the world over by the demand that they adopt the IHRA definition. This is the main aim of the campaign. That it might destroy the LP in the process is collateral damage, brought on entirely by the right in the Labour Party (and many on the left) themselves.

    To cap it all, Jewish News has announced a “hustings” hosted by Robert Peston on 13th February at which at least five of the leadership candidates are speaking (Thornberry not yet confirmed). No point in trying to go: within 6 hours, all the tickets had gone. You can see from the article how “representative of the ‘Jewish Community'” the audience is likely to be:

    https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-news-to-co-host-jewish-labour-leadership-debate/

    I’m increasingly coming to think this leadership election is a dead duck as far as the labour left is concerned. RLB has just been “endorsed” by 10% of Momentum’s members (and about 0.7% of the Labour party’s). Perhaps it would be best is the left refused to support any of the candidates so kindly offered to us by the PLP and tried to make sure the winner’s “mandate” was as small as possible?

    JVL could play a role by officially coming out and campaigning against a vote for anyone supporting the BoD’s Ten Commandments?

  • geoff rouse says:

    This is merely a continuation of the campaign to destroy the labour party. Zionist (mostly non Jews) are forcing their will on the nation by pretending they are the voice of Jews in the UK and using the board of deputies as a ‘front’. Of course the media are right there with them.

  • Alasdair MacVarish says:

    It is sad that all nominees have felt obliged to agree to this. It will not do any good as the BoD and JLM can not be appeased but will be back with further demands for privilege. As with the Balfour Declaration, this will redound to the disadvantage of all Jews as ordinary members resentment grows.

  • John Bowley says:

    The odd BoD demands are disgraceful. The way in which would-be leaders so facilely rushed to pledge to the destructive demands, apparently without much thinking about the implications, seems odd, indeed rather suggestive.

    Thank you again, JVL, for setting out some more relevant facts.

  • Emile Du Toit says:

    Martin Davidson your comment that “Zionists are not true Jews” exposes you as ignorant.
    Have you read The Gemorrah and other Jewish texts ??
    You are the typical ill informed person who trots out cliches with limited understanding thereof.
    To debate with you would be a waste of time.

  • Simon Dewsbury says:

    Jim Denham suggests above that much of the opposition to the IHRA was led by antisemites. As usual with such smears, it’s unevidenced. So Geoffrey Bindman and Stephen Sedley (let alone Ken Stern) are antisemites? Really?

  • John Byng says:

    You are quite right. These demands defy natural justice and the legal requirement for confidentiality concerning membership of the party. And the Board of Deputies has shown that it is not impartial but supports the Tory party.

  • Jenny Kassman says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the vast majority of comments which have already been made. The BoD is a disgrace and has conducted itself shamefully, probably causing more anti-semitism than preventing it. I do question their real motives in producing this document.
    I also believe that JVL’s excellent response to the 10 pledges should be reaching a wider public. For example: articles and letters to the press (not just the Guardian, but also the Mirror and the i – and perhaps the Daily Mail to stir things up!)
    We could organise a (noisy) protest outside the BoD’s offices while our Chairs & other JVL officials deliver our responses personally. Have we ever had an open discussion with members of the BoD? What about considering joint action with members of the Charedi community?
    In case some of you haven’t already seen it, I do recommend watching The Lobby USA (brought out in 2018 and which goes into far more detail than the earlier Lobby UK). Here’s the link: https://electronicintifada.net/content/watch-film-israel-lobby-didnt-want-you-see/25876

  • Paul Leach says:

    I’d call them the Ten Commandments!

  • The outrageous demands of the BoD are nothing short of political blackmail and as such, they are in fact an assault on British democracy. Point blank.
    And as regards chutzpah (which actually was borrowed by the Yiddish from the Hebrew) – it translates primarily as ‘impertinence’ or ‘cheek’.
    The BoD, however, has gone far beyond that. This assault on democracy is being carried out by (and this is another Yiddish borrowing from the Hebrew) MESHUGENERS (lunatics, a crazy lot).
    What motivates them is the sheer madness of incurable bigots, driven by hatred of everything progressive and vindictiveness towards those who have dared to challenge them.
    It is the same bigotry they try to accuse Labour with, which actually makes them tick.
    There is a saying about people of that ilk in the Talmud:
    “Those who disqualify, do it with their own imperfection”.

  • Andrew Hornung says:

    I agree with what Mike has written, but what JVL should be doing now is circulating a model resolution for CLPs. Mike’s response is fine for those, like us, who are focussed on this issue, but a model resolution will help us take our message to a broader audience in the Party.
    A second point: I’m shocked at the stance taken by Jim Denham. What he recommends is not a nuanced approach but a pusillanimous approach. In his contribution to these Comments he talks of the anti-semites opposing the IHRA document. If he means anti-semites in any normal understanding of the term, I can only say that my impression – certainly the case in my own CLP – is that the proponents of the document were all from the right or the don’t-rock-the-boat centre of the Party and its opponents were the left, including the only regularly active Jewish members. No anti-semites. Why? Because there aren’t any in my CLP although allegations of anti-semitism have been made against seven and the JLM’s Vice Chair has called for the whole CLP to be suspended. Wake up, Jim, this is the beginning of a full-scale McCarthy-ite purge and you’re on the wrong side.

  • Mike Scott says:

    [JVL web: we’d like to draw your attention to a reworked version of the motion below in the comment on this article below

    Two points: we have to say loudly and frequently that the BoD, JLC, etc are not speaking as Jews, they’re speaking as Tories and that to hand over crucial aspects of the LP organisation to the Tories beggars belief!

    Secondly, we need to fight back, not just analyse. I’ve put together an Emergency Motion for my CLP, which is printed below – please use this or some variation as soon as possible. If we don’t get our side of the story out pretty quickly, we’re dead in the water!

    EMERGENCY MOTION

    This CLP utterly condemns the ultimatum to the Labour Party and its leadership candidates by the Jewish Board of Deputies.

    To accept their “Ten Pledges” (attached) would be to put the Labour party under the permanent control of an undemocratic right-wing group and prevent any attempt to speak up for the Palestinian people against a hard-right Israeli government. It is an unprecedented and quite blatant attack on free speech.

    We note that:

    • The Jewish Board of Deputies represents only the minority of British Jews who attend certain synagogues and that some of those synagogues refuse to allow women to vote.
    • The Chief Rabbi has described Boris Johnson as “a longstanding friend of the Jewish community” and congratulated him warmly on his election as Conservative Party leader.
    • The former Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council is now Chief Executive of the Conservative Party
    • The Jewish Labour Movement, which is affiliated to the Labour Party, is in no sense a representative organisation, in that its members don’t have to be Labour Party members and don’t even have to be Jewish. Further, it is only open to people who are explicitly Zionist and therefore excludes many left wing Jews.
    • All of the above organisations have refused to meet with the Jewish Voice for Labour group to discuss their views on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in a calm and civilised way.
    • Independent research carried out by Jewish and other organisations has clearly shown that anti-Semitism is more common on the right of politics than the left.
    • All of these facts are well-documented and easy to confirm.

    We call on both the NEC and all leadership candidates to condemn the attacks on the Labour Party and its members unless and until independently–verified evidence of anti-Semitism is produced.

  • Victoria says:

    Thank you for your valuable work, it prompted me to become a Solidarity member, and my husband has joined too.
    I lived in South Africa under apartheid; what is happening now chills or boils my blood.

  • Jan Robson says:

    Thankyou. Please forward this intelligent response to the media over and over again. There’s a lot a stake here. I learnt a lot from my beautiful Jewish friends. How can it be anti Semitic to criticise Israeli government policy.?

  • Thank you for another great article. What I found disturbing about then ten ‘pledges’ is the fact that at least two could be considered to be anti-Semitic. I refer to pledges 4 and 8. I find it rather reprehensible that the Board of Deputies thinks they have a right to say they speak for all Jews when so many Jewish people are excluded from the process of electing members to the Board of Deputies.

  • Jacquie Montgomery says:

    It is an obvious attempt to stifle discussion on Palestine and to help the elitists around and in the Labour Party to keep control and ensure socialism never has another chance of winning.

  • John Coates says:

    Thank you JVL for publishing a thoughtful and constructive response to the outrageous demands of the BoD.
    Shame on those candidates for leadership roles in our Labour Party who have rolled over and endorsed such demands in such a spineless way.
    If we do not have the courage to call out this blackmail now, then we will never stop running.

  • Mike O'Sullivan says:

    Were the same demands made to the candidate’s during the tory, libdem, UKIP, brexit party, SNP etc leadership elections and if not, why not?

  • I am Jewish by birthright from my grandmother of the Levy clan , I have never been so disgusted as to what the BOD has prepossed the new leader of the Labour Party sign before election , We the paid up members of the Labour Party joined it Because we believe in democracy ,and a social party that serves All not just one set of people ,there will always be someone who has to stoke the fire with vile words because they have a problem (usually of their being) Not only Anti Semitic,but on Gender, Colour, Creed , Sexuality,Race, or intelligence , in All political parties ,on the board of Companies , in All walks of life where there are a group of people with a point of view , It is beyond belief that the BOD thinks it Can demand the Labour Party gives them the right to Tell the members that you do as we say or your OUT

  • Vera Lustig says:

    Excellent response on the part of JVL. I also heartily endorse the comments above. and agree that some of the clauses could be construed as anti-Semitic. I feel personally targeted by the Board’s pledges, given that I’m a secular, pro-Palestinian Jew and a signatory of Jews for Justice for Palestinians..

    To ask why these pledges haven’t been presented to the Tories is not whataboutery, as this omission would suggest that the BoD has some kind of agenda regarding Labour; not only are the BoD acting in a way that is seriously undemocratic and illegal, but it is also discriminatory. If the Board really cared about anti-Semitism, they would pursue it wherever it manifested..

    I’ll be supporting Keir in the leadership contest. Like the other candidates, he’s been placed in a near-impossible position by the Board’s actions: we really need to take on the Tories right now, with the climate crisis and Brexit pressing in on us. We shouldn’t have to be grappling with a bunch of ideologues who claim to represent British Jewry.

  • John Spencer says:

    The five leadership candidates who have accepted the BoD’s demands shouldn’t kid themselves that will be the end of the matter. As Tony Greenstein wittily observed the people running this campaign can’t take yes for an answer.

  • Rita Rowley says:

    I fully concur with this response.
    Trying to dictate terms such as the 10 above is in danger of being counterproductive .

  • Mary-Christine Michel says:

    My first request (note, NOT demand) would require that this document be sent to the Tory party which has been proven by stringent research to have more antisemitism, islamophobia and racism in all it’s dimensions in it’s membership than ever existed historically or currently in the Labour Party. Tell them to roll up this arrogant toilet paper document and stick it up where the sun doesn’t shine. It does not deserve to see the light of day. Chutzpah indeed!

  • Deela says:

    ‘Crisis’? what ‘crisis’?

  • Martin Fahey says:

    Excellent response. These demands have absolutely nothing to do with addressing anti-semitism, (unfortunately, I fear they are more likely promote it!)
    They do have everything to do with dismantling a political opposition to the right wing conservatism which more properly represents the real, if masked, interests of those who advocate this sham.

  • A very clear & well considered deconstruction of the BOD 10 Demands.

    I doubt that the they wiil adopted after scrutiny by the NEC, the members & Conference.

  • Steve Cohen says:

    So we are repeatedly told that British politics is awash with ‘Antiseptic Tropes’ and ‘Canards’, yet here we have a group of Supremacist Self Chosenites dictating how a political party should be run. This is truly shocking and should be exposed everywhere as an example of their duality.

  • Dr Rodney Watts says:

    Thank you once again JVL for providing the above statement, and also for the number of quality comments. I am in the process of writing up an appraisal of Jewish influences on the Lib Dem Party, as the sole Jewish member of the LibDems4freespeech group which shares so many of JVL’s concerns. Your statements are useful references.
    Mike O’Sullivan, you ask whether the BoD have influenced other leadership campaigns. Well, perhaps not so drastically, but the answer is yes- along with the CAA. The dreadful smears by Jo Swinson et al were encouraged by them and, of course, by Luciana Berger. Thank God the toxic duo were not elected!. We were amused by BoD’s defence committee member being reported to police for trashing Luciana’s office: https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/police-called-tory-supporting-lawyer-jonathan-metliss-luciana-berger-finchley-golders-green-1.493018
    Let me say that I was so incensed by our leadership’s gutter politics that I did in fact vote for the decent Labour PPC, former MP, and now current MP.

  • The JVL are very knowledgeable and caring people and in my opinion their voices should be heard above the BoDs
    The JVL work hard for the Labour party and are always quick to give members advise on what they can and cant say .

    They are a very caring group who condem real forms of antisemitism and all forms of Racism .And they were quick to come out and defend members and the leader Jeremy Corbyn when they could see accusations against them of antisemitism were false . For Defending the Leader and the members and also for condemning the Israeli Government for what it was doing to the Palastinian People Just like any one else with care and compassion for their fellow human beings would condem not only the Israeli Government but any other Government who were acting like this . And Yet for this they were condemned by the BoDs and others and were told they were not the right kind of Jew . Which in my opinion this was a disgracefull statement to make against such lovely caring people like the JVL .
    We can not let the BoDs demand what the party can do or say just because it does not fit in with them .and their views .

    We are a democratic party who democraticly elect our Leader,Our Deputy Leader, and Our Disciplinary Panals as wellas any othe panels and committees
    So we should not allow a group like the BoDs who do not represent all the Jewish Communiites and we should make people aware of this .
    We are a party that likes to welcome people from all walks of life and it’s worked well over the years .And one none affiliated group should not be allowed to dictate or demand what we can and cant do as a party .

    I must say I have enjoyed the above comments by the JVL And in my opinion I think these good people who believe in the party and go out and campaign for it
    Should have more of a say in party matters Espicially in dealing with accusations of antisemitis and other forms of Racism because of their knowledge of the meaning of antisemitism and that knowing that every case which I hope there is not a lot would be dealt with daily and not confirmed untill all proof was in

    Let’s be honest no one in the Labour Party wants to see any forms of antisemitism and other forms of Racism because it’s wrong and should be eradicated once and for all
    But this will not be solved over night It needs people to be educated and explained to on what you are allowed to say and what you are not allowed to say .This way people will be in no doubt about it because they will know what the Real Meaning of antisemitism and other forms of Racism is and it would prevent people saying things that could cause hurt to others .

    Sorry to go on with such a long comment But I feel very strongly about this subject and the need for it to be sorted out by the ruling body in the labour party But without allowing the Demands from the BoDs or other such none affiliated groups of interfering in a Democratic Parties Matters in order for them to force their alternative motives on it and its members because they demand the party does .

    Thank you for allowing me to comment
    Tommy O Neill

  • different frank says:

    There will be real ACTUAL antisemitism.
    The BOD would be culpable for causing it.
    Reap what you sow.
    Then the boy that cried wolf will have no one to listen to them.
    The Tories align with actual antisemitism in Europe.

  • different frank says:

    I think the party should also embrace the teachings of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as well, as there is the same amount of evidence for both.
    ZERO.
    Wearing a colander should be enshrined into law.

  • different frank says:

    The British order of Pixies also want a ten point plan for Labour to adhere to.
    Also the league of sky faeries want their 10 point plan to be adhered to as well.

  • J.J Davis says:

    How can a major political party allow itself to be controlled like this? I recently joined this party so I can vote in the leadership contest. I’m probably going to cancel my membership.

  • Christopher Richardson says:

    Thanks for this detailed explanation of the BoD demands. It needs to be circulated widely in the Labour Party.
    Many thanks,. Chris Richardson, supporter member JVL.

  • Jan Marsden says:

    Leadership candidates should receive this article and be asked to respond giving their reasons why they signed up to these demands given the powerful reasons why should not have done so.

  • Mrs JOANNE BLICK says:

    This article is a clear, concise summary of recent attempts to destroy the labour movement in the UK by creating a false impression of its ability to police a singled out example of internal extremism. That these allegations of widespread anti-Semitic membership come from right-wing groups whom are not necessarily even members, illustrates the propoganda.

    No political party could be totally void of hard-line or extreme members. Even the center has its examples.

    Read the article. It makes sense.

  • Marge says:

    The Jewish Board of Deputies are clearly making outrageous demands with their mock Ten Commandments, and the demands must be rejected. But I don’t think the JVL’s response is what is needed, but rather something else. Why? First, this response will not convince the BOD of anything (although maybe nothing else would either). But more importantly, the response should be aimed at convincing everyone else that the BOD’s demands should be rejected. By everyone else, I mean the great majority of people inside and outside the Labour Party who have no idea what this is all about, let alone why those demands are not legitimate. Yes, it’s very discouraging that the leadership candidates responded the way they did. But it was really traumatic being told on the doorstep by supporters of the Labour Party that they wouldn’t vote for us because of anti-semitism. It’s an important reason why we lost the election. We have yet to answer all those voters, let alone everyone else who believes the BOD’s claims, not only that anti-semitism is not rife in the Party but also that the Party is doing something credible about what is there. Having succeeded so well in their character assassination of Jeremy Corbyn, the BOD seems to have decided to make everyone else running scared that they’ll be next. Same threat, new victims. They must be very pleased with themselves at the immediate response, but don’t blame the victims! We need to prove the BOD is wrong. Prove, not assert. Secondly, we have to make it clear to the whole country who the BOD do and do not represent or speak for in their mythical “Jewish community”. How? How do we do that?

  • Margaret yip says:

    I disagree with the BoD. I certainly object to Labour MP,s signing up to it . I found the slander of Mr Corbyn on ante-semitism an absolute disgrace. If as much energy was put into fighting the crimes of Netanyahu and lsrael , maybe innocents would still be alive !! .

  • Gregory Douglas says:

    JVL’s statement on the Board of Deputies demands is excellent, but a major problem with dealing with this Zionist campaign is the understanding of what is meant by ‘antisemitism’. Most Jews have experienced this at some time in their lives and we know it means hatred or prejudice directed at Jewish people as Jews. It can be revealed in violent acts, but also in unjustified beliefs and covert opinions on what Jews are or do. Some Jews claim that Israel is central to their lives and that criticism of Israel is intrinsically antisemitic. These latter have made a political choice to make Israel central to their lives and the rest of us who don’t, have the right to contest this without being guilty of personal hatred directed at those Jews who do.
    While this is understood by many secular Jews, the bulk of non-Jews are mostly unaware of this, to them, subtle distinction and we must work to educate them. There is a kind of group guilt among non-Jews about the Holocaust as if it were their fault that it wasn’t prevented and often they have a gut reaction to support Jewish spokespersons who make accusations of antisemitism. Right wing Zionists speak like victims and play upon the guilt factor.That is why they don’t want possible future leaders of the Labour Party to talk to other Jewish opinion different to theirs. Somehow we have to get through to the Labour Party contenders for leader and deputy and explain our interpretation of antisemitism and show them that they are victims of a huge Zionist con trick which contributed to deposing Jeremy Corbyn and threatens to further divide the Labour Party,
    We need to contact these candidates and ask them to talk to us in the name of unity. For example Keir Starmer has been talking very much about uniting the party.We should emphasise to him and the others that acceptance of the BoD pledges can only divide the party further.

  • Matthew says:

    Sounds like having their cake and eating it all to be validated by Jews with hardline views !

  • Christine Anne Fitzsimons says:

    Stop pandering to that lot. They speak for a very, very few of the Jewish communities.

  • Dee Coombes says:

    An excellent response to the demands of the BoD. I fully endorse it. The intention of the 10 demands is to make those of us who are deeply critical of the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli government, walk away or face exclusion from the party. I, for one, won’t be leaving.

  • David Scott says:

    The BoD should be told to go and do one.

  • Malcolm Thwaite says:

    Well called out JVL.

  • Alan Marsden says:

    This is a an excellent basis for building a case for the Labour Candidates to withdraw their endorsement of the 10 Commandments and for the Labour Party to revisit its acceptance of the flawed IHRA definition. I speak as someone forced to resign from the Labour Party after anonymous accusations of AS. I resigned because I wanted to avoid the mud slinging and save the Party any difficulties.

  • Ray hall says:

    Labour party members will decide their own policies

  • Tom Loeffler says:

    I offer to comrades the following version of an Emergency motion, which is based on one I drafted after the JVL meeting on 12 January and on Mike Scott’s proposal for one on this Comments page.
    Tom
    ———————-
    EMERGENCY MOTION

    This CLP utterly condemns the attempt by the Board of Deputies of British Jews (the ‘Board of Deputies’) to interfere in the Labour Party’s internal affairs under the guise of dealing with the “anti-Semitism crisis”.

    Anti-Semitism is a form of racism and must be dealt with by the Party firmly and effectively in the same way as other forms of racism. However, the allegation of an “anti-Semitism crisis” in the Party is based on greatly exaggerated claims, and many of the most frequently cited examples have been shown to be either entirely false or based on statements taken out of context. The Labour Party General Secretary Jennie Formby reported in July 2019 that ‘Anti-Semitism-related cases that have been taken through the stages of our disciplinary procedures since September 2015 relate to roughly 0.06% of the Party’s average membership during this time’. To talk of an “anti-Semitism crisis” is a massive distortion of the facts.

    To accept the Board of Deputies’ “Ten pledges” (Annex 1) would be to put the Labour party under the permanent control of an external body which has given abundant evidence of its hostility to the Party, and to prevent any attempt to speak up in support of justice for the Palestinian people. It is an unprecedented and quite blatant attack on free speech. The Board of Deputies in any case has no right to instruct the Party on how to run its internal affairs.

    A particularly serious aspect of the “Ten pledges” is Pledge 5, which seeks to outlaw any attempt by Party members to draw attention to miscarriages of justice within the Party’s disciplinary procedures.

    We note that:
    • The Board of Deputies represents only a minority of British Jews – those who attend certain synagogues or who are members of particular Jewish community organisations. It does not represent either ultra-orthodox or the many secular Jews.
    • The Jewish Labour Movement, which is affiliated to the Labour Party, to the Board of Deputies and to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, includes among its objectives “to promote the centrality of Israel in Jewish life”.
    • The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Labour Movement have refused to meet with the Jewish Voice for Labour group to discuss rationally their claims of extensive anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
    • Independent research carried out both by Jewish and by non-Jewish organisations has clearly shown that anti-Semitism is more common on the right of politics than the left.

    We resolve:
    • to call on the NEC and on all leadership and deputy leadership candidates to totally reject the Board of Deputies’ “Ten pledges” as an unwarranted intrusion into the Labour Party’s internal affairs;
    • to call on both the NEC and on all leadership and deputy leadership candidates to reject the unsubstantiated assertions of an “anti-Semitism crisis” in the Labour Party;
    • to further call on the NEC to request the Board of Deputies to provide the NEC with full evidence for any new claims of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party whilst committing itself to strict confidentiality in order not to prejudice the outcome of any investigation.

    [ANNEX 1: Text version of the Board of Deputies’ “Ten pledges” – to be added before submitting the motion]

  • Margaret West says:

    I completely agree with the response and the suggested motion.

Comments are now closed.