The article by Jews on Labour’s efforts against antisemitism that LabourList refused to publish

Leah Levane, left, and Jenny Manson

Leah Levane and Jenny Manson, co-chairs of the left-wing group Jewish Voice for Labour, submitted the following article to the LabourList site about this week’s motion by the PLP (parliamentary Labour party).

Afraid this one isn’t for us

LabourList’s rejection of a pro-Labour article by two Jewish women

In spite of ample coverage given to the complaints of right-wing, back-bench MPs last Monday night, LabourList refused to publish the pair’s response, saying “Afraid this one isn’t for us“. They asked the SKWAWKBOX to publish it instead.

It is reproduced below without comment or amendment:

Labour MPs “demand answers about antisemitism” – but it is not clear they listened to the answers. LabourList featured the discussion at Monday’s PLP meeting demanding to know chapter and verse on progress with what they called the “backlog” of antisemitism cases. The effect is potentially to reopen the divisive campaign that rocked Labour all last summer. Do they really want to do this, especially at a time when the Tories are up to their necks in a self-inflicted BREXIT crisis, which means there is no telling when an election campaign might suddenly be upon us? Jennie Formby’s message to them was a record of consistent progress. Systems for processing complaints have been established and they are working; and the backlog of cases she inherited from her predecessor as General Secretary has been cleared. And this with a greater emphasis on due process than was evident in the past. They are now far more robust and fit for purpose.

The backlog was accumulated under her predecessor Iain McNicol, along with many deviations from due process, leaks to the media etc. But as far as we remember the PLP never raised those issues, at least publicly, about his regime.

Jennie stopped short of providing the PLP with the numbers on more recent complaints that are currently being processed, and in this she was absolutely right. Her professional role is to report on operational matters to the NEC and in particular she has vital duties of confidentiality.

It’s curious. The backlog was accumulated under her predecessor Iain McNicol, along with many deviations from due process, leaks to the media etc. But as far as we remember the PLP never raised those issues, at least publicly, about his regime.

From the wording of the motion discussed at the meeting (it was not actually voted on) it seems that what some of the MPs want is not so much for all allegations to be dealt with, but for all those complained about to be expelled. There is a subtle difference – with a proper process of investigation and deliberation not all allegations are found to merit expulsion. Some complaints may be unfounded. That’s what Labour, at last, has a better system for

The Chakrabarti report was a unique initiative. Nothing like it has been commissioned by any other party. Its recommendations, ignored for two years, have now been substantially implemented. What MPs should be pushing for is continual process improvement, as Jennie has been, aiming for natural justice coupled with a proper analytical examination of the facts.

all the evidence suggests it is rarer in the Labour than in most other political parties (and rarer now than it was a few years ago

In JVL as Jewish members of the Labour Party, spread over hundreds of constituencies, we have every reason to abhor antisemitism. We wish to have none of it in the party. But we are also aware that it is really rare, certainly less common than other forms of racism; and all the evidence suggests it is rarer in the Labour than in most other political parties (and rarer now than it was a few years ago).

In particular we are reassured by the anti-racist commitment of the Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn. And not only us; Rabbi Asher Gratt of the Charedi community has commented:

Jeremy Corbyn’s personal pledge to be a militant opponent of anti-Semitism and a permanent ally of the Jewish Community and Jennie Formby’s statement that it is important to “eliminate the evil of anti-Semitism” from the party, has in my view given great comfort and confidence to many British Jews that the Labour leadership is seriously determined in prioritizing to root out from their party those advocating anti-Jewish views.

many MPs persist in seemingly only recognising one [view among Jews]

There are many views among Jews in this country. To say that there is a spectrum is to underestimate the number of dimensions on which opinions can and do differ. Yet many MPs persist in seemingly only recognising one.

The PLP motion referred to the demonstration held last year outside Parliament on behalf of the ‘Jewish community’. It was not. The majority of Britain’s Jewish population have no membership of or input to the organisations that called it. JVL, an organisation then not a year old, called a counter-demonstration that generated a surge of hundreds of new members. Thirty-four leading Rabbis including the Senior Rabbi of UoHC condemned the smear against Jeremy Corbyn, calling claims made to the media that Jews are outraged with Mr Corbyn’s leadership, irresponsible remarks against the respected leader of the labour party.

We should acknowledge the efforts and progress that has already been made

To us, like all your readers, there are very serious issues involved. Antisemitism is foul, and we need to be alert to its possible spread. We need to distinguish between the utterances of racists, the confused views of those who stumble into antisemitic tropes out of ignorance, and the principled criticisms that need to be made of Israel. We should acknowledge the efforts and progress that has already been made by Jeremy Corbyn, by Jennie Formby, and also by Party officers and grass roots members, entirely in keeping with the proud record of the Party in fighting antisemitism over a long period.

Leah Levane and Jenny Manson
Co -chairs of Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL)
6th February 2019

LabourList editor Sienna Rodgers was contacted for comment but did not respond before publication.

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  1. Thank you so much for publishing this article. Thank you to Leah & Jenny for their thoughtful piece which gives us all a greater understanding of what is required. However I remain disturbed by the 2 level rules of Labour UK. One rule for MPs and others inside Labour Party and 2: Another rule for members and supporters. I see today our Deputy Leader has said it would welcome police criminal action against social media abuse. Just those of course that ask questions of their MPs as to their commitment to their CLPs and to the Labour Party and UK as a whole? We seem to be in very dark times and I fear it could get much much worse. Meanwhile people are dying on our streets, children going hungry and a man weighing 6stone has to leave hospital against doctors wishes to attend DWP mtg in order to get his support claim reinstated. A couple made homeless due to cuts in benefits with a young baby “living” on the streets; Their baby died from the cold despite every effort the family made to keep their baby warm. What kind of country are we becoming? Do all Labour MPs actually care about our vulnerable citizens? I get the feeling that many don’t give a toss.

  2. As far as I’m aware, not a single person has died from so called ‘antisemitism’ within the Labour Party (thank goodness).

    Look outside Parliament however, and you’ll learn that at least 120,000 UK citizens have died from Tory austerity. 500 homeless people died on our streets in 2018 alone. Imagine what 500 dead bodies on the streets looks like.

    …An actual war that is causing actual DEATHS – witnessed by the UNITED NATIONS – is being waged on the most vulnerable in society.

    If the Tories win again – more people will die.

    But this is not important. Let’s focus on Labour antisemitism instead.

    1. Correct.

      We are asked by jews to remember the holocaust. It seems some remember and reflect on it more than others, especially those making demands…

      Today, the tories are carrying out a financial version of the nazi ‘Aktion T4’ program on the disabled.

      ellman and berger’d be better calling the tories out on how the holocaust started and on which section of society. Do the sick & poor not matter? Is the toerag govt’s pernicious, evil assault on the disabled less of history repeating itself than criticism of israel?

      Nobody dies because israel is criticised, but the way the likes of berger and ellman carry on criticism of israel is akin to genocide.

      1. After 70+ years they still manifestly suffer from an untreated case of collective PTSD, rather than one of under-exposure…

  3. When will Jennie Formby challenge the NEC to reject the adoption of the IHRA definition of Anti-Semitism? Will it ever be challenged, or will the Labour Party always be (by its own definition) a Pro-Zionist Party that will not allow criticism of the racist state of Israel?

  4. The right-whingers [sp!] and pro-Zionists in the Labour Party are planning how they can cause most damage to a Corbyn-led LP come a General Election. If that isn’t ‘bringing the Party into disrepute’, what is it? Planning to do an SDP Mk.2, causing enough of a vote loss to Labour to keep the Tories in office. There is now a left-majority on the NEC; what are they planning to do with this blatant undermining of the Party? They should all have the Whip withdrawn, so they cannot stand as Labour candidates OR are we to watch their wrecking tactics in slow motion? They would rather see a Tory victory, than their own party win. The mind boggles.

  5. And needless to say, Labourlist are not interested in giving their readers a balanced and impartial perspective on the ‘anti-semitism’ issue, or should I say NON-issue. I wonder how much interest these MPs took in the problem of anti-semitism in the years and decades PRIOR to Jeremy Corbyn becoming leader.

  6. “We need to distinguish between the utterances of racists, the confused views of those who stumble into antisemitic tropes out of ignorance, and the principled criticisms that need to be made of Israel.”

    Amen to that! Not much emphasis has been put into the second point. Not all antisemitism is equal. And much of it is borne out of ignorance.

    1. “Some have suggested that there is institutional antisemitism across the whole of the Labour Party – this is not a view I share, not least because I have not seen one incident of antisemitism in almost 20 years of activism within my local Labour Party”

      Chuka Umunna, October 2016

    1. Anyone who follows SB on a regular basis will know that I have posted extensively on fake polls in recent weeks, not least of all on the ‘Poll-gate’ episode in which the yougov poll for The Times putting Labour six points behind the Tories was fraudulently referred to by a number of Tory MPs and right-wing journalists and commentators during the following ten days or so after it was published, despite there having been OTHER polls published in the meantime putting Labour ahead.

      Anyway. I have been keeping an eye on the wikipedia listing of poll results on a daily basis as of since then, and when I checked yesterday lunchtime, no new polls had been added to the list. But when I checked again late afternoon, there was an Ipsos Mori poll – conducted between the 1st and the 5th of February – which had the Tories and Labour as even-steven, in total contrast to the Opinium poll a few days earlier which gave the Tories a seven point lead. Anyhow, so I checked the wikipedia listing a couple of hours ago to see if any new polls had been added, and there was nothing, but when I checked it again about ten minutes ago, there WAS – ie the long overdue yougov poll for The Times, and conducted on the 3rd and 4th of Feb – and would you believe it, YES, it had the Tories SEVEN points ahead of Labour, just like the Opinium poll.

      Funny, isn’t it, how the yougov poll for The Times appeared the very next day after the Ipsos Mori poll putting the two parties level! Just coincidence of course! And even funnier is that they should come up with such different results despite being conducted during the same time period.

      Here’s a link to the listing:


      PS And needless to say, the polls DON’T appear in the listing as of when they were published, but as of when they were conducted.

      1. PS And I think we ALL know which are the legitimate and authentic polls, and which are the counterfeit and fraudulent and, as such, deceptive polls.

  7. [sigh]
    More fuel on the fire.
    All the pro-Israel lobby need is an excuse – not a reason – why give then one?

    1. Sorry Andrew, but I’m obviously missing something…… WHO gave the pro-Israel lobby “an excuse”?

  8. The following is from a recent article by Tony Greenstein, and says it all really:

    The CAA, is almost certainly an Israeli state funded organisation. It is not interested in anti-Semitism from the fascist Right and you would search its website for articles attacking for example Tommy Robinson or the English Defence League…… But whereas there is just one article on one supporter of Tommy Robinson there are at the present time some 243 articles attacking Jeremy Corbyn, whose anti-racism is second to none, as an anti-Semite.


    PS And please help Tony in his legal battle against the CAA if you can, and haven’t done so already. There’s a link to his gofundme page at the end of the article. Thanks

  9. It is pretty obvious why the right wing Labour List refused to publish this. It totally goes against the standard Anti-Semitism/Anti-Corbyn meme. Thanks to Leah Levane, Jenny Manson and Jewish Voice for Labour for putting some common sense out there.

  10. The following is a link to an article by Sienna Rodgers posted on the LabourList website on February 4th and entitled: ‘Labour MPs demand answers from leadership on antisemitism’, and it reproduces the full text by MPs under the sub-heading: Below is the full text of the ‘Action on Antisemitism’ motion passed at the PLP meeting tonight. And this is one of the things it says in the text:

    The PLP is very concerned by recent reports that a number of cases of alleged antisemitic activity from high-profile members have been dropped.

    Does anyone know who these ‘high-profile’ cases ARE, or HOW the PLP would know who they are AND know that they’ve been ‘dropped’ (as opposed to being found to be unwarranted and/or bogus claims and, as such, dismissed). Or where these ‘reports’ they refer to emanated from?

    The MPs behind this fraudulent accusation – ie that a number of cases from high-profile members have been dropped – are fully aware that when Jennie Formby became general secretary of the party last year, she appointed a highly-qualified in-house Counsel, as recommended in the Chakrabarti Report. So are these MPs implying that said Council is conspiring with the NEC to sweep legitimate cases of anti-semitism under the carpet?

    The reality is of course that these MPs KNOW that the vast majority of the general public are NOT aware of this fact BUT – and given that anti-semitism is a form of racism, and racism is a criminal offence – *IF* these MPs KNOW who the people ARE that they refer to as ‘high-profile’, then why don’t they report them to the police. OR….. why weren’t these cases reported to the police – by whoever made the different allegations – at the time they supposedly happened. I think we all know the answer to such points!


  11. The odious Hodge once again given airtime by LBC to state openly that Mr Corbyn is an anti Semite ,and once again no words of condemnation for her from the Party. Seems she has a free hand to libel at will. Shameful from the Party.

    1. In the following article in the Sun – published on Feb 5th – it quotes Margaret Hodge as saying:

      “For me if you want to get rid of the cancer of anti-Semitism in the Labour party you have to have complete transparency, and she [Jennie Formby] is refusing to do that.”

      Right, so having complete transparency will get rid of anti-semitism in the LP, albeit the vast majority of it contrived and fraudulent, as Hodge knows of course. Or to put it the other way round, anti-semitism exists in the LP because there ISN’T complete transparency. It’s so non-sensical it beggars belief. So according to this logic, presumably there WAS transparency in the LP before Jeremy was elected leader, and THAT is why it didn’t exist then, but since he was elected leader there ISN’T and THAT’S why it exists.

      Anyway, I hope she speaks out about the lack of transparency in the Tory Party regarding allegations and explicit cases of Islamophobia by Tory politicians. I mean if you REALLY believe that transparency itself would solve the problem and bring it to an end, surely it’s the obvious thing to do.

      The ONLY transparency necessary is to expose the false accusers for what they are!


      1. And if Hodge REALLY believes that transparency is the answer – which she DOESN’T of course, because it’s complete and utter bunkum – then why didn’t she say so two or more years ago. The only reason it has NOW suddenly become so, is because SHE and her Blairite Tory buddies – knowing of course as they do that ALL allegations of whatever nature are dealt with confidentially by the LP – realised that they could fire up the ‘anti-semitism’ op again by making an issue of it, and further deceive the public in general as such.

        They are of course ALL despicable beyond words, a party to a black propaganda op to subvert democracy and do all they can to prevent a JC Labour goverment, let alone causing concern and consternation amongst a large proportion of the Jewish community in the process. And that of course includes the MSM and May and the Tory Party.

        And THAT tells you ALL you need to know about how much they care about the Jewish population in the UK AND anti-semitism.

  12. Great piece by JVL who as always restore your faith in humanity.
    Meanwhile as the threat of the Far Right rises I have come up with some points:
    1. Is chanting “Nazi Scum!” really winning hearts and minds (although making people feel good – self-actualising). We need to wean the conned and weakef elements from the hard core.
    2. The Far Right claim the Left are “Rape Aplogists’ and we need to address the issue. We are all apalled (as are the Asian community) at some small groups of Asian men abusing young girls but sadly child sex abuse is in all groups and social classes but focussing on one group (because they are racists) does nothing to help all vulnerable children and most abuse is from within families of by people known to them.
    3. Some of the Left claim that a few of the EDL committee have been put on the sex offenders register for accessing extreme child porn which the far righg are quiet aboug but we need firm evidence re this?
    4. Unfortunately you can’t get to talk to the few conned working class with the Far Right at demos (because of the police) to try to win them to socialism, as the Far Right try to divide the diverse working class and thus serve the rich!
    5. Why not some original chants/songs when facing them?
    “You’re on the side of the rich (3 times).
    You try to divide the diverse working class.
    The diverse workers, will never be divided!”
    (4 times).
    And to the tune of John Brown’s Body.
    “You’re useful idiots for the rich.
    (X three) Diverse working people will win!
    Solidarity forever, solidarity forever,
    Solidarity forever, and diverse working people will win!”
    We need to use our imaginations and creativity to beat the barbarians comrades!

  13. What’s going on here? Can we please put anti this and anti that on the back boiler for a while~ its becoming extremely boring. No offence, but to me it sounds like a lot of self indulgence…Let’s just be anti Tory and concentrate on getting a Labour Government eh?…

    1. I think you’ve got this one a bit arse-about-tit. Most of the arguments here *are* about putting the ‘antisemitism’ scam in the grave of disgusting political tricks. The angst is about the right-wing allies of the Tories who keep on digging up the corpse with its stink of putrid dishonesty.

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