Board of Deputies president accused of using antisemitic trope

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The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) has been accused of using an antisemitic trope of ‘powerful Jews’ by an unnamed ‘communal leadership’ source, according to a Jewish Chronicle article published yesterday.

Marie van der Zyl was attacked for her comments made during a Board meeting. The Chronicle reported:

Another senior communal source was highly critical of Mrs van der Zyl’s latest remarks, telling the JC: “In what world do you use the words

‘Jewish community’ and ‘power’ in the same sentence?

“The community has spent months highlighting antisemitic tropes and then the President of the Board of Deputies herself says Jews have power which they learn how to use.

“I don’t know what’s worse — that this was a spur of the moment comment or that it was actually planned?

“The Board is more worried about their positioning than getting the right answer.”

The choice of words was certainly unfortunate, but the Chronicle appears to consider the issue more one of division between the BoD and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) about whether and how to engage with the Labour Party, as the article’s title says:

Schism grows between communal groups over how to respond to Labour antisemitism

The article also mentions the JLC’s claim to have presented Labour with ‘six reasonable steps’ – which have been criticised as rather being demands – that the party has not accepted.

Among those demands was that the party only talk to Jewish groups who agreed with the JCL on antisemitism – which the JLC characterised as ‘obstructing’ attempt to deal with the problem. The JLC also wanted Labour MPs to lose the whip for associating with members who had been suspended for antisemitism. Suspension is, of course, an administrative measure and not a guilty verdict – as the humiliating apology issued by the Mail Online recently to a JVL leader wrongly suspended for antisemitism and quickly reinstated demonstrates.

Marie van der Zyl has been contacted for comment.

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  1. Right wing jewish groups are desperate to oust out Corbyn from labour and keep up their false narrative about antisemitism. I would just leave them to implode all by themselves.

  2. Oy gevolt, for a blog that would focus on the elimination of the capitalist system instead of the minutiae of Jewish matters. Still that’s the capitalism-friendly contemporary Labour Left for you.

    1. Don’t you get tired of posting your bloody nonsense here Danny boy.I am the first to react to any of your inanities as far as I know,and I will not be repeating the exercise!

    2. Danny, you’re so transparent we can all see right through you, but don’t let that deter you from trying to trivialise the ongoing black propaganda op concocted and designed to smear JC and the left as anti-semites.

      1. Amend that to: …..the ongoing and ORCHESTRATED black propaganda op concocted and designed to smear and DEMONISE JC and the left…..

  3. The whole language of prejudice has been undermined by the right wing Israel apologists – inside and outside the Labour Party – manipulating terms for sectarian purposes.

    I’m afraid I can’t raise even a hint of schadenfreude at the internal spat between Marie van der Zyl and other right-wing manipulators. The issue
    of using the term ‘antisemitism’ as a playground insult is too serious,

    Whatever I think of her politics, being accused of uttering an ‘antisemitic trope’ by using ‘Jewish community’ and ‘power’ in the same sentence is orbiting in the outer reaches of ludicrousness. I guess talking about ‘Russian oligarchs’ and ‘power’ in the same sentence is, by this measure, a racist trope??

    Of course, we know from where all the nonsense is coming : it’s about frightening off proper examination of Israel’s actions in relation to the Palestinian people. And it largely works – you will not find a mainstream media outlet that wants to look at the history of Palestine and the associated atrocities in depth. Editors are terrified.

    Whilst ‘holocaust denial’ has become a pursuit of the lunatic fringe, ‘Nakba denial’ is alive and well and running through the media.

    The good news is that more of the truth is actually cutting through by other means, and Israel is getting worried – and a significant element in this process are voices from the wider Jewish communities beyond the self-selecting establishment. They won’t be suborned by the misleading narrative that equates zionism with ‘jewishness’.

    1. Haven’t seen the comment in its context; but Russian oligarchs means not all Russians, whereas, on past record, when Marie Von Zyl and others like her, refer to the “Jewish Community” they are presumably taking the liberty of speaking for all Jews.

      Hoisted by her own petard I guess.

  4. I may be a bit thick,and certainly detest the BoD attitude to Mr Corbyn,but can someone explain what the lady has said that is deemed anti Semitic please.

  5. Stephen Pollard recently outed himself as being antisemitic when he tried to infer Corbyn was talking about Jews when Jeremy stated the city will ultimately pay back for the mistakes it has made and the UK has had to bail out.

  6. The JLM and the LFI have set themselves up in the Labour Party for the sole purpose of acting as a firewall between the members and the racist State of Israel. They are so used to the Labour machine cowering in front of them that they are now apoplectic that the members who support Jeremy Corbyn are no longer listening to those in the LP executive who think Zionism is the only game in town.

    The Labour Party needs to throw off the shackles of the ridiculous IHRA definition and de Zionise its institutions so that members need not fear being smeared by the Israeli Lobby.

    Well done the JVL for letting it be known that there is more than one voice in the Jewish community and well done to Skwarwkbox for being fearless in allowing the discussion to take place in these pages.

    1. You are right, and the Labour Party has to learn that trying to placate the Israel lobby and its friends on the right is a road to nowhere – especially for the Palestinians. The aim of that lobby is not the well-being of the real Jewish ‘community’ (however defined), but its unwitting co-option in the horrors of the Israeli occupation of Palestine (remember a child dies every day as a result). As such, they cannot be placated, except by ignoring the crimes that have been perpetrated.

      The manipulation of the memory of the holocaust as a cover for evil perpetrated on another ethnic group is not a praiseworthy or excusable project. Quite the reverse – it is a cynical betrayal of the victims of the 1930s and 1940s.

      Interesting that the precursors of the current Board of Deputies – from the time of the Balfour Declaration onwards – had the foresight to see the zionist project as a contradiction of the real interests of the Jewish community..

  7. Chris Williamson is getting a whole load of crap for sharing this on Twitter

    1. Editing the Jewish Chronicle Article (without distorting it’s message), one gets this :

      “Jeremy Corbyn is Israel’s most dangerous enemy in the Western European mainstream” [because] “Corbyn condemned the continuing Israeli occupation as well as the Palestinian casualties at the Gaza border. He also repeated that if he becomes prime minister his government will immediately recognize a Palestinian state.”

      So … Corbyn is a danger to Israel *because* he supports basic international law and human rights.

      So … Israel is in ‘danger’ because it flouts the same.

      Point proved, I think. A startling proof of the need to separate concepts of Israel and Zionism from the concept of Jewishness, and pro-humanitarianism from sham ‘antisemitism’.

      1. Sorry – it was the ‘Jerusalem Post’, not the ‘Jewish Chronicle’. Not that there”s much difference in editorial line.

      2. Not the Jewish Chronicle but an Israeli newspaper,and the author of the article asks this –
        Is there anything Israel’s allies can do to make it more difficult for a Corbyn-controlled Labour to rise to power?
        Then advocates this –
        So far, two possibilities have emerged. The first one derives from an opinion by the British law firm, WLegal. Under current US legislation, sanctions against Corbyn are possible as he is a supporter of a terror organization. Actions to achieve this would have to be taken now, as the US is unlikely to act against Corbyn if he becomes prime minister.

        A second issue which can be promoted outside the UK is publicizing the fact that if Corbyn comes to power he will receive access to highly classified intelligence from the British Security Services. Furthermore, it is unlikely that all intelligence can be withheld from his extremist associates who hold key positions in his administration.

        Would foreign governments be comfortable with such a situation? Would they want intelligence normally shared with allies to fall into the hands of the likes of Corbyn, McDonnell or Labour’s chief strategist, who is a supporter of the genocidal Hamas movement?

        What about Corbyn’s senior policy adviser, an ex-communist from whom British parliamentary security has withheld access to the Commons for a year already, or Corbyn’s private secretary, who after nine months of vetting by security services has not yet received access to the parliament? The problem already exists; whatever foreign intelligence has been shared with the UK will be accessible to Corbyn if he becomes prime minister.

        Once this information is spread outside the UK, British media are likely to pick up on this issue. That will inject additional pressure into the public debate over the risks to the country if a Corbyn-led Labour Party wins the next parliamentary election.

        Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is the emeritus Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, and the International Leadership Award by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

        Better for us to be armed with this info?

      3. Well according to Norway – who Manfield Gerstenfield once described as : “Norway is a nation of anti-semites” and that “Norwegians are a barbaric and unintelligent people” –Gerstenfeld is a central figure in a smear campaign against Norway on the Israeli far-right. Mr Odd-Bjørn Fure, Norway’s main anti-semitism expert and founding director of the Center for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities, has said that Gerstenfeld “is not worth arguing against. I prefer to deal with serious people. We do not take this person seriously.” I think it may be necessary to go back and discover my Viking roots once more!

    2. Goebbels would have been full of admiration for such a distorted and fraudulent piece of black propaganda.

      Totally vile and abhorrent from start to finish.

      1. PS I am of course referring to the Jerusalem Post article that Rayemond linked to above.

  8. It appears his critics don’t think he should have shared this article after the mass shooting in the Pittsburgh synagogue.

    1. I don’t know how many were listening to the Beeb this morning, but distortion by omission was prominent.

      In reporting the Pittsburgh shooting, it omitted any elaboration of the background of the criminal – an extreme right white suprematist who posted on a site that attacked Muslims and Black people, as well as Jews.

      The omission was then compounded by allowing Marie van der Zyl to wind up a general, unfocused anxiety about antisemitism in *this* country. Proper ‘leadership’ of a community would be engaged in winding down such unfocused fears rather than trying to capitalize on this incident in the US.

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