Constituency Labour party (CLP) secretaries have begun receiving an email sent by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) announcing the formation of its ‘antisemitism monitoring centre’.
The email, which begins by describing antisemitism as a ‘severe and ongoing crisis’ in the Labour Party – in spite of antisemitism complaints amounting to less that 0.1% of the membership (and some of those may involve separate complaints about the same person), asks recipients to complete an online survey about:
your experiences of antisemitism within the Labour Party, victim or third party observer.
It also claims that:
For too long, complaints of antisemitism have been dismissed when reported, obfuscated when they entered the national press, and dragged on because that was politically easier.
Given the mainstream media’s voracious appetite for even the most vaporous opportunity to claim Labour has a problem while ignoring undeniable racism, including antisemitism, in the Tory party, this is an interesting viewpoint.
We may need to share it
The survey has a response deadline of 19 October, although it is not explained why there should be a deadline if JLM has founded a ‘centre’ for monitoring an ‘ongoing crisis’.
But the email also contains a problematic line just before it ends:
We will use this information to help ensure that antisemitism is property [sic] addressed, and may need to share it with relevant parties.
No information is provided in the email about who these ‘relevant parties’ might be.
The survey questions include the respondent’s full residential address. The page does say that JLM will ‘seek direct permission’ before sharing information with third parties. However, it does not say that JLM will obtain permission. Like the email, the page does not give any indication who the third parties might be, nor is a guarantee given that data will not outside the UK.
The survey link is personalised to the recipient, but there is an option to respond as someone else, so emails forwarded to other members could generate multiple responses.
The footer of the email says that it was created via the Nationbuilder software. Nationbuilder is known to have ‘data-scraping’ capabilities, including social media data.
In at least some CLPs, people say they have been responding to the survey in order to put on record that they don’t believe there is a ‘severe and ongoing crisis’, but given the parameters of the survey and the possible vulnerability to data-scraping, caution should be exercised.
JLM is formally affiliated to the Labour Party. Although the email refers to meetings ‘at every level of the party’, JLM representatives recently turned up to a party meeting to which they were not invited, but then tweeted their offence about not being allowed to participate.
In August, JLM issued a letter demanding the withdrawal of the ‘whip’ from Labour MP Chris Williamson because of comments made by a third party at an event where Williamson was speaking. Williamson responded:
I am astonished that at a time when the far-right is on the rise, veteran anti-racists like me are being targeted by the JLM for alleged comments made by another person.
But I will not be bullied by the JLM or anyone else for that matter and will continue standing up to injustice whenever and wherever I see it.
Representatives of JLM have also attacked left-wing group Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), going to far as to claim to be ‘disgusted’ by the Corbyn-supporting organisation, which is critical of the behaviour of the Israeli government and does not accept JLM’s claim of ‘serious and ongoing’ antisemitism in the Labour Party.
The SKWAWKBOX emailed JLM with the following questions:
- Is this email going to all CLP secretaries?
- The email states that data from responses may be shared with ‘relevant’ third parties – who are they?
- Where did JLM obtain the data for recipient secretaries?
- If you’ve established a ‘monitoring centre’, why is there a deadline for responses to the survey?
No response had been received by the time of publication.
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