CRITICAL QUESTIONS FOR THE JEWISH LABOUR MOVEMENT (JLM)
The JLM is an affiliate of the Labour Party yet they stated that in an election they would not support any Labour candidate who accepts Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and they did not support Labour in Peterborough. They have also demanded that Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell “get rid of Jeremy Corbyn”.
The implications are wide especially with the possibility of a snap election. This is even more urgent after Panorama’s unprecedented attack (BBC 10 July), endorsed by the JLM, on Corbyn and the movement of hundreds of thousands who elected him. Also, the previous day the Guardian deleted from its website a letter supporting Chris Williamson MP, a Corbyn ally, signed by over 100 Jewish people, a number of whom are internationally known.
We hope you will endorse and circulate the following Critical Questions for the JLM. Please say if you are signing as an individual and/or for an organization. You can contact us on QuestionsForJLM@yahoo.com or Facebook.
Sara Callaway, Pete Firmin, Owen Holland, Selma James, Michael Kalmanovitz, Nina Lopez, Sam Weinstein, Aurora Yaacov
Dr. Swee Ang, Dr. Haim Bresheeth, Victoria Brittain, Dr. Ghada Karmi, Ronnie Kasrils, Ken Loach, Emeritus Prof Moshe Machover, Ian Macdonald QC, Leon Rosselson, Alexei Sayle,
Avi Shlaim FBA, Asa Winstanley
Other signatories below the Questions.
CRITICAL QUESTIONS FOR THE JLM (Supported by the LRC)
On 7 April 2019 the JLM passed resolutions that denounced the leadership of the Labour Party and the Labour Party itself. This is extraordinary coming from an organisation affiliated to the Labour Party. We therefore must ask some critical questions of the JLM and their supporters.
The JLM passed resolutions that said:
the Labour Party is institutionally antisemitic; the leadership of the Labour Party have demonstrated that they are antisemitic; and Jeremy Corbyn is therefore unfit to be prime minister and a Labour government led by him would not be in the interest of British Jews.
…[we] withhold endorsement, support or campaign time from any candidate who is not an ally in the fight against antisemitism in the Labour Party…
Q In the Peterborough by-election in May, the JLM decided not to campaign fo Labour parliamentary candidate Lisa Forbes, and after she won you called for her to have the whip suspended immediately. Does that mean that you were so opposed to her election that you did not care who was elected instead? Undermining the Labour candidate enhanced the chances of the Brexit party, led by an extreme right-winger who has connections with the antisemitic racist right in Europe. Would you have preferred the Brexit candidate to be elected?
Q Is the JLM in favour of the Labour Party manifesto which Corbyn’s leadership has produced, against austerity, for re-nationalisation and an ethical foreign policy?
Q When there is a general election, what other party would the JLM encourage Jewish people to vote for, or would you propose that Jewish people abstain from voting? Would the JLM tell people not to vote Labour, allowing the possibility of a racist, anti-immigrant, homophobic, pro-austerity, extremist right wing Tory prime minister?
There is an increasing threat of war against Iran by the US, backed by Israel and Saudi Arabia. A Corbyn government would ensure that Britain uses its power to deflate such a horrendous possibility and would not back such a war.
Q Would the JLM support the Corbyn-led anti-war Party or support this highly dangerous promotion of war?
The Al Jazeera documentary, The Lobby, revealed that leading members of the JLM were working with Israeli agent Shai Masot based at the Israeli embassy, who was plotting to “take down” Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan and discredit the then chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Crispin Blunt for disagreeing with Israel’s policies towards Palestinians.
The then chair of the JLM, Jeremy Newmark, was filmed at the 2016 Labour Party conference in a meeting with Masot and Israel’s ambassador to the UK Mark Regev discussing how to undermine Party members’ support for Palestine.
In undercover footage, Ella Rose, then director of JLM, now Equalities Officer, defended the JLM’s relationship with Masot saying she knew him “very well” and that she had worked with him when she was a public affairs officer at the Israeli embassy. She admitted that the JLM brought an Israeli delegation to the conference on behalf of the embassy.
Q In the light of this we have to ask what is the relationship between the JLM and the Israeli embassy in London?
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry called for an investigation into the apparent Israeli interference exposed by Al Jazeera.
Q Does the JLM support such an investigation?
The JLM website states:
In addition to the UK Labour Party, the Jewish Labour Movement is also affiliated to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Zionist Federation of the UK, and organise within the World Zionist Organisation alongside our sister party in Israel, Havodah - the Israeli Labor Party . . .
According to the UN, the World Zionist Organisation was allocated $35 million by Israel to fund and organise Israeli settlements on Occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law. The Zionist Federation of the UK demonstrated in support of the 2014 bombing of Gaza where over 2,000 Palestinian civilians were killed, including 500 children. The Board of Deputies of British Jews attempted to justify the widely condemned intentional killing of unarmed Palestinians by the Israeli military during the Great March of Return. So far this has resulted in 277 killed, including 52 children, media, medical personnel and disabled people, and 28,000 wounded and deliberately disabled.
Q We see no references to these tragedies on the JLM website: how do you explain being affiliated to these organisations which defend illegal incursions into Palestinian land and life, and the organised murder and maiming of unarmed civilians?
Isaac Herzog, while leader of the JLM’s ‘sister party’ the Israeli Labor Party (ILP) stated his apartheid view to: “separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as quickly as possible .We want to …complete the barrier that separates us.” Last year he stated that intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews is a “plague”. ILP leader Gabbay has said: “the Arabs have to be afraid of us” and “We will not share a government with the [Arab majority party] Joint List, period.”, and joined the racists in trying to legislate for 35,000 African asylum seekers to be either deported or indefinitely incarcerated.
Q Has the JLM challenged these views?
The JLM’s no-confidence resolution in Jeremy Corbyn also says:
Solidarity for those less fortunate than us or who suffered discrimination or injustice are both Jewish and Labour values.
Q Yet the JLM seems to focus only on antisemitism in the Labour Party and has little to say about antisemitism by other political parties, even by the far right. Other forms of racism, including Islamophobia, an discrimination and injustice, such as the hostile immigration environment are rarely mentioned. Can you say why this is so?
The JLM AGM also attacked other Labour organisations, including a Jewish organisation:
CLPD [Campaign for Labour Party Democracy], LRC [Labour Representation Committee] and JVL [Jewish Voice for Labour] are a malign influence in the Labour Party.
One of the JLM’s ‘values’ is: To promote the centrality of Israel in Jewish life . . .
Q The JLM often refer to ‘the Jewish community’ as if Jewish people are of one mind and whose political views you represent; at the same time you attack a Jewish organisation. How can you justify this?
Since you consider the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn institutionally antisemitic and therefore claim he is ‘unfit’ to govern, are we right to assume that you stay in the Labour Party to prevent it becoming the government?
Also endorsed by (so far):
Prof. Hagit Borer, FBA
Prof. David Epstein, FRS
Professor Chris Knight
Dr. Agnes Kory
Organisations (so far):
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network UK
Jewish Network for Palestine
Labour Against the Witchhunt
Liverpool Friends of Palestine
Scottish Jews Against Zionism
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
9:21 AM (38 minutes ago)