Labour’s John McDonnell has claimed the Jewish Voice For Labour group has been subjected to “brutal” treatment, in a letter to Keir Starmer.
The former shadow chancellor wrote that the treatment of JVL and many of its members had been “disregarding, disrespectful, at times uncaring, even brutal, and, some have argued, has amounted to discrimination”.
His letter aimed to capitalise on remarks made by the QC Martin Forde, whose report into factionalism in Labour was published last week.
Forde had suggested JVL could be involved in antisemitism education training sessions, which are currently done by the Jewish Labour Movement.
Following the publication of the EHRC report into antisemitism in the party Jewish groups including the Board of Deputies, the Community Security Trust and others said they would not sit in the same room as JVL for meetings.
They all pointed out the group’s record of denying or disputing antisemitism claims under Corbyn, and a failure to distance themselves from Holocaust deniers in the past.
In his letter McDonnell claimed JVL were 35 times more likely to face anti-Semitism investigations than other, mostly non-Jewish, Labour members.
But he failed to address exactly why the group’s members might face disciplinary charges.
The letter to Starmer and Labour’s general secretary David Evans, also said the party needed to be a “broad church with different ideological and policy positions legitimately contained within it”.
JVL says it stands for “rights and justice for Jewish people everywhere, and against wrongs and injustice to Palestinians and other oppressed people anywhere.
McDonnell has defended JVL figures including co-chair Jenny Manson in the past, despite remarks from her that often infuriated most of the Jewish community.
But the group has failed to accept the “action plan” outlined by the EHRC for Labour to clear up its antisemitism crisis.
JVL also refuse to endorse the IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all its examples.
Despite repeated letters written to Starmer and Labour general secretary David Evans, JVL’s attempts to become involved with training sessions for Labour members continues to be rebuffed.
McDonnell also spoke out in support for sacked MP Sam Tarry on Thursday, after he was ousted from his shadow transport role for doing unauthorised media interviews on Wednesday.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.