Tag Archives: board

Starmer is letting Tories order him around. Is this an unexpected twist in the lobbying scandal?

Keir Starmer: the face of shame, again.

We all know the Board of Deputies of British Jews is dominated by Conservatives, don’t we?

The use of anti-Semitism accusations may therefore be seen as a way for Tories to exert unwarranted influence over the Labour Party.

Now it seems they are extending that influence – by which I mean the following:

Labour leader Keir Starmer let a Tory-run organisation order him to reject an invitation to an interfaith event.

The Board of Deputies told Starmer to avoid the virtual Iftar event because one of its organisers is a member of Cage, an international advocacy organisation with a focus on Muslim detainees and communities impacted by the so-called War on Terror.

Apparently this person had shared a demand for a boycott of Israeli dates.

Is it true? Were there good reasons for it if it was? These questions are relevant but don’t really affect the core issue.

What matters is that Starmer let a Tory group order him around and that will never be acceptable in a Labour Party representative.

And at a time when he is trying to make mud stick on Boris Johnson and the Tories for letting former MPs and ministers, party donors and friends influence them, it is shocking that Starmer would show himself to be so easily-led by a Tory-led group.

The Twitterati have been having a field day:

This can only do further harm to Starmer’s chances in the local elections…

… but right-wing Labour is spinning like a top in its efforts to make him look supportable.

Labour is plummeting in the polls, with Starmer’s leadership the clearest reason, but that didn’t stop Peter – sorry, Lord – Mandelson taking a pop at former leader Jeremy Corbyn. He told Huffington Post‘s Paul Waugh:

“The memory of Jeremy Corbyn is still strong on the doorsteps amongst Labour voters here, it’s still coming up and I’m afraid we have still got some way to go before we rebuild the confidence and trust that we just threw away.”

No, Peter. It’s your boy Starmer who’s throwing away confidence and trust.

Meanwhile, the object of the Right’s continued enmity has managed to remain astonishingly equivocal about Starmer – but still couldn’t manage to say anything nice about him when questioned by LBC’s Iain Dale:

It is a class act – especially in contrast to that of Starmerites like Mandelson.

They fling dirt at Corbyn thick and fast – while he merely comments from experience about what a Labour leader should do.

One thing a Labour leader should never do is be seen to allow Tories to dictate his schedule to him.

Source: Starmer withdraws from Ramadan interfaith event after Board of Deputies warning | Jewish News

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Board members of UK’s biggest finance firms have had nearly 80% pay rise since 2009

Nice work if you can get it!

And, indeed, if you think it actually qualifies as work.

Board members on the UK’s largest financial companies have enjoyed an average pay rise of 79 per cent since 2009.

This means that during the decade of austerity, while you were probably facing a pay freeze – meaning a real-terms drop in income, median pay for the three highest earning non-executive directors (NEDs) in each of the FTSE 100’s 17 financial firms surged from £90,700 in 2009 to £162,000 in 2019.

They received this for attending – just attending, not necessarily contributing to – an average of 26 meetings a year.

The largest increases have been at Lloyds Banking Group, where top NEDs are earning 257% more than in 2009; the London Stock Exchange Group, where there has been a 219% rise; and investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown, where fees have jumped 170%.

Remember, these firms don’t actually contribute anything to our lives – they don’t make anything, and such services as they do supply are highly exclusive.

They make money by betting on whether other businesses will do well or badly. That’s what investment is, after all – a wager that providing money to those firms now will bring a profitable return later.

It’s a game for the very rich.

And it depends on keeping the people who do the actual work very poor.

Payroll is always the largest cost to any firm so, if they are to provide an expected return to investors from firms like Lloyds Banking Group, the London Stock Exchange Group, Hargreaves Lansdown, Phoenix, Barclays, Prudential, Aviva, Admira, RSA, NatWest and so on, businesses have to keep pay low.

So these 79 per cent pay increases for finance firms arise from their board members attaching themselves to you like leeches and sucking out all the benefits that you should be enjoying.

Remember that as you endure the hardships you’ll be asked to face in 2021.

Source: UK’s biggest financial firms have given boards near-80% pay rise since 2009 | Business | The Guardian

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‘Homophobic misogynist’ Tony Abbott appointed to trade role by sexist racist Boris Johnson

Tony Abbott and Boris Johnson: two clowns in monkey suits.

Why would a sexist racist like Boris Johnson want to appoint a “homophobic misogynist” – as Tony Abbott has been described – to a role advising his Tory government?

The connection should be obvious. Birds of a feather flock together, and all that.

And it’s an attempt to reassert some authority after the disastrous loss of any credibility that Johnson’s administration suffered over the summer…

… Johnson’s saying we’ll put up with Abbott whether we want to or not.

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been appointed as an unpaid trade adviser to the UK government.

Boris Johnson rejected claims Mr Abbott was not suitable for the role, despite criticism over past comments on women, LGBT people and climate change.

The UK prime minister said he did “not agree with those sentiments”.

It seems more likely that the UK prime minister agrees all too much with those sentiments – as held by Abbott – but not with those of the UK public that they are unacceptable.

According to the Huffington Post, though…

Asked about the allegations on Friday, Johnson said: “I don’t, obviously don’t agree with those sentiments at all.

“But then I don’t agree with everyone who serves the government in an unpaid capacity on hundreds of boards across the country. And I can’t be expected to do so.

“What I would say about Tony Abbott is this is a guy who was elected by the people of the great liberal democratic nation of Australia.

Okay, let’s find out what an Aussie has to say about him. Here‘s Van Badham in The Guardian:

I can only imagine someone in the appointment process believed the whole endeavour is destined to fail and only a fool would take the job. In that case, Britain, fair enough: Abbott romps it home on both fronts.

Abbott is a man whose nuanced contribution to international relations as prime minister was not limited to threatening to “shirtfront” Vladimir Putin with an Aussie Rules football tackle over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17. He also dropped a casual comparison to the Holocaust in a speech on the national jobs report. He reintroduced knights and dames to the Australian honours system, and the Australian he honoured first was … Prince Philip? He even got the name of Canada wrong (“Canadia”); he was in Canada at the time. Trade adviser?!

Maybe his British backers missed the time Abbott ate a raw onion like an apple in front of the national news media, and for no particular reason. The Australian town of Ballarat commemorates it regularly, crowning a local statue of the former PM with a garland of onions.

The Australian reaction to Abbott’s adviser appointment cannot be repeated, but it begins with a “W” and ends with “TF”. “Whichever Australian traded Tony Abbott to Britain,” remarked local cartoonist Jon Kudelka, “is the person Britain actually needs to help them with trade.” To appoint Abbott instead does not speak to qualification, or good governance – let alone anything like a desirable outcome. It speaks to “jobs for the boys” ideological loyalty that overrides history, fact and reason.

“Jobs for the boys” seems exactly right:

Well, the UK has major trade hurdles to overcome in the months left before January 2021.

If Abbott really is as bad as he seems, those months should be entertaining, at least.

The months immediately following may be considerably less so.

Source: Tony Abbott: Ex-Australian PM appointed UK trade adviser – BBC News

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Advisor who got Tories to buy useless PPE loses his unpaid position. Is that really enough?

Liz Truss: she slipped her buddy Andrew Mills £150 million for useless PPE, launching a huge corruption scandal in the process. Now the Tories have quietly dropped him from his position as an unpaid advisor to the Board of Trade.

Some might say it’s poetic justice that Andrew Mills, the man who advised Liz Truss to buy unusable face masks for the NHS, has lost his position as an advisor to the Board of Trade.

But what’s happened to all the money that she paid the firm he also (as it happens) advises, Ayanda Capital?

Was that repaid?

If not, then it seems the loss of his unpaid position – as part of a wider reshuffle and not even connected to the PPE scandal – is no punishment at all.

Source: Adviser in £150m PPE scandal is axed | News | The Times

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SICKENING bullying of innocents shows Riley won’t stop until she is made to

Take a look at this:

The “friend to Holocaust deniers” is, according to Ms Riley, the film director Ken Loach. But he is nothing of the sort and there is no evidence showing otherwise.

You’re probably familiar with the story. Mr Loach, along with Jewish poet Michael Rosen, was chosen to judge a children’s competition run by the anti-racism charity Show Racism The Red Card.

Ms Riley tweeted, and then deleted, this criticism, calling both “deniers/proponents of anti-Jewish racism”:

Note that no evidence was put forward in support of these wild claims.

SRTRC initially refused to change its decision, but the announcement trumpeted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, suggested a u-turn.

All was not as it seemed, though.

In fact, as SRTRC has now stated, the decision for Mr Loach to withdraw was mutual – and based on the fact that he and his family had been subjected to appalling abuse – both online and in person – by people who had swallowed the Riley/BoD narrative, or had a similarly hate-filled agenda of their own.

See for yourself:

“A significant factor in Ken Loach’s decision is the abuse online and in person that he and his family have received. It is profoundly distressing, and he is very concerned to protect those closest to him.”

It seems the claim against Mr Loach was that he had mistakenly emailed in support of a person accused of anti-Semitism. He had immediately withdrawn that support after the facts were put before him.

That’s not enough for the hate-mongers, though. I have experience of this myself; having been contacted by a person who said she had been falsely accused, I discovered that the accusations were accurate and cut ties with her. It was enough for the haters and they still use the incident as an excuse to tar me with false accusations.

I cannot prove that Ms Riley’s tweet prompted others to abuse Mr Loach and his family (although it is certainly an example of such abuse itself). But how many other people broadcast the false claims? And on whose information were those claims based?

The latest tweet makes one thing perfectly clear:

Rachel Riley isn’t going to stop.

She will continue with her campaign of online abuse and bullying – against innocent people – until she is made to stop by the power of the law.

So it’s hand that there is a case currently in motion that could achieve just that end.

Ms Riley has accused me of libelling her, issuing court proceedings against me. I believe she has done this in the knowledge that libel cases are horrifyingly expensive; she thought I would not have the funds and would have to give in – essentially, she thought she could use her vast wealth to buy justice.

So far, I have been able to crowdfund the money needed to mount a defence – but the case is going to court and I will need much more in order to succeed.

If you think Ms Riley’s abuse of innocent people is as despicable as I do, please help me fight her. Here’s how:

Donate to my CrowdJustice campaign.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

Mr Loach is innocent of wrong-doing, his family certainly are, and so am I. So, I suspect, are many more of Ms Riley’s victims.

Please help stop this vile victimisation and bullying.

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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Charity Commission urged to take action over political activity by Board of Deputies

Marie Van Der Zyl: The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews may find herself answering serious questions if she wants to keep her charitable status.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has become the second self-declared “pro-Jewish” charity to be reported to the Charity Commission for breaking the rule never to support or oppose a particular political party.

Online commenter Simon Maginn quoted the Commission’s own documentation that states: “Whether or not charities choose to undertake political activity, they must never support or oppose a particular political party or endorse a particular political candidate.”

He continued: “The BoD have demanded the Labour Party, but no other, agree to a ’10 point pledge’. I asked the BoD why this was so; they explained that the Labour Party is “infested” with “anti-Jewish racism”, “more than any other party”.

“This is not what CST [Community Security Trust, an organisation established to ensure the safety and security of British Jews in the UK] statistics show, though. CST 17 shows antisemitism rising the further to the political right one goes… Thus, statistically, a Labour member or supporter is less likely to be antisemitic than a member or supporter of the Conservative Party.

“The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee report on Antisemitism in the UK (2016-17) says this:

“It should be emphasised that the majority of antisemitic abuse and crime has historically been, and continues to be, committed by individuals associated with (or motivated by) far-right wing parties and political activity. Although there is little reliable or representative data on contemporary sources of antisemitism, CST figures suggest that around three-quarters of all politically-motivated antisemitic incidents come from far-right sources.

“I asked BoD why, in light of this, they were singling out Labour as particularly problematic, when the available statistical information showed the opposite to be the case; they offered no statistical rebuttal.

“Thus, the BoD have made a very public statement that the Labour Party is problematic based on faulty data. They are ‘opposing’ the Labour Party in so doing. The issue is politically sensitive. The BoD’s ’10 point pledge’ has had enormous publicity, with all the Labour leadership candidates signing up to it. This, in my opinion, amounts to the BoD ‘opposing’ the Labour Party by singling them out for opprobrium and not demanding any other party sign the pledge.

“I think this politicisation of the BoD’s activities presents a negative image of charities, which the British people believe to be politically neutral. The suggestion that a charity might be using its charitable status to oppose one party and, by implication, support another is damaging to the reputation of the charitable sector generally.”

He tweeted his letter for all to see:

It’s a strong argument.

And it will be interesting to see what the Charity Commission does with it…

… Especially as it is already dealing with a complaint about the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

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Labour anti-Semitism row: members should use their votes to send a message nobody can ignore

Marie Van Der Zyl: The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews needs to think before issuing bigoted press releases.

Congratulations are due to Labour deputy leader candidates Dawn Butler and Richard Burgon, who refused to kowtow to the Board of Deputies of British Jews by supporting their frankly anti-Semitic “10 pledges”.

In a hustings on Saturday, both confirmed that they did not support the demands, even though their fellow candidates for the deputy leadership – and all the leadership candidates have.

Ms Butler said she intended to wait until she had seen the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report on antisemitism in the party – and that she would support whatever it said. Personally, This Writer thinks that statement is premature; she should wait to find out what the verdict is before deciding whether it is worth supporting.

Mr Burgon, who has a history of questioning the so-called “witch-hunt”, said he had concerns about some of the demands. He made it clear that he would not support any move to pass investigation of anti-Semitism accusations to any external organisation.

He also said that he did not accept the Board of Deputies’ demand that only Jewish organisations it supported should be consulted on issues relating to all British Jews; all Jewish groups should have a voice. And he said the BOD needed to explain how the IHRA “working” definition of antisemitism could be implemented in the Labour Party without compromising freedom of expression or the rights of Palestinians.

(See this article for a full report – including video.)

Like the knee-jerk bigots they are, the Board of Deputies responded almost immediately – and stupidly.

“It beggars belief that after four and a half years of failure on antisemitism, Richard Burgon and Dawn Butler still think that they know better than the Jewish community how to fight this vile prejudice,” the BoD said in its statement. Trouble is, the Board of Deputies doesn’t represent “the Jewish community” because there isn’t a single, unified Jewish community in the United Kingdom.

Not only that, but neither of them said they knew better – this is falsely attributing words to people who did not speak them.

Oh, and after four and a half years, there is less anti-Semitism in the Labour Party than in the UK at large – and much less than in right-wing parties like the Conservatives. But we never hear the Board of Deputies complaining about that, do we? Because they are predominantly Tories, perhaps? (And don’t try to call this whataboutery; this is a political issue and the politics of BoD members is relevant.)

“No other minority would be treated in this way and this sort of thing is the very reason why Labour is being investigated for institutional antisemitism by the EHRC.” True in part: no other minority is treated the same as Jews, because the Board of Deputies has demanded that they be singled out for special treatment. This may be viewed as anti-Semitic in itself – applying double-standards by treating them differently from any other ethnic group.

And it is hypocritical to use the EHRC investigation against these candidates when one of them – Dawn Butler – specifically said she is waiting for its outcome.

Here’s a link to the tweet. Be sure to read the comments because many of them are scathing.

But don’t just take my word for it.

Jewish Voice for Labour has been a voice of sanity in this affair since the start, and its comment on the “10 pledges” is a damning indictment against the Board of Deputies.

“This organisation, deeply unrepresentative of British Jewry, presumes in effect to dictate to a major political party how it should run its internal affairs,” JVL states.

“Make no mistake – these are not ten requests: they are ten demands and one threat. The threat to each of the candidates for leader of the Labour Party. is in effect. accept our demands or we will attack you as enablers of antisemitism just as we contributed to making Jeremy Corbyn virtually unelectable. This not only brings shame on the Board of Deputies. It also brings danger to Jews living in the UK who will be seen as claiming a privileged place in determining how the country will be governed.” Applying double-standards by demanding that they be treated differently from any other group – see?

“It is deeply regrettable that all the Leadership candidates have succumbed to this blackmail.”

The statement goes on to explain what’s wrong with the “10 pledges”:

“Demand 1 is that all outstanding disciplinary cases should be swiftly concluded with a fixed timescale. That sounds good, but some cases are more complex than others. Those accused of something as serious as antisemitic behaviour must be allowed appropriate time to mount a defence, may need extra time because of serious illness, etc. Justice is complicated. The Board is simplistic. And underlying its attitude is the clear view that the only verdict that will satisfy the Board is ‘guilty’.”

Labour has a historic problem here, in that This Writer’s experience is that the party automatically assumes any accusation made against a member to be proof of that member’s guilt in any case.

“Demand 4 is that prominent offenders who were expelled or who left while under investigation should never be readmitted to membership. Never is a long time. The current Labour rules allow for the possibility of readmission after any offence, depending on behaviour, after a 5-year period. There is no reason, other than malice, that for this sole category of disciplinary finding the possibility of behavioural and attitudinal change should be excluded.

“The aim of this demand is revealed by its inclusion of the word ‘prominent’. How can it be just or appropriate to specify different penalties for people depending on how well known they are or have become? How can it possibly be acceptable to single out people by name? The explanation is that the two people mentioned [Jackie Walker and Ken Livingstone] were prominent ‘scalps’ claimed by a political campaign to extend the meaning of antisemitism. This is political vengefulness.”

Indeed.

“Demand 3 is that “Jewish representative bodies” (read, BoD) be given access to details of ongoing disciplinary cases. The confidentiality owed to ongoing investigations into allegations that have not been established to have merit is to be tossed out of the window. It beggars belief: the BoD is demanding the right to information that would give them, and their allies on the right of the Party, the ability to put pressure on how individual cases are determined. Out goes the independence of the judicial process. And what about the breaking of hard-won data protection laws?”

I seem to recall mentioning this myself.

“Demand 2 is the very purest chutzpah. The demand is that processing of all complaints, in effect the whole disciplinary process, be outsourced to an independent provider. This would mean that the Party would lose control of who was entitled to be a member! No autonomous organisation could implement such a scheme, least of all a political party. It strikes at the very heart of the freedom to organise for political change in this country. Parties are voluntary associations of people who come together to achieve shared ends, within national legal constraints. Their freedom of discussion and action and of self-regulation is the very fabric of our democratic processes.

“Demand 5 is headed “Provide no platform for bigotry”. But honesty in advertising would require it to be retitled “No platform for those who disagree with us”. What it says is that when people are going through the out-of-control disciplinary process assured by Demand 2, and while the details of the investigation are being fed to the BoD and its allies as a result of Demand 3, any other members who argues publicly that this treatment is misguided or unjust will themselves be suspended – and indeed perhaps expelled. If enacted this would ensure that no members could challenge unjust or slanted decision-making. Because those that did so would very likely cease to be members.

“Demand 6 – to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) “international definition of antisemitism” with all its subordinate clauses, without qualification – begs many questions. Apart from the fact that the Labour Party has already done precisely this (misguidedly in our view), the IHRA document has proved ineffective in actual disciplinary situations. This is because its definition of antisemitism is so confused and its examples highly contentious, with no rules as to how to resolve the inevitable resulting disagreements as to what is and what is not antisemitic. The document was never drafted as a legally binding document, as countless critics (including Ken Stern, its drafter) have affirmed.

“Demands 7 and 8 both seek to define the “Jewish Community” by excluding many Jews – evidently the wrong sort. The right sort include those who run the Board, and the cadres of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). The JLM it should be pointed out refused to campaign for the great majority of Labour MPs at the recent general election. It does not require its members to be either Jewish or in the Labour Party.

“Demand 7 is that all Labour Party internal training in antisemitism should be carried out by JLM. For two years from 2016 the aggressively pro-Israel JLM did indeed deliver the Labour Party’s antisemitism training. Its course content was both didactic and dogmatic, based on the supposedly revealed truth of the controversial IHRA document. When in 2018 the Labour Party asked them to revise their approach JLM walked away in a huff. Now they want it back, but on their own terms. Demand 7 is that they be given it.

“Demand 8 extends the same monocular approach to the UK’s Jews as a whole. The Labour Party is required to agree to communicate only with ‘mainstream’ Jewish Groups. That is to demand the exclusion of two-thirds of the country’s Jews. Why would they be so afraid that Labour might communicate with the wrong sort of Jews? The  Jewish Chronicle had a ready answer when it reported Demand 8 as being ‘to engage with the Jewish community via its “main representative groups and not through fringe organisations” such as Jewish Voice for Labour (emphasis added)’. Are our demands for a pluralistic vision of the Jewish communities in Britain really so much of a threat that contact with them is contamination? For the Board is demanding, in essence, that expression of our views be banned in the Labour Party.

“Oy Vey.”

Let’s just go back to the Board of Deputies’ tweet for the last part of its statement: “In the Deputy Leadership election, members now have a clear choice about whether they want to become a credible party of opposition or waste yet more years fighting the Jewish community about who gets to define our oppression.”

It seems clear that it is the Board of Deputies that is “fighting the Jewish community” – by falsely claiming to be representing it and demanding the exclusion of all others.

But Labour Party members do have a clear choice now.

It is impossible to ensure that nobody votes for the candidates who have misguidedly supported the Board of Deputies’ childish demand.

But what a message it would be, if Dawn Butler and Richard Burgon received more support than any of the other candidates – by a significant margin.

If you are a Labour member, and you want sanity to be brought back to the party, then This Writer would like to appeal to you to abstain from voting for any of the candidates who have supported the Board of Deputies’ pledges.

Use your votes to make a statement that they cannot ignore.

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Will YOU call on Labour’s would-be leaders to support the People’s 10 Pledges, rather than the Board of Deputies’?

Labour’s remaining leadership candidates: will you ask them to reject the demands of a group that represents, at best, a minority of a minority and ask them to embrace a wider, better version?

A blogger who posted her own alternatives to the ’10 pledges’ – demands the Board of Deputies of British Jews tried to foist on the Labour Party – has won the support of thousands of readers.

This Site reported on Kay Green’s alternative pledges here – and she acknowledged the boost in a follow-up piece, calling for action to make Labour’s would-be leaders take notice.

Here are her main points:

Here’s a link to OUR Ten Pledges Don’t lose it.

  1. Send a link to your chosen leadership candidates, and ask them what they think.
  2. Send a link to your MP, and ask him/her if they endorse them.
  3. Send a link to Jennie Formby, and ask her to tell the NEC we prefer them.
  4. Send a link to ALL the NEC members!
  5. Present OUR Ten Pledges to your CLP as a motion to the NEC.
  6. Ask your CLP to put them forward as a motion for conference (and/or women’s conference).
  7. Present them to your Trade Union branch, socialist society or local assembly, and ask them to recommend them to the Labour Party.
  8. Send them to your favourite lefty blog or newspaper (mine’s the Morning Star) and ask them to write about them.
  9. Share this blog on different social media, and in your favourite groups, and ask them for more ideas about how to promote OUR Ten Pledges in the Party.
  10. Promise yourself you’ll never forget that leaders can be led. Whoever becomes leader, and whatever they may personally sign up to, if a membership of half a million are clear and politely persistent about wanting something different, different will happen.

And do please keep in touch. If you do any of these ten things, or if you think of other things to do, please pop back to the Ten Pledges blog post and leave a comment to let everyone know.

They may have knocked Jeremy Corbyn out (for now) but they can’t kill the movement he inspired unless we decide to do nothing.

What are you going to do?

Read the full article here: YOU have the power – Kay Green

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Undemocratic, unrepresentative: but the Board of Deputies is gaslighting Labour into thinking it stands up for British Jews

Marie Van Der Zyl: What is the president of the Board of Deputies trying to achieve? And why is she trying to gaslight us all into thinking she represents all British Jews? She doesn’t.

This Writer came in for some flack a couple of days ago after I characterised the Board of Deputies of British Jews as undemocratic and unrepresentative.

A person on Twitter claimed that the BoD, that has managed to get eight of the Labour leadership and deputy leadership candidates to sign up to its 10 pledges intended to seal its anti-Semitism witch-hunt into party policies (see my recent articles), is democratic because it has elections.

Well, I did a bit of research, going to Jewish sources.

According to Jewish Voice for Labour – which I certainly trust more than the Board of Deputies itself or that organisation’s Wikipedia page – this is the situation:

The Board’s claim to be democratic is, however, distinctly tenuous. There are no British Jewish elections, no direct way for all British Jews to directly elect the board’s 300 Deputies. To be involved in electing Deputies, one must be a member of one or more of approximately 138 synagogues, or be connected to one of 34 ‘communal organisations’ (such as the UJIA or Reform Judaism) that are affiliated with the Board, all of which elect one to five Deputies—anyone not involved with these institutions does not have a vote, despite the Board still claiming to speak on their behalf. Inevitably, some individuals may be represented multiple times, through being members of more than one organisation.

The biggest problem, however, is with the elections held by affiliate organisations to select their deputies—it is these that justify the Board’s claim to be a representative democracy. Transparency is a fundamental requirement of democracy—there needs to be openness as to who the electorate is and how many of them turn out in order for any election to be considered legitimate. Despite its own constitution obliging it to receive the data (Appendix A, Clause 3: “the election shall not be validated unless the form incorporates… the total number of members of the congregation… and the number who attended the election meeting”), the Board does not release a list of the membership size or the numbers voting in each affiliate organisation, and claims to have no idea what the numbers might be. The Board’s spokesman explained to me that, “While we do need to be more thorough in collecting statistics, these figures wouldn’t add anything—they don’t speak to the democratic legitimacy of the organisation or to anything else.” This seems extraordinarily complacent—can we imagine a British election in which the size of the electorate, the list of candidates standing, and the turnout remained secret? It would be regarded as an affront to democracy.

So there you have it.

There are indeed elections for the Board of Deputies…

But they are an “affront to democracy”.

And this is the organisation that dares to lecture Labour on its policies, practices and procedures?

Pathetic.

The members of Labour cannot allow anyone who supports this group’s bigoted demands to have a senior role in the party.

I tweeted Jennie Formby, the party’s general secretary, to ask if there was a system by which the membership could hold a “no confidence” vote in the current election process.

But she hasn’t even had the courtesy to respond.

Source: Who exactly does the Board of Deputies represent? | Jewish Voice for Labour

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Labour leadership: Here are 10 Pledges that the candidates – and ALL of us – can support

Labour’s remaining leadership candidates need to stop listening to outside organisations representing a minority viewpoint that does not have the party’s interests at heart – and start listening to people like Kay Green.

Everybody who is angry at the Labour leadership and deputy leadership candidates who have signed up to the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ 10 pledges, like turkeys voting for Christmas, should read a new article by blogger Kay Green.

It has been suggested that perhaps Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry (leader candidates) along with Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and Ian Murray (deputy candidates) signed up to these pledges without reading them, simply to get the BoD off their collective backs.

If so, they would at least have some excuse for failing to realise the huge amount of harm they would be doing to the Labour Party if they follow through on the demands.

They would trigger an all-out witch-hunt, with members expected to be expelled upon being accused, no matter how dodgy the accusation or suspicious the accuser.

Many believe the majority of party members would not accept this ill-treatment by the leadership and would walk out, declaring an intention not to support the party until this nonsense is purged. That is my belief.

This would critically weaken the Labour Party, making it unable to win any general elections, possibly for decades to come. It would also end the careers of all those who signed up to the pledges as politicians who should expect to be taken seriously.

So we’ve established that the 10 pledges are an attempt at sabotage by an organisation – the BoD – that is dominated by Conservatives who intend nothing but harm to the Labour Party.

Now here’s Kay Green with an alternative.

She has taken the BoD’s headline pledges and crafted 10 of her own, using the same wording where available but attaching different – and much improved meanings.

So, for example, where the BoD suggests pledge 1: Resolve outstanding cases should mean “All outstanding and future cases should be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale,” Ms Green suggests:

Many members are hampered in their political activities by the lingering uncertainty of what they suspect are vexatious, politically motivated complaints. We are a well-funded organisation. If you haven’t got the staff, please employ some to get these cases looked at speedily and, where not justified, thrown out.

Isn’t that a million times better than the nonsense from Marie Van Der Zyl and her vicious Tory cronies?

Under pledge 2: Make the Party’s disciplinary process independent, the BoD stated “An independent provider should be used to process all complaints, to eradicate any risk of partisanship and factionalism” and this may be viewed as one of the more reasonable demands. But Ms Green’s version is better:

Stop taking instructions from organisations that have, one way or another, managed to present as the uncontested voice of people who don’t necessarily agree with them, and please endeavour to stop MPs being fooled by such organisations.

We can all get behind that! And yes, it is a criticism of the Board of Deputies itself, which claims to speak for all British Jews despite specifically excluding some individuals and organisations in a manner which is itself anti-Semitic.

If you don’t believe me on that, examine the Board’s pledge 8: Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups, which states: “Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through finge organisations and individuals.” These groups would all be chosen by the Board and would exclude organisations like Jewish Voice for Labour or Jewdas.

Ms Green’s version of that pledge is exemplary. Re-worded as “Engage with the membership, and with the people of this country, as efficiently and as directly as you can”, it states:

When you engage with “the community” please take some time to work out exactly who you are engaging with, and what actual proportion of the actual people in this country you are dealing with. If it turns out to be a strangely small number of voices speaking for a larger group, do some research and try again.

This is another criticism of the Board of Deputies, of course.

Other pledges by Ms Green demand that Labour give a better account of itself and its processes to members. I particularly applaud pledge 4: Prevent re-admittance of prominent offenders, which states:

Resist giving shadow cabinet posts or other power positions to MPs or execs who have repeatedly briefed against the party and/or the manifesto in ways that clearly go against the members’ wishes, or who have seriously misrepresented or slandered the membership.

The fear at the moment is that such people will in fact end up in positions of considerable power.

But probably the best of the lot is Ms Green’s version of pledge 5: Provide no platform for bigotry. Her version exposes the Board of Deputies for what it is – bigotry writ large.

The BoD version of this pledge demands that “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” – in other words, anybody with opinions the Board does not personally support should be removed from the party. Yes, there is reference to “anti-Semitic incidents”, but who decides that they are genuine examples of anti-Semitism? The Board of Deputies, which has a political agenda? That is bigotry.

Indeed, among its pledges, the Board actually names individuals it demands should never be allowed back into the Labour Party.

Ms Green has recognised this, and her version really puts a seal on what the BoD has been trying to do:

Bigotry means disrespect for, or abuse aimed at, others whose ideas disagree with yours.

Do not let anyone with a powerful voice in the party demand the silencing or no-platforming of members, former members, or citizens generally, unless those individuals are clearly breaking the law by, for example, inciting violence.

On the other hand, on no account name or label individuals you happen to disagree with in a way that encourages the public to see them as ‘fair game’ for abuse or disrespect, especially don’t do this just because you don’t want views that challenge your own heard.

There are more, and they are also good. I recommend you visit Ms Green’s site (address below) and see for yourself.

I would extend this recommendation particularly strongly to the individuals named at the top of this article.

Source: 10 Pledges to end the leadership crisis for Labour – Kay Green

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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