John McDonnell claims JVL group has suffered ‘brutal’ treatment from Labour
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John McDonnell claims JVL group has suffered ‘brutal’ treatment from Labour

Ex-shadow chancellor John McDonnell writes to Keir Starmer and general secretary David Evans claiming Jewish Voice For Labour members have been singled out for disciplinary action

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

JVL chair Jenny Manson and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell
JVL chair Jenny Manson and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell

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.

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