More than fifty Jewish members have been targeted by Labour. JVL’s fourth submission to equality watchdog details the cases of six of them
Jewish Voice for Labour, the organisation representing left-wing Jews in the party – and increasingly those targeted for racist discrimination and forced out of the party – has made a further submission to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on the right-wing regime’s conduct toward Jewish members.
In this fourth document, JVL gives detail on six of the more than fifty Jewish party members mistreated by the regime – at a rate of more than thirty times the average for non-Jewish members and well over two hundred times more for senior members of JVL.
The group’s announcement of the new submission says it covers:
– the Party’s process for appointing its Advisory Board on antisemitism;
– its failure to engage with a range of stakeholders;
– its failure / delay in responding to complaints;
– the disproportionate number of actioned complaints taken against Jewish Party members, and in particular Jewish anti-Zionist members;
– its failure to keep complainants updated with the progress of their complaints;
– breaches of the code of conduct on confidentiality and extensive delays in responding to SAR requests.
In each of these areas we have identified actions by the Party which are detrimental to Party members who are at odds with the current Labour leadership establishment. The pernicious processes are then compounded by bureaucratic incompetence.
The submission reports on the disproportionate number of actioned complaints taken against Jewish Party members, and in particular anti-Zionist members. It examines, in particular, the cases of six Jewish members: Mike Howard, Jonathan Rosenhead, Pam Laurance, Jenny Manson, Stephen Marks and Diana Neslen.
JVL has consistently argued that lumping the occasional real instances of antisemitism together with the multitude of false accusations often aimed at political anti-Zionism diverts attention from the real and growing danger to Jews of the violent antisemitism of the far-right.
The six members whose stories are covered include:
- Diana Neslen, the woman in her eighties repeatedly targeted by Labour. Ms Neslen’s legal action forced the party to back down, but she has still seen no response to her own complaints of antisemitic behaviour toward her by right-wing figures and the party bureaucracy, as the ‘preliminary issues’ section of the new submission makes clear
- Mike Howard, whose lifetime of activism in the labour, union and anti-racism movements was trampled by the party – and who died, after months of victimisation, without even receiving an acknowledgement of his appeal from the party
- Stephen Marks, an elected member of Labour’s National Constitutional Committee targeted by the party for signing petitions – another whose communications with the party have been almost entirely ignored and have seen no action
- Jonathan Rosenhead, an emeritus professor of the London School of Economics who was also targeted by police for his involvement in the protest movement against South African apartheid
- Pam Laurance, targeted for sharing a Facebook article by the well-known Jewish author and musician Leon Rosselson
- Jenny Manson, JVL co-chair, put under investigation for appearing on a BBC Newsnight programme discussing antisemitism in the Labour party – a programme that led to many complaints that she was bullied by the presenter – and whose suspension was used against her by the right-wing press
The report highlights:
- the complete inaction of the Labour party in cases of genuine antisemitism against left-wing Jews
- the way in which the Labour party has treated questioning the authenticity of right-wing complaints as inherently antisemitic – while it questions and ignores genuine complaints made by left-wing Jews
- the party’s repeated breaches under Keir Starmer and David Evans of its obligations and commitments in the report by the EHRC on antisemitism in the Labour party
- Labour’s determination to deny left-wing Jews any voice in its supposedly independent and representative ‘Advisory Board’ on antisemitism
- the fact that Labour currently has three codes of conduct relating to antisemitism – with some contradicting each other
- the fundamental and probably wilful ignorance of the party about what antisemitism actually is and of the breadth of Jewish opinion
- imposing ‘antisemitism training’ that equates anti-zionism with antisemitism, with the imposed trainers resisting any attempts to make clear that the two are not the same
and much more.
The Labour right’s racism is by no means limited to Jewish people – the right has deep-rooted issues with Islamophobia and racism against Gypsy Travellers and the hounding-out of black councillors and candidates. Not only has the party refused to address these issues or discipline those indulging in such racism, but Keir Starmer – who has refused to express any solidarity with abused black and Muslim women MPs – has even promoted some of them to his front benches and Labour officials have trampled on the wishes of members to impose right-wingers with a history of racism as candidates.
But in its treatment of left-wing Jews, the current regime routinely makes clear that it has no interest in genuinely addressing the evils of antisemitism and instead is abusing the idea of antisemitism in order to use it as a factional weapon. In a less corrupted country with ‘mainstream’ media doing the job they are supposed to do, this would be a huge scandal.
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