Jewish Voice for Labour

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Interest ofJo Bird

Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) is a network for Jewish members of the Labour Party that was launched on Monday 25 September 2017 at Labour's conference in Brighton.[1][2]

Statement of Principles

JVL's political priorities are universal human rights and dignity; justice for all; freedom of expression; and democracy in the Labour Party.

Our mission is to contribute to making the Labour Party an open, democratic and inclusive party, encouraging all ethnic groups and cultures to join and participate freely. As such we aim to strengthen the party in its opposition to all forms of racism including antisemitism, broadening the party’s appeal to all sections of British society. We take inspiration from the long history of Jewish involvement in the socialist and trade-union movements and in antiracist and antifascist struggles, including the anti-apartheid and civil-rights movements.

We stand for rights and justice for Jewish people everywhere, and against wrongs and injustice to Palestinians and other oppressed people anywhere. We uphold the right of supporters of justice for Palestinians to engage in solidarity activities, such as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. We oppose attempts to widen the definition of antisemitism beyond its meaning of hostility towards or discrimination against Jews as Jews.

At a time of profound divisions in Jewish communities, JVL offers a space to explore and debate the many questions (personal, social, cultural, political) that are important to us as progressive Labour Jews.

We will work where appropriate with existing groups involved with issues of common concern from an internationalist and anti-racist perspective.[3]

Inaugural meeting

In the evening there was a large, overflowing meeting of the new Jewish Voice for Labour, writes activist Tony Greenstein. I have been a critic of the organisation in terms of its reluctance to openly embrace an openly Palestinian stance and the "Right of Return", as well as opposition to the witch hunt but there is no doubt that they had organised a very successful meeting. But as Graham Bash of Labour Briefing put it, it was a historic meeting in terms of the Labour Party. I would estimate over 300 people attended the meeting.

There were a number of speakers including Sir Stephen Sedley, the former Court of Appeal Judge, who is himself Jewish, Avi Shlaim, the Israeli Professor of International Relations at Oxford University and a renowned historian, David Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialist Group and Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi again with Jenny Manson chairing the meeting.

I thought Sedley and Avi Shlaim were somewhat disappointing and Avi Shlaim’s suggestion that Zionism was both a settler colonial movement and a movement of Jewish national liberation was bizarre. Sedley’s speech was disappointing given his excellent article on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition on anti-Semitism in London Review of Books. Rosenberg’s speech was solid and factual harking back to the days of the Bund in Poland when there was a socialist working class Jewish organisation which was anti-Zionist. His point that the essence of being Jewish was to oppose oppression was well taken.

Union affiliation

A number of us including Stephen Marks and myself spoke from the floor. Ken Loach came to the meeting and was immediately co-opted onto the platform where he made an impromptu speech. Ken has been a long standing supporter of Palestine and produced the play "Perdition", which dealt with the collaboration of the Zionists with the Nazis in Hungary a quarter of a century ago. What was most remarkable about the meeting was not only the consensus among people that the anti-Semitism witch hunt and smearing of people by Zionists in the Labour Party had to stop but the attendance of two union leaders, Len McCluskey of UNITE and Tosh MacDonald of ASLEF. Both union leaders spoke and both promised to recommend to their unions that they affiliate to the JVL. This is quite remarkable as this means recognition by a significant section of the labour movement that they are no longer prepared to put up with the snide smearing attacks by the Zionists on ordinary members of the Labour Party as ‘anti-Semitic’ for having the temerity to support the Palestinians.[4]


A Document by Jewish Voice for Labour

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Document:The shortcomings of the EHRC ReportStatement6 November 2020Equality and Human Rights Commission
Jewish Labour Movement
Campaign Against Antisemitism
Labour Party
Ken Livingstone
Pam Bromley
Leader of the Opposition
Jeremy Corbyn
Governance and Legal Unit
Jennie Formby
Shami Chakrabarti
There are just 12 mentions of Jeremy Corbyn in the EHRC report, of which only two concern actions taken by him. It is reprehensible not to distinguish between actions taken by individuals supportive of Corbyn and those taken by people hostile to him – such an omission leads to the impression that all failings were Corbyn’s responsibility.


Employee on Wikispooks

Jenny MansonCo Chair28 July 2017


Related Documents

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Anti-semitism is cover for a much deeper divide in Britain's Labour partyArticle20 February 2019Jonathan CookParadoxically, the Labour breakaway group may have inadvertently exposed the weakness of its hand. The eight MPs have indicated that they will not run in by-elections, and for good reason: it is highly unlikely they would stand a chance of winning in any of their current constituencies outside the Labour Party.
Document:Antisemitism threats will keep destroying Labourblog post12 February 2020Jonathan CookIf we are only allowed to gently chide Israel in ways that cannot meaningfully advance Palestinian rights, if we are prevented from discussing the strategies of staunchly pro-Israel lobbyists to silence Israel’s critics, if we are denied the right to push for an international boycott of Israel of the kind that helped blacks in South Africa end their own oppression, then nothing is going to change for the Palestinians.
Document:BBC's biased and inaccurate reporting of anti-semitism allegations towards Jeremy CorbynLetter7 August 2018Pamela Blakelock"We regret that the BBC has failed to comply with its own codes with regard to impartiality and accuracy. Given the gravity of allegations of anti-semitism, the role performed by the BBC is all the more critical if it is to live up to Reithian principles of informing the public."
Document:EHRC avoids response to QC’s submission that Labour investigation breaches Equality ActArticle3 August 2019Jewish Voice for Labour's submission to the Equality and Human Rights Commission points out that many of the worst aspects took place under the tenure of former general secretary Iain McNicol, while significant improvements have been made under his successor Jennie Formby.
Document:The witchfinders are now ready to burn CorbynBlog post28 February 2019Jonathan CookJeremy Corbyn’s allies are being picked off one by one, from grassroots activists like Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth to higher-placed supporters like Chris Williamson and Seumas Milne. Soon Corbyn will stand alone, exposed before the inquisition that has been prepared for him.
Document:This largely pointless EHRC investigation has been welcomed by LabourArticle28 May 2019John Spannyard Indaworks"The upside of all this is that it may well lay to rest the continual Zionist refrain that Labour and Corbyn are an anti-Semitic party. What it is unlikely to do in my view is derail the Corbyn McDonnell project - it's just a bump in that particular road."
Document:We condemn the suspension of Jo Bird and the appointment of Lord FalconerArticle4 March 2019As Ken Loach said: “If it looks like a witch hunt and behaves like a witch hunt – it may well be just that. This is intolerable and must end now.”
Document:With Panorama's hatchet job on Labour antisemitism, BBC has become pro-Tory mediaArticle11 July 2019Jonathan CookThe question is why did the BBC’s flagship political investigations show decide that the marginal problem of racism in Labour was a much more urgent matter than the provable and significant racism in the Conservative Party?


Documents sourced from Jewish Voice for Labour

TitleTypeSubject(s)Publication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:JVL statement on Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvisstatement"Antisemitism"
Jeremy Corbyn
Ephraim Mirvis
UK/General election/2019
28 November 2019AnonymousThe Conservatives have given us austerity as an organising principle of government and as a result we have proliferating food banks, people sleeping and dying on our streets, our social care system on its knees, and local council budgets and services decimated. So, Rabbi Mirvis, which party is threatening the soul of the nation?
Document:On Ken LivingstoneArticle"Antisemitism"
Ken Livingstone
Edwin Black
Haavara Agreement
New Labour
21 September 2023Graham BashMadeleine Kingston adds: "I worked with Ken for several years when he was Mayor of London. I was a middle aged woman and he was always lovely to work with, extremely egalitarian, never patronising and always generous, courteous and respectful. He always related to me as a comrade and a friend."
Document:The Forde Report is what it isn’tArticle"Antisemitism"
Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn
Jeffrey Epstein
Martin Forde
24 July 2022Michael RosenSo…why the silence? Why isn’t the Forde Report all over the comment shows? Why aren’t all the relevant people being quizzed? Why aren’t there on-air discussions and rows going on between the opposing parties (and/or supporters)?
Document:The shortcomings of the EHRC ReportStatement"Antisemitism"
Leader of the Opposition
Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn
Shami Chakrabarti
Ken Livingstone
Jewish Labour Movement
Campaign Against Antisemitism
Jennie Formby
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Governance and Legal Unit
Pam Bromley
6 November 2020Jewish Voice for LabourThere are just 12 mentions of Jeremy Corbyn in the EHRC report, of which only two concern actions taken by him. It is reprehensible not to distinguish between actions taken by individuals supportive of Corbyn and those taken by people hostile to him – such an omission leads to the impression that all failings were Corbyn’s responsibility.
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