If you’re surprised, don’t be. Several Labour members of Jewish origin have been suspended after others accused them of anti-Semitism.
It seems certain people have an axe to grind against those who have a different concept of their own religious and/or ethnic identity.
The latest incident involves Glyn Secker, secretary of Jewish Voices for Labour, and relates to allegations that he made anti-Semitic comments on social media.
Oh, really? Well, if he’s supposed to have made them on Twitter, it seems his accusers took a long time about it because he hasn’t posted there since mid-2016.
A cursory examination of his Facebook page doesn’t turn up anything that could be said to be overtly anti-Semitic, although there is a large amount of criticism aimed at the state of Israel. That’s not anti-Semitic, though – even the flawed IHRA definition of anti-Semitism admits that.
So This Writer tends to the opinion that the suspension has to do with claims that Mr Secker has made anti-Semitic comments at events in which he has been asked to speak – although I’ll happily stand corrected, should any solid allegations ever actually come to public attention.
One such event was a rally in Grosvenor Square, London, on January 6. Euan Philipps – one of the more rabid anti-Semitism accusers – claimed in one of his HuffPost articles that Mr Secker was “filmed making antisemitic slurs” at the event.
But an account of the speech, here, while also claiming anti-Semitism on Mr Secker’s part, appears to show only criticism of Israel.
Even the allegation that the Board of Secretaries of British Jews has hosted the EDL at demonstrations – not the first time many of us have seen that claim, I’m sure – is a political criticism, not an anti-Semitic slur. Although, certainly, saying a thing doesn’t make it true.
The evidence – or lack of it – therefore tends to corroborate the JVL claim, below, that the allegations are unsubstantiated.
And the connected claim also rings true – that the use of such nebulous claims to punish Labour Party members without knowledge of charges, on the word of those who oppose their politics, does more to bring Labour into disrepute than anything else.
I wonder why this suspension has happened now. Is it because the chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement is currently under investigation over financial irregularities in that organisation? Such claims – if substantiated – would certainly put both Jeremy Newmark and the JLM into disrepute.
Is it because Iain McNicol has resigned as Labour’s general secretary? Many believe Mr McNicol was a strong ally of the section of Labour’s Jewish constituency that likes to accuse others.
Those suggestions must certainly be food for thought.
As a victim of false allegations of anti-Semitism, I can certainly agree with JVL’s closing sentiments. Anti-Semitism is monstrous – but false allegations of anti-Semitism are monstrous too.
The call for the charges against Mr Secker to be dropped is naive, though. There is absolutely no substance to the claims about me, but it seems I may face expulsion from the Labour Party on the basis of those fabrications.
Labour’s disputes procedure is a mockery, with members likely to be expelled without ever knowing the exact charges against them or the identity of their accusers.
It’s ridiculous – as some commentators have noted.
Greg Hadfield, for example, tweeted: “Why target Jewish members, for “anti-semitism”? While you’re at it, why not also target black members, for racism; or also target women members, for misogyny; or even target any/all members, for socialism? Does any of this make any sense at all?
Ah, but then Mr Hadfield has been accused of anti-Semitism as well, hasn’t he?
Here’s a thought: False allegations of anti-Semitism must qualify as uncomradely behaviour – which is also an offence according to Labour Party rules.
How many of those who’ve falsely accused their comrades have faced that allegation as a result? I’m betting the answer is none.
In an extraordinary development, JVL Secretary Glyn Secker, longtime Jewish activist, Executive Committee member and Director of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and captain of the Jewish Boat to Gaza in 2009, has been suspended from membership of the Labour Party.
Here are the charges: “Allegations that you may have been involved in a breach of Labour Party rules have been brought to the attention of national officers of the Party. These allegations relate to comments made on social media that may be in (sic) anti Semitic and therefore in breach of Labour Party rules.” They can’t even get the grammar right!
No accuser is known, the charge is appallingly vague, no evidence produced. But so seriously does the Head of Disputes, Sam Mathews, take the matter that Glyn cannot attend any party meeting including Annual Conference (that’s in September, six months away – Mathews clearly doesn’t think this will be resolved in a hurry!). And he has the gall to say: “In view of the urgency to protect the Party’s reputation in the present situation…”
Nothing is doing more to bring the Party into disrepute than the shocking use of unsubstantiated allegations to punish active members of the left without knowledge of charges, on the merest say-so of those who oppose their political stance, and in defiance of the recommendations of the Chakrabarti Report which was adopted a year-and-a-half ago by the NEC – but on which no action has been taken towards its effective implementation.
This is an absurd, politically-motivated attack on our Secretary and our organisation. We call on our supporters to move motions of censure in their branches and CLPs. To use allegations of antisemitism in this way is an abuse of power, and a degrading of the seriousness of actual antisemitism and other forms of racism. While antisemitism is monstrous – and, like all forms of racism, should be vigorously dealt with – false accusations of antisemitism are monstrous too. We call for the immediate lifting of these charges.
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