Equality commission steps in after Labour accuses nearly entire Jewish Voice for Labour board of antisemitism

JVL expelled members
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The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has asked Jewsh Voice for Labour (JVL) to submit evidence of the Labour leadership’s antisemitic discrimination against leftwing Jews in the party. A number of JVL members have been suspended or expelled from Labour, including two who have since passed away. In many cases, they were singled out for comments on Israeli policy in occupied Palestine.

JVL has submitted twice to the EHRC before. But this is the first time it’s been asked to contribute. In the new submission, JVL aims to raise:

the continued unfair targeting of Jewish members of the Party and in particular Jewish members with particular beliefs set out in further detail below, which appears to be entirely contrary to the findings of the EHRC Report and the purpose of the Action Plan

And:

the unfair procedures the Party is continuing to follow in respect of disciplinary proceedings
against individual members, in breach of principles of fairness, natural justice and
recommendations made by both the EHRC, and by Baroness Shami Chakrabarti in her report
published on 30 June 2016, following her inquiry into antisemitism in the Party (the
Chakrabarti Report”). [Original emphasis]

Unresolved

The submission also highlights how two members of the organisation have died without being able to clear their names:

Two JVL members, Riva Joffe under investigation, Mike Howard having received a punitive suspension for antisemitism, have recently died, tragically with these offensive and unfounded charges against them unresolved. In the case of Mike Howard, his appeal against his suspension remains unresolved since 12 April 2021

Read on...

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JVL says the Labour Party has failed to even understand antisemitism, with devastating effects for some:

As a preliminary point, JVL considers that the failure of the Party to introduce a fair process to tackle antisemitism has resulted from its failure to properly understand antisemitism.

Definitions

JVL’s submission sets out what it means by antisemitism according to the key definitions:

The understanding of antisemitism on which this analysis is based reaffirms the traditional meaning of the term. This is important in the light of attempts to extend its meaning to apply to criticisms often made of the state of Israel, or to non-violent campaigns such as BDS. A charge of antisemitism carries exceptional moral force because of the negative connotations rightly attaching to the term. It is illegitimate to make such claims to discredit or deter criticism, or to achieve sectional advantage. To do so is to devalue the term. To be clear: conduct is antisemitic only if it manifests ‘prejudice, hostility or hatred against Jews as Jews.

And JVL cites the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism, arguing this is a far more precise definition than that used by the Labour Party.

Vague charges

JVL also charges the Labour Party with using a confused framework for accusations. This, they write, has hindered those accused from responding to allegations:

In the majority of investigations into alleged antisemitism, the Party asserts that the member is guilty of conduct that “undermines the Party’s ability to campaign against antisemitism”. This is a vague accusation that does not provide the member with sufficient information to understand, or defend themselves against, the charge. It also gives the Party an effective carte-blanche to investigate members in relation to complaints that have no basis and to stifle any questioning of the Party by its members.

Case studies

The submission also argues that Jewish Labour members have been accused of antisemitism at disproportionate rates. They point to Annex 11 of their submission:

which contains statistics on the number of investigations by the Party brought against Jewish members and in particular, anti-Zionist Jewish members. Annex 11 sets out that, as a population share, over five times more Jewish than non-Jewish Party members have been investigated in relation to allegations of antisemitism.

While Annex 17 looks at how the work of Jewish writers has been used as evidence of anti-Jewish racism without the author’s knowledge:

No attempt has been made by the Party to discuss the work with the respective authors; instead the Party proceeds on a misrepresentation that its interpretation is based on firm, legal evidence

Lifelong anti-racists

The submission refers to Mike Howard, an accused JVL member. He passed away in 2021 having never had the chance to clear his name. The submission document tells part of his story:

JVL draws attention in particular to the case of the late Mike Howard, whose appeal against his unjust punitive suspension is set out in Annex 15. Prior to investigation, Mr Howard had an unblemished record as a Jewish Labour, trade union and anti-racist activist. He was therefore incredibly angered and distressed to find himself subject to investigation.

The submission continues:

His appeal was filed in March 2021, with further submissions made on 13 April 2021. Following that date, Mr Howard received neither any update on progress nor any substantive response from the Party. Tragically, Mr Howard died in November 2021, without even an acknowledgement of his appeal by the Party.

A video of Mike Howard’s full story is available on YouTube:

Failed

JVL’s Jenny Manson and Richard Kuper spoke to The Canary. Manson said said she was disappointed with the EHRC:

It’s disappointing that the EHRC have not agreed to open an investigation into the targeting of so many Jews by the Labour Party. They seem to consider that their Report in January 2021 had dealt with issues relating to antisemitism in the Party.  We by contrast considered they got off on the wrong premises, made questionable findings and failed to expose both the politicisation of the Party’s procedures and the Party’ misinterpretation of antisemitism.

She said the EHRC had originally referred them to Labour’s antisemitism Action Plan. But reminded them that JVL’s nominees had originally been excluded from involvement:

So, after the EHRC referred us to the Action Plan we wrote back again and reminded them that JVL nominees and eg  those put forward by John McDonnell including a Rabbi and two Jewish experts on the interpretation of antisemitism, were excluded from consultation or any involvement in the new Plans.
Targeting
JVL felt that the evidence of harsh treatment of Jewish members was finally being considered by the EHRC:
It now appears that evidence we have been providing of the increasing harsh treatment and targeting of our Jewish members has been of concern to the EHRC.  It’s hard to believe it wouldn’t be.  Looking at Annex 11, you will see that 41 Jewish individuals have faced investigations for antisemitism.  Of the current eleven JVL exec committee, ten have been or are presently facing disciplinary action or investigations related to allegations of antisemitism.
They added that the group was pleased their concerns were finally being noted:
We are very pleased that the EHRC have now taken account of our specific concerns about this Plan by asking for us to make further submissions to assist the EHRC’s monitoring exercise.
Unjust
Manson said that the whole process had been “unjust” to members:
Incidentally, the EHRC did not endorse the IHRA definition of antisemitism and noticed as we did the Party’s use without publication till this year of the ‘NEC Code of Conduct; Antisemitism’ to try to explain the IHRA.  This was unjust to members and hugely ironic given this NEC plan in 2018 was considered yet another sign of the scandalous. antisemitism of the Party’s leadership.
Asked what they hoped would be achieved from the submission, JVL’s Richard Kuper told The Canary:

We  believe  that  the evidence we have supplied and the arguments we have made will reinforce realisation the EHRC that these issues need to be taken into account in their monitoring of Labour’s actions. Doing so would be an important step in breaking the mainstream media’s radio silence on the harassment of Jews in the Party which is taking place under the aegis of the current leadership..

It can only be hoped that JVL members finally get a chance to be heard. And that the names of those who have passed away will now be cleared.

Featured image  – Jewish Voice for Labour.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Good, but don’t get your hopes up. The EHRC is no longer independent. Will it risk undermining Starmer’s assault on the left? I doubt it. The vital thing is that Labour voters should know what is happening. They won’t through the MSM. We have to let them know. Most have never heard of JVL and wouldn’t know the difference between JVL and LFI if you mentioned both. The MSM have done a great job in bamboozling the public, turning truth into lies and leaving people hopelessly confused. We must do a great job too in letting people know what really happedend and is really happening. Never miss an opportunity.

    2. Equality commission steps in after Labour accuses nearly entire Jewish Voice for Labour board of antisemitism
      //
      Look we need to get some true information here about this article.

      Do any of the Jewish members look after British -Afghan refugees
      Polish -germen- Italian -Pakistani-Indian -China People yes or no?
      While serving as Labour party members?
      Or do they just look after the Jewish residents problem as when you a party member you must look after all religions people not just your own kind. Failing to do so is segregation of the party rules you sign up too in the first place.
      Can I ask politely all of them named in this article do you represent the Labour party rules or the laws of the U.K. or are you instructed by your area Rabbis to make noise within the Party that are member of the Tory party NOW plus fund them not Labour.
      //
      My person feeling on this matter is they is NO PLACE for religion of any kind in Govt jobs you must keep your religious way of respecting your views on your religion when you’re at home or at the praying places run by Rabbis not in the job you do for Govt parties as it effect the free voting process of ALL party if you not like a policy that may effects your Jewish people way of life you must remember your voting for all religion to use the bills +laws you vote on not just the Jewish people needs individually.
      //
      Take the POPE he doesn’t like al the rules he make with all religions, but he still know they must be put in place to serve all religious people, or he is failing in his job not to be fairing just one religious organisation like I think is what’s happening here within our U.K. Govt party with all different religious members that fund the party they are in NOW like Tory-Labour -Lib-Dem S.N.P.-D.U.P.
      Concluding
      To all religious members of different faiths that are in Govt party job or have connection I put this especially important point to you all In the U.K. WE Have 2 main parties only Tory -Labour you all have the right to set up your own parties to stand for election in our Govt so why? Do you lot not start up your own party and let the U.K. voter decide your fate within our Gvot this is true democracy at work let the U.K. -Wales -N-Ireland -Scotland people have say if they wish to be led by a religious party or organisation or a Mix party of all religions that should serve us all no matter what our beliefs are Jewish members of Labour + Tory + Lib-dem party within Govt now.

    3. Sooooo…. Herr Starmertrupers are currently running through lists of non-Jewish anti-Zionists to also throw out, to ‘balance the numbers up’.

      TBH, “Being thrown out of Labour” right now is a Badge of Honour. Such idealistic and hard-working people will be very welcome in other parties.

      It is unlikely that this ‘submission’ shall change anything.

      Funny, isn’t it, that BloJo even has not mocked Starmer over this at PMQs. Tells you everything you need to know.

    4. I’ve been taken up with other matters lately so perhaps I missed this on the TV or in the printed press? (I assume this just hasn’t been covered though) What I did do was to look on the Guido Fawkes site – beloved of rabid gammons. They had every single anti-semitism story ever levelled against Corybn and they covered several that never made it to mainstream papers or TV news. Weirdly there’s absolutely NOTHING on this on their site. You’d think this would be a great story for them, to get antisemitism against Starmer actually kicking out Jewish people – even worse than anything levelled at Corbyn. So why are they so strangely silent??

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