Jewish Voice For Labour members ‘appeared to see Jew-hate as fantasy’

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Jewish Voice For Labour members ‘appeared to see Jew-hate as fantasy’

Ian Saville said he 'had a feeling that I was bringing up an irrelevant debating point' when raising the issue

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Jewish Voice for Labour banners at the Enough is Enough counter-demonstration
Jewish Voice for Labour banners at the Enough is Enough counter-demonstration

A founding member of Jewish Voice For Labour has claimed that when he suggested the group should actually provide support for victims of antisemitism within Labour, committee members “looked at me askance.”

Ian Saville, a self-declared “socialist magician: and founder of the Jews For Jeremy Facebook group, shed light on his involvement with JVL in a new online article assessing failures amongst left-wing groups over antisemitism.

The Brent Central Labour activist wrote that as a result of what he said was a “relentless right wing onslaught” over allegations of anti-Jewish racism some left-wing groups treated all claims on the issue as “bogus.”

Saville writes on the Labour Hub website: “It came home to me when I was on the JVL Committee and we had decided that one Committee should have the job of supporting those who have been unfairly accused of antisemitism.

“I supported this, but then ventured the idea that there should also be support for people who had themselves faced antisemitism within the Labour Party.

“People looked at me askance, as though I was asking for an officer to support people who had been attacked by leprechauns. Nobody argued against such a move but I had a feeling that I was bringing up an irrelevant debating point.

“As far as I know my suggest was not acted upon.”

In another revealing incident Saville revealed how he was left arguing with a poster on his J4J Facebook page after he removed a comment which “alleged the Holocaust was a fantasy.”

He writes:”The individual, who came from a Jewish background, nevertheless thought that Jews had somehow contrived to bring about the Russian Revolution and the Second World War in order to bolster their banking empire.”

Saville said this person was “frantic in his eagerness to persuade me of his truth” and added:”Alarmingly he also supported Jeremy Corbyn.”

Saville also concedes that within the left “there were an abundance of conspiracy theorists… who were constantly posting tales about the Rothschilds’ control of the economy, or Israel running all of the media.”

JVL’s co-chair Jenny Manson told Jewish News: “For us it is not whether to address antisemitism in the Labour Party but how to do it. Our response is an educational one not a training or punitive one.

“We have been active in trying to improve both understanding and behaviour. This stream of work developed after Ian had left the committee so he is perhaps not aware of the energy and resources we have devoted to it.”

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