The Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) has made a submission to the EHRC and the Forde Enquiry reporting that the Labour Party have created a “climate of hostility” towards certain sections of British Jewry and is actively and disproportionately purging Jewish members of the party who hold certain political beliefs, born out of their personal Jewish identity but which conflict with the political beliefs of the current right wing Labour administration and right wing sections of British Jewry.
JVL reports that “almost five times more Jewish than non-Jewish Labour members have faced complaints of antisemitism” and they estimate that “JVL members have been subject to actioned antisemitism complaints at a rate 20 times greater than non-Jewish Labour members.” The attack has been relentless and is escalating with a recent call, from one MP, to proscribe JVL. It’s understood that the Party is now even discouraging CLPs from affiliating to JVL.
JVL claim that the Labour Party has now adopted a policy that seeks to “delegitimise Jewish dissent” and are deliberately excluding any Jews who do not subscribe to a specific Jewish identity, represented by right wing Jewish groups, with whom the party feels politically aligned. JVL reports that the party is now, in fact, “collaborating with these groups”.
If true, this seems to be an unprecedented move by a major British political party to control Jewish political diversity within it’s own membership and to distance itself from large sections of British Jewry. It seems Starmer’s Labour are more than happy to stoke Jewish sectarianism and even to take sides by acting against Jewish members who do not belong to their ‘favoured’ sect. This would be akin to a political party suddenly deciding to adopt a policy where it would only welcome Church of England Christians and would work to delegitimise, disenfranchise and exclude Protestants and Catholics. Similarly, let’s imagine Labour suddenly deciding that only Sunni Muslims and their views would be tolerated and all Shi’ites, Baha’is and Ahmadiyyas had to be excluded and delegitimised as Muslims? Unthinkable? Of course! So why is the Labour right so emboldened to think that it can stoke Jewish sectarianism and appoint itself as some kind of authority on what constitutes legitimate Jewish faith?
Frankly, the findings of the JVL report are truly shocking. What appears to be the case is that the Labour Party has aligned itself with a section of the Jewish diaspora that supports Zionism and is prepared to exclude and delegitimise all others (excluding an estimated 40% of all British Jews). In fact, a Guardian poll in 2015 found that 58% of British Jews felt that Israel “will be seen as an apartheid state if it tries to retain control over borders that contain more Arabs than Jews”, suggesting that as much as 58% of all British Jews did not support Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories (a core tenet of modern day Zionism) and so would not be welcome in the Labour Party.
As a group, JVL welcomes all Jewish identities but is very vocal about not supporting the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and calls out the Israeli government’s human rights abuses, their apartheid policies and their often violent, and frequently lethal, treatment of the Palestinian people. It seems that this is the political dissent that the, new, exclusively pro-Zionist Labour Party, under Keir Starmer, wishes to silence.
JVL members report that the Labour Party has created a hostile environment for non-Zionist Jews, many of whom no longer feel safe in the Party. According to JVL, the party is actively discriminating, victimising and harassing it’s non-Zionist Jewish members – actions which, they say, feel reminiscent of the persecution endured by their Jewish ancestors over many centuries.
By these actions, the Labour Party has effectively sought to tell all British Jews that the only voice they are permitted to have in the Labour Party is that represented by virulently Zionist groups, such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD), despite the fact that the BOD is estimated to represent less than a third of all British Jews and the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM).
Additionally, the party appears to have come up with its own, rather convenient, definition of anti-Semitism. A definition that allows the party to exclude and delegitimise all Jews who do not support the current Labour administration’s right wing political brief, including supporting Zionism. Effectively, this is a British political party defining Jewishness for all British Jews and excluding and delegitimising any Jews who don’t support their political agenda and dissenting voices are slandered as racists for what they call interfering with “the Party’s ability to campaign against racism.”
JVL also reports that, rather than working to fulfil their promise to tackle anti-Semitism within the party, Labour’s new policy completely ignores complaints of anti-Semitism and bullying reported by JVL members. They’ve even excluded JVL from a consultation over the membership of a new Advisory Board (recommended by the EHRC), despite having previously pledged that they would consult all Jewish stakeholders and a new program of anti-Semitism training, it has been decided, will be undertaken exclusively by pro-Zionist groups like The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). This training is mandatory for all Labour Party elected officers.
Commenting in the Morning Star, Socialist historian David Rosenberg, a Jewish Labour Party member and constituency officer, said that he believed that JVL members were being targeted because they are politically on the left, while the current leadership and administration of the Labour Party are squarely on the right. He remarks that.. “the leadership has chosen to listen instead to a narrow section of right-wing Jewish voices in and outside the party. It has not only ignored the opinions of Jews on the left but has actively persecuted them.”
To conclude, here are just a few testimonials taken from Jewish Labour members who have been on the receiving end of the wrath of Labour’s now exclusively pro-Zionist administration…
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