This is either an act of unutterable stupidity or a conscious betrayal of the entire Labour Party membership – and four of the five leadership hopefuls have committed it.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews – a self-appointed organisation claiming to represent Jews in the UK, believed to be composed mostly of Conservative voters – has released a list of 10 pledges – in fact demands – its members claim Labour must support “in order to begin healing its relationship with the Jewish community”.
The Board of Deputies has no right to claim that it represents all British Jews; it doesn’t.
As for the list – let’s have a look:
“1. Resolve outstanding cases: All outstanding and future cases should be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale.”
This is an insult to justice. Cases take as long as they take – otherwise more innocent parties will fall victim to miscarriages of justice, as has already happened in the cases of Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Chris Williamson and myself, to name only a few.
“2. Make the Party’s disciplinary process independent: An independent provider should be used to process all complaints, to eradicate any risk of partisanship and factionalism.”
And how is that supposed to happen? The Board of Deputies will be certain to demand a veto on any organisation chosen to carry out such work, ensuring that its disciplinary process could not be independent. This demand also conflicts with pledge 7, below. Come to that, it’ll be a neat trick marrying this up with pledge 10.
“3. Ensure transparency: Key affected parties to complaints, including Jewish representative bodies, should be given the right to regular, detailed case updates, on the understanding of confidentiality.”
This is a demand for access to confidential information about party members to be provided to people from outside organisations who may belong to organisations that oppose the Labour Party. I’ve already mentioned the BoD’s apparent preference for Conservative government; who else would want access under this unreasonable demand. And isn’t it contrary to the Data Protection Act?
“4. Prevent readmittance of prominent offenders: It should be made clear that prominent offenders who have left or been expelled from the party, such as Ken Livingstone or Jackie Walker, will never be readmitted to membership.”
This Writer is currently in the process of court action against the Labour Party over its decision to wrongfully expel me. If I succeed, then the party will be legally bound to readmit me, no matter what some third party like the BoD may think. This is simply an attempt to prevent Labour from reconsidering decisions to expel innocent members under false pretences.
First the @BoardofDeputies came for Jackie, who is Jewish. And I didn't protest loudly enough.
When they come for me (whose uncle was on Schindler's List) I'll tell them to go screw themselves for having poisoned Jewish identity in this country. Forever. https://t.co/zRVn7vBwuj
— Mira Bar-Hillel (@mirabarhillel) January 12, 2020
So the new Labour and Board of Deputies Party will be EXPELLING anyone who supported @DerbyChrisW. Democracy and free speech has just gone right out the window.
— Jen Wood (@unojen_wood) January 12, 2020
But what happens when the allegations/accusations are made by bad faith actors, for political reasons and are false, Jon? Like the accusations made against @DerbyChrisW . False allegations/accusations need to be called out.
— Neil Clark (@NeilClark66) January 12, 2020
“5. Provide no platform for bigotry: Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.”
This is a blatant attempt to thin out the party, ensuring that it remains too weak to win any future election. All members who were falsely accused have supporters who remain members, but this means anyone saying anything remotely supportive will face automatic suspension and possible expulsion. It is a fascistic attempt to exert control. And if anyone signing up to this pledge becomes leader, it will probably be unnecessary as the exodus is likely to be thunderous. People who have supported me have already indicated their disgust with Labour’s behaviour over the last few years, and a willingness to leave of their own accord.
“6. Adopt the international definition of antisemitism without qualification: The IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all its examples and clauses, and without any caveats, will be fully adopted by the party and used as the basis for considering antisemitism disciplinary cases.”
The man who wrote the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is on the record as saying that it has been weaponised by hard right-wing characters to demand support for criminal activities by the government of Israel. It was intended to be a working definition and is flawed in that it can be interpreted as demanding that anyone criticising the Israeli government should be treated as an anti-Semite.
See for yourself:
Kenneth Stern, the man who drafted the IHRA definition of antisemitism, says right-wing Jews are weaponizing it.https://t.co/Jj8ZrKAuyb
— Frank Owen's Legendary Paintbrush (@WarmongerHodges) January 12, 2020
“7. Deliver an anti-racism education programme that has the buy-in of the Jewish community: The Jewish Labour Movement should be reengaged by the Party to lead on training about antisemitism.”
So much for “make the Party’s disciplinary process independent”. Labour has, in the past, told members to take anti-Semitism training from the JLM, but those members would be fools to accept it as the JLM has been known to fake evidence in order to get party members expelled.
It is utterly unacceptable to make the #JLM official trainers of A/S.
This is an org where you neither have to be Jewish or belong to the party to be a member of.
— The Rt Rev'd Mojito🍹 (@childofeternity) January 12, 2020
“8. Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups: Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through fringe organisations and individuals.”
This is an example of genuine anti-Semitism. The Board of Deputies is trying to ensure that groups representing a more common-sense attitude, like Jewish Voice for Labour and Jewdas, are denied a voice. That’s denying Jewish people a right to self-determination, and it’s a claim that members of this organisation are “the wrong kind of Jew”. Despicable. It’s also undemocratic, of course.
“9. Communicate with resolve: Bland, generic statements should give way to condemnation of specific harmful behaviours – and, where appropriate, condemnation of specific individuals.”
An attempt to turn the anti-Semitism circus that Labour has become into a full-on witch-hunt. The demand for individuals accused of anti-Semitic behaviours to be named is a malicious attempt to blacken the names of people who may be perfectly innocent.
“10. Show leadership and take responsibility: The leader must personally take on the responsibility of ending Labour’s antisemitism crisis.”
The leader has always been responsible for tackling claims of discriminatory behaviour by party members. But this is a contradiction as the Board of Deputies is trying to claim seniority over the party leader – make the leader kowtow to its demands. That is simply unacceptable.
But five out of the six leadership candidates have signed up to it: Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry.
And deputy leadership candidates Rosena Allin-Khan and Ian Murray has also backed the pledges.
None of these turncoats should be allowed to have any position of authority – at all – in the Labour Party.
Already the move has put people off joining Labour – like Michael Siva, below:
I won't join @UKLabour any time soon. IMHO the following were unjustly suspended and should be reinstated:@DerbyChrisW @Jackiew80333500 @Marcwads @MidWalesMike @RLong_Bailey wants to sign up to this but point no 5 says anyone exercising this free speech will be suspended.
— Michael Siva (@michaelsiva63) January 12, 2020
And others both within the party and outside have voiced their outrage:
I'm finding this increasingly hard to believe.@BoardofDeputies release a starkly authoritarian power grab on @UKLabour, and include a targeted smear against @Jackiew80333500, a smear even BBC were forced to resile from.
And the candidates just meekly sign it?
— simon maginn (@simonmaginn) January 12, 2020
I've only just seen the #TenPledges furore, & that the leadership candidates have capitulated to these demands.
This suggests they either believe the anti-semitism smears, or that they are stupid cowards.
Is there any reason to continue as a member of the Labour Party?#BDS
— Dolly…. 3.5% 😷👊🛠️ #resist #revolt #remove (@Calumets) January 12, 2020
That's it then. We are now a franchise of the BoD, JLM, CST and every group who lobbies for Isreal. There is now nobody I can vote for.
— MinersLamp (@LampMiners) January 12, 2020
Dear Keir, I hope that, as you bend the knee, you recognize that
1. There are 285,000 Jews in the UK compared to your 1/2m
2. The @BoardofDeputies represent under 1/3 of them
3. The BoD is not properly elected and mainly supports the Tories
4. They see capitulation as weakness https://t.co/l8NNfs7YmD
— Mira Bar-Hillel (@mirabarhillel) January 12, 2020
you foolish woman you have been BOUGHT by the Board of Deputies and you will lose this because of your own stupidity that is not democracy that is being told wht to do. https://t.co/7fwNNHULC5
— Will Never Vote Labour Again (@Isobel_waby) January 12, 2020
The establishment have planted evidence to fit Labour up for a crime they didn't commit.
In the fight for social justice we need warriors not capitulators.
Shape up or ship out! pic.twitter.com/yCt7B1l8bL
— The Agitator (@UKDemockery) January 12, 2020
Please do tell Us … if not #STFU…sick & tired of this BS…. @UKLabour members & activists are not a bunch of people you can just disrespect & hope we stay silent you know?🤬 https://t.co/NVt0jb4RSt pic.twitter.com/QUIu6R3hdW
— Cathy Higgins #GeneralStrike #ToriesOut🇸🇱🇬🇧🌍 (@JustMeBeingMe4) January 12, 2020
If you are campaigning against anti-semitism in the Labour Party, but not campaigning against anti-semitism in the Conservative Party, you are not campaigning against anti-semitism, you are campaigning against the Labour Party. Not in my name. Yours, a proud anti-racist. https://t.co/70GePVklse
— John Woods (@JohnBluegenio) January 12, 2020
Reflecting on this and I know that it will probably be said that Christians don't face the same discrimination. But my point is about religion and politics.
— Nonny Nay Specific & Limited Criminal 🌹 👊 (@nayright12) January 12, 2020
BofD represent 40,000 people reported on BBCR4news 24/4/18 that they would CHOOSE the Jewish groups ACCEPTABLE TO THEM thus antisemitism within the Jewish community + attempting to quell freedom of speech. Why is a minority group making such demands?https://t.co/vfOSlkmEGo
— Carole Hawkins (@hawkins_carole) January 12, 2020
With respect, Mr Lansman and Ms Long-Bailey, if any of us is accused of something we haven’t said/thought/done we are entitled to defend ourselves – whatever the wrongful accusation is.
To expect someone to remain silent and submit to wrongful slurs is to deny their human right!
— Rosie R. (@yorkierosie) January 12, 2020
breath-taking naivety and ignorance. as if antisemitism hasn't been exploited as a political football for centuries.
Actual fascists, emboldened by this sort of nonsense, are joining in the chorus of antisemitism allegations against progressive anti-racists.
wake up Jon. https://t.co/O2KHniAmTb
— Justin Schlosberg (@jrschlosberg) January 12, 2020
This is ridiculous, this is about CONTROL and nothing more, a political party is being punished for a crime it didn’t commit, at least, not to the extent the Tory Party, MSM and the BBC inferred. JC did EVERYTHING he could to eradicate AS from the party, whilst the Tories PLAY 1/ https://t.co/wgsL201Awg
— ♿️🇵🇸💚⬛🔸🕷️🕸️⚫️MaiaB (@MaiaBug2010) January 12, 2020
There wasn't room to put in this tweet the issue of the Conservative party/government, Johnson and Tim Montgomerie in relation to Orban. Where would that fit in the #TenPledges ? What do Hungary's 100,000 Jews think of Orban and the Tories' fondness for him? https://t.co/06YDkgCYXl
— Michael Rosen (@MichaelRosenYes) January 12, 2020
It goes on and on. These probably aren’t even among the strongest examples.
The Board of Deputies – and their Labour-hating allies – are undoubtedly loving the division they’ve caused. If party members elect a leader who supports these pledges, the resulting split could plunge us into far right-wing dictatorship for decades.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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