Under the leadership of Keir Starmer ( I refuse to use Sir) the Labour party has continued on its downward spiral towards centralism and being pro-Israel. Starmer has had help from the likes of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) and the Board of Deputies Of British Jews (BoD) with the continuation of this trend. Last year I wrote about the antisemitism smear campaign against and the purging of left wing members from the Labour party. This has continued under the leadership of Starmer and he has now appointed the members of the Antisemitism Advisory Board. I shuddered in horror when I saw some of the names on the list: Margaret Hodge, the queen of false anti-semitism claims against Labour party members/supporters. She put in 200 complaints of antisemitism against supposed Labour party members. Former general secretary Jennie Formby stated in an email that only 20 of those complaints applied to LP members, the rest of Hodge’s complaints were about non LP members. Hodge, herself, was the subject of an antisemitism complaint by Orthodox Jewish Labour member Charedi Shraga Stern after Hodge took a photograph of Mr Stern when he met with then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Dan Carden Labour MP for Liverpool Walton. Hodge then tweeted the photograph to a journalist, Henry Zeffman of the Times. I have not seen anything more about this complaint but knowing what else Hodge has got away with over the years I doubt the matter went any further.
I have no knowledge of Mike Katz from the JLM but I do know that JLM are a right wing organisation, with ties to the Israeli embassy, which was revived when Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour party in 2015. The JLM was actually formed in 2004 as a successor to Poale Zion which was a movement of Marxist-Zionist Jewish workers founded in Poland, Europe and Russia in the early twentieth century. Mike Katz was anti-Corbyn and stated that the JLM had not campaigned for Corbyn during the 2019 general election campaign ( should they really call themselves Labour then). It was articles like the one Katz wrote for the Guardian in December 2019 that made voters believe in the false antisemitism claims against Labour. The JLM played a large part in the smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn, left wing Labour MPs and members and are part of the pro-Israel lobby that is gaining more power in Britain.
Marie Van Der Zyl, President of the BoD is constantly making antisemitism claims against anybody who dares to criticise Israel or anybody who does not pay heed to her demands on behalf of the BoD. I recently wrote about her attacks on Ken Loach and her demands when charity Show Racism the Red Card asked him to be a judge in an annual competition, and when Loach was invited to speak about his films at St Peter’s College at Oxford University. Let us not forget about the ten demands that the BoD presented to the Labour leadership candidates in January 2020. Demand number 4 named two ex Labour members that BoD demanded should never be allowed back into the party. One of these former members is in fact Jewish which would make the demand antisemitic but of course all the candidates except two signed the demands. Demand number 8 stated “ 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.” Mike Sivier from Vox Political responded to this demand very succinctly and accurately
…”This is an example of genuine anti-Semitism. The Board of Deputies is trying to ensure that groups representing a more common-sense attitude, like Jewish Voice for Labour and Jewdas, are denied a voice. That’s denying Jewish people a right to self-determination, and it’s a claim that members of this organisation are “the wrong kind of Jew”. Despicable. It’s also undemocratic, of course” …
David Evans replaced Jennie Formby as general secretary of the Labour party and within a six months of his appointment grassroots LP members were calling for his dismissal after his “mishandling of disciplinary measures against former leader Jeremy Corbyn”. Evans has sent letters around Party Officers and CLPs which restrict discussion and debate. Some have found the tone of what he has written to be threatening and one volunteer quoted the following paragraph in a letter they sent to Evans ““As leaders in your CLPs and branches, the Party is relying on you to ensure that meetings are conducted in accordance with our rules and guidance, and in the spirit of creating an open and welcoming environment for people of all communities and backgrounds. I must emphasise that the Party will not hesitate to take appropriate action – including against individual members – where our rules and guidance are not adhered to, or standards of behaviour fall below that which we expect”. It is the latter part of the paragraph that was thought to be threatening in nature. Evans also told CLPs that they could not hold votes that declared no confidence in the party leadership of Keir Starmer or in himself. Bindmans, a leading law firm, acting for two suspended CLP members and affiliated Jewish Voice for Labour, wrote Evans a letter accusing him of “exceeding his authority under the rules and in law“.
Adrian Cohen, trustee of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) is also lay chair of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI). Joan Ryan, former Labour MP, is also a member of LFI and is a key figure in the ongoing antisemitism smear campaign. In my opinion the campaign of hate and antisemitism smears began with Joan Ryan (then Labour MP for Enfield North) and Shai Masot an Israeli diplomat based at the Israeli Embassy in London. They were secretly filmed conspiring on how to take down certain British MPs and the film was shown in the four part AlJazeera documentary ‘The Lobby‘. The current LFI chair is Labour MP Steve McCabe. It is the fact that anybody from LFI is on the team that I find wrong not who it is. You do not have to be Jewish or a member of Labour to be a member of LFI and after the history between LFI and the Israeli embassy I find it hard to believe that they will go into this unbiased and openminded.
Neither the NEC or Jewish MPs were consulted over who should be appointed to the advisory team and the one nomination from Labour affiliate Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) was considered. JVL points out that ” ,,, three nominations put forward by John McDonnell – two academic experts on the subject of antisemitism Antony Lerman and Brian Klug and Rabbi Danny Rich, until last year Chief Executive and Senior Rabbi of Liberal Judaism (and incidentally a Labour councillor) – were not accepted…” This together with Margaret Hodge and members of JLM, LFI BoD and Community Security Trust (CST) being involved makes me fear that any recommendations made will be in favour of the IHRA definition of antisemitism which will be used to silence any and all criticism of Israel and the Israel lobby. As usual most of this is my opinion apart from the links included for those who wish to look at them.
Chief Rabbi, Mainstream Media and the smears against Jeremy Corbyn (Guest post by Peter Gregson) Chairperson of LAZIR)