JVL Submission to EHRC on Labour’s Action Plan

by Jewish Voice for Labour, JVL

JVL Submission to EHRC on Labour’s Action Plan

by Jewish Voice for Labour, JVL
Jewish Voice for Labour, JVL
Case Owner
To request that the EHRC takes action on the Labour Party's application of the Action Plan to remedy the disproportionate targeting of Jewish members
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Jewish Voice for Labour, JVL
Case Owner
To request that the EHRC takes action on the Labour Party's application of the Action Plan to remedy the disproportionate targeting of Jewish members
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Latest: Jan. 11, 2022

Update sent to EHRC

We are expecting a response from EHRC to our lawyers following their letters and our submissions. We have therefore written to notify them of the latest developments.

It appears that the new Labour Pa…

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JVL submitted a letter of complaint to the EHRC via our solicitors – Bindmans LLP – making it clear that the Labour Party Action Plan in response to the EHRC report has failed to consider or reflect the views of the breadth of ‘Jewish stakeholders’ and Party policy “would appear to be having the opposite effect to that which was intended; namely the exacerbation as opposed to elimination of the mistreatment of Jewish members by the Party”.

We pointed out that “the Party is disproportionately targeting and disciplining Jewish members that question the Party’s interpretation of antisemitism, as compared with non-Jewish members”.

The EHRC have responded: As you are aware, the Action Plan requires the Labour Party to take steps to implement the recommendations set out in our Report and they are required by law to comply with the Action Plan. We are actively monitoring the implementation and progress of the Action Plan. … In the meantime, we would welcome any further submissions from your client in respect of the matters within the Action Plan”.

We are now making this further submission (link below).  JVL points out that there have, up to now, at least  41 Jewish members investigated for antisemitism with 49  investigations (some Jews have faced more than one investigation ) and 5 auto-exclusions as a population share. As far as we can ascertain over five times more Jewish than non-Jewish Party members have been investigated in relation to allegations of antisemitism.

There is a particular concentration on visible JVL activists as ten of the current eleven JVL Executive officers have now been accused of ‘antisemitism’ and 38 of the 41 Jewish members investigated are members of JVL.  

This has resulted in a level of persecution many times higher for JVL officers and  for rank-and-file members of JVL than for non-Jewish party member.

JVL considers that the disproportionate targeting of Jews, with the spurious and offensive charges of ‘antisemitism’ arise from the Party’s recognition that our questioning of the Party’s interpretation carries some weight.   There is some indication that this is a planned policy of purging dissenting Jewish voices.

The Party’s deliberate attempts to exclude JVL from its ongoing engagement with Jewish communities is deeply unfair and amounts to discrimination of a subset of Jews on the basis, for instance, of their philosophical and political beliefs regarding Israel and Palestine and their concerns about the Party’s interpretation of antisemitism. Such potential discrimination, arising after the EHRC investigation and Report, is indicative of the Party’s increased hostility towards certain Jewish Party members, which is directly contrary to the intended outcome of the Report.

An additional form of this targeting of Jews is the quoting or sharing of articles by Jews as evidence of antisemitism in members’ charges.   (Link: Why on earth is citing me antisemitic? – asks Jewish blogger Robert A.H. Cohen)

JVL has made it clear in our document on antisemitic misconduct (Link: What is – and what is not – antisemitic misconduct) that conduct is antisemitic only if it manifests ‘prejudice, hostility or hatred against Jews as Jews’.

The Party has ignored this document and instead currently has three guidance note on antisemitisms - the Code in Appendix 9 Code of Conduct: Antisemitism and Other Forms of Racism the NEC Code of Conduct on antisemitism and the IHRA. These last two documents run consecutively in the Complaints Handling Handbook with no explanation of how these forms of guidance can be applied. The Party has also ignored the important Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism, supported by over 200 scholars in the fields of Holocaust history, Jewish studies, and Middle East studies, which simply and effecively states:Antisemitism is discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish).”

The Party is applying a ‘blanket’ charge that is legally weak if not unprovable: “Undermines the Party’s ability to campaign against AS”.  This applies where the only ‘offence’ is questioning the public perception of the scale of complaints of antisemitism against LP members. But more widely this is applied to any criticism or questioning of the Party’s so called campaign. It is frequently accompanied by other charges and often the correspondence is aggressive in tone from the start.

We intend to draw the EHRC’s attention to the Party’s disproportionate targeting of Jewish members in relation to the Action Plan and request the EHRC take action on this harsh treatment of so many Jewish members.

Engaging legal advisors to put forward our submission is costly but we think the principles are worth fighting for.

We are aware that there are many demands on our supporters’ pockets. But we ask that you donate to this action if you can and share the link to this page widely with all your relevant networks.

Thank you.

Link to relevant articles on JVL website:  

JVL Intro and link to full submission (within article): https://www.<wbr>jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/<wbr>statement/jvl-third-<wbr>submission-to-the-ehrc/



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Update 1

Jewish Voice for Labour, JVL

Jan. 11, 2022

Update sent to EHRC

We are expecting a response from EHRC to our lawyers following their letters and our submissions. We have therefore written to notify them of the latest developments.

It appears that the new Labour Party disciplinary process commences on January 20th. We are highlighting an increasingly dogmatic misunderstanding of antisemitism by a Party which includes, in its guidance, both the IHRA definition and the NEC code of conduct and Appendix 9 of the Rule Book. In this the Party appears to be overly influenced by certain partisan views rather than taking into account the diverse experience and deep knowledge of antisemitism among Jews.

Jews are being disproportionally targeted: the total number who have been sanctioned according to our records is now 43 and there have been 55 investigations of Jews with alleged antisemitism at the core, more investigations than individuals because several have been investigated serially e.g. Diana Neslen, three times. These are only the cases that Party members have brought to our attention, there may well be others.

There is a newer concern that well known JVL figures are being particularly harshly treated by the NEC Panels that determine the Party’s disciplinary actions.

Noticeable elements are the eight ‘auto exclusions’ of Jews arising mainly from retrospective application of the proscription of organisations with significant Jewish participation such as Labour against the Witchhunt. The term ‘support’ is being applied extraordinarily widely to include, for instance, merely expressing concern about the proscriptions. The intent appears clear – to eliminate anti Zionist and other legitimate points of view challenging influences from the Party.

One Jewish member has received an eighteen-month suspension from the Party. This penalty seems to rest solely on Appendix 9 of the rule book which includes the following text, which has been used by the Party to brand as antisemitic any questioning of its handling of allegations of antisemitism, even the correction of the facts or any explanation of Jewish identity which questions the Party’s assumptions.

"Any behaviour or use of language which targets or intimidates members of ethnic or religious communities, or incites racism, including antisemitism and Islamophobia,or undermines Labour’s ability to campaign against any form of racism, is unacceptable conduct within the Labour Party."

The first investigation was concluded with the Claimant having no knowledge of a right to defence under the NEC Code of Conduct; a request in 2021 to reopen that investigation was ignored.

This harsh sentence as a conclusion to the second investigation includes a component that effectively will exclude the claimant from the Labour Party: a new rule that requires compulsory training on antisemitism.

This training is given by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). JVL, some of whose members have attended the voluntary open sessions out of interest, has critiqued this training as lacking in depth (it is not ‘education’) and privileging a Zionist viewpoint. See the following article: JVL response to JLM antisemitism training

The view of antisemitism promoted in these sessions is reductive in the extreme; to impose it on Jews who hold a different view of the world based on their own life experiences (in this case of more than eight decades) is surely concerned with humiliation rather than education.

We will update this site again once we have a reply from EHRC.

As you know, legal action is costly. Please donate if you can and share the link widely.

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