Last Wednesday, Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) Secretary Glyn Secker received a shock letter from the Labour Party advising him that he was being suspended for “comments made on social media that may be in [sic] antisemitic“. The notification sparked outrage, among other reasons because Mr Secker is Jewish:
Note that the suspension was ‘administrative’ and was exercised unilaterally by the current-but-outgoing General Secretary, Iain McNicol – Secker was not suspended as a result of last week’s controversial meeting of the National Executive Committee’s (NEC) ‘Disputes Panel’. The letter clearly implies that Mr Secker himself had made comments that ‘may be’ antisemitic.
JVL was formed in 2017 and formally launched during Labour’s annual conference in Brighton. Secker is a veteran of the 2010 “Jewish Boat to Gaza” that was stopped by the Israeli navy after an attempt to break the blockade of Gaza.
On Monday, just five days after the date of the suspension letter, Secker received a new letter from the Labour Party – reinstating his membership:
According to this new letter, Secker was suspended because of an investigation into a Facebook group, rather than because of alleged personal comments. No explanation was given why his personal suspension was necessary for an investigation into a group – nor why an investigation into a group could be completed within just five days if there was sufficient evidence to warrant suspensions in the first place.
No apology was offered.
JVL issued a statement last week attacking the suspension as ‘absurd‘ and ‘appallingly vague‘ – and accusing Matthews’ Disputes unit of bringing the Labour Party into disrepute by ignoring the recommendations of the Chakrabarti Report adopted in 2016 by the NEC. The group’s response to the lifting of the suspension welcomes ‘a great victory’ but attacks the letter’s failure to apologise or to explicitly rescind allegations of antisemitism.
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