Tag Archives: Charity Commission

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.

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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A good day’s work: Lying and libellous plots to attack Jeremy Corbyn seem set to fail

August 27 was an interesting day for those of us wrapped up in the Labour Party – anti-Semitism storm-in-a-teacup.

We learned that certain Jewish Labour MPs have decided they will need bodyguards when they attend the party conference, due to a perceived increase in anti-Semitic feeling – a perception that some of them played a part in creating, by giving credence to false allegations of anti-Semitism.

We also learned that unnamed malcontents were cloning Twitter accounts belonging to Labour Party supporters of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – creating new, fake accounts that look identical to the real things, intending to use them to post abuse they can then attribute to the real accounts and their owners.

It seems possible that this is intended to give credibility to the claims of the afore-mentioned Jewish Labour MPs, that they need bodyguards, setting up a nice – fake – controversy with which to hit Mr Corbyn during the conference. “Your supporters are threatening our lives. Step down!” That sort of thing.

And we learned that right-wing members of the Labour Party (although we cannot be sure they include the Jewish MPs already mentioned above) have complained bitterly about plans to penalise anybody making false, vexatious and/or malicious allegations about fellow party members.

Now, why would they do that, if it wasn’t to protect the Twitter cloners (among others, I’m sure)?

The plan seems to be to undermine Mr Corbyn with a landslide of fake accusations against his supporters, made by people who believe they will be immune from retribution, with protection from senior Labour figures.

Now, who could possibly come up with a plan like that? It’s too intelligent for the usual suspects in the Labour Party (the brains tend not to reside on the right wing of politics).

Could it possibly have been Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs?

And does it matter?

Hopefully not.

A new resolution has been submitted for inclusion on the agenda of Labour’s NEC meeting next week – that’s the committee that runs the party. It states:

This NEC:

– Notes that an unfortunate side-effect of the party’s renewed determination to root out antisemitism has been that, in a small number of cases, false accusations have been made about Labour party members, officers and elected representatives.

– Believes that maliciously-made accusations are damaging, hurtful and cannot be accepted in a democratic party.

– Resolves that:

(1) Labour must be tough on vexatious claims made about its members and must never accept such behaviour becoming the norm.

(2) To be taken seriously, formal complaints about alleged wrongdoing by party members must therefore be precise and based on facts and must take into account the context within which the alleged behaviour took place.

(3) Complaints that do not meet these standards may be considered vexatious, in which case they may result in disciplinary charges being pursued against the complainant.

Notice that, while the resolution mentions anti-Semitism for context, the proposal relates to all categories of complaint. It has a good chance of being passed, which is good news for everybody – except those who are trying to manufacture fake outrage in order to remove political opponents.

Amid all these, we learned that the mis-named Campaign Against Antisemitism, the fake ‘charity’ that pretends to fight anti-Semitism but in fact smears those who speak out against the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestine, has launched a petition on the Change.org website, calling for Jeremy Corbyn to be removed as leader of the Labour Party and claiming that this is due to numerous examples of anti-Semitism.

But the examples cited are lies and have been disproved, the petition is libellous, and both the Campaign Against Antisemitism and Change.org are vulnerable to prosecution under UK defamation law.

And it has provided an opportunity for signatories to make death threats against Mr Corbyn, exposing the double-standards of the fake charity behind the petition; it poses as an organisation protecting people from the threat of death because they are Jewish – but is perfectly happy to host death threats against Mr Corbyn, based on lies.

Oh – and guess what?

The Charity Commission is now investigating the Campaign Against Antisemitism for breaking the conditions of its charitable status.

You see, organisations that register as charities must never engage in party political activity – and trying to remove the leader of a political party by means that include inciting others to harm or even murder him is an emphatic form of such involvement.

They must remain independent and politically neutral – yet the Campaign Against Antisemitism concentrates almost entirely on making allegations against members of the Labour Party.

And charities must not be used as an expression of a trustee’s own political views – yet it is clear that chairman Gideon Falter, whose pro-Zionism, pro-Israeli-government views are well-known, is using the CAA as a front for his own attempts to remove an opponent of the same government’s slaughter of Palestinians which is carried out in the name of Zionist ideology.

Talk about backfiring!

It seems both these plans have blown up in the faces of their instigators.

The bid to smear Corbyn-supporting Labour members seems set to flounder if the accusers know they will face harsh penalties once their subterfuge is exposed.

And the Campaign Against Antisemitism could lose its charitable status – and face legal action – over its libellous, politically-incendiary petition.

For those of us on the side of the angels, I’d call that a good day’s work.

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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Tories should check their own ranks before accusing Labour of infiltrating thinktanks

Double standards: Philippa Stroud, paid to advise Iain Duncan Smith on DWP policy issues, who was also paid by the right-wing thinktank the Centre for Social Justice to lobby him on the same policy issues.

Double standards: Philippa Stroud, paid to advise Iain Duncan Smith on DWP policy issues, who was also paid by the right-wing thinktank the Centre for Social Justice to lobby him on the same policy issues.

Department of Double Standards: According to the Telegraph, the left-wing Institute of Public Policy Research is being investigated by the Charity Commission because of its connections with the last Labour government.

The Torygraph reckons half of Gordon Brown’s special advisers now work for charities or “supposedly neutral” thinktanks, many of which now lobby the Coalition government.

“There is increasing concern among Conservatives that charities and thinktanks are being used as vehicles for a pro-Labour agenda,” the paper crowed.

On the face of it, it may seem reasonable for charities to be investigated for putting forward partisan opinions as they should remain politically neutral.

Thinktanks like the IPPR, on the other hand, are entirely free to put forward any political philosophy they choose; it’s part of their reason for existing.

But what about when a Conservative government minister actually employs, as his special adviser on policy, a person who is not only already an employee of a right-leaning government thinktank – set up by the minister himself – but actually co-founded it with him?

Step forward Philippa Stroud, who co-founded the Centre for Social Justice alongside Iain Duncan Smith in 2004, as a right-wing research and lobby group. When Mr… Smith became a government minister in 2010, he appointed her as his policy special adviser, even though she was still employed by the CSJ as co-chair of its ‘board of advisers’.

The special advisers’ code of conduct stipulates that they “should not receive benefits of any kind which others might reasonably see as compromising their personal judgment or integrity”.

An annex to the code, titled the Seven Principles of Public Life, adds: “Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.”

The code also makes clear that ministers making such appointments, in this case Mr… Smith himself, are held responsible for their advisers’ conduct.

So Philippa Stroud, a prominent member of the Conservative Party, took public money on top of her own salary and had a job as a senior member of a pressure group that tries to influence his department, when her role within that department was to give him advice on what to do.

That’s a conflict of interest, right there.

Oh, but the arrangement was cleared by the DWP and the Cabinet Office, both of which are currently headed by members of the Conservative Party, with no mention made of any conflict of interest they might have been enduring at the time.

Chris Grayling, writing in the Telegraph, claimed: “Britain’s professional campaigners are growing in number: sending emails around the country, flocking around Westminster, dominating BBC programmes, and usually articulating a Left-wing vision which is neither affordable nor deliverable – and wholly at odds with the long-term economic plan this Government has worked so hard to put in place.”

Sauce for the goose, Mr Grayling!

If it’s fine for a Conservative Party member and special adviser to Iain Duncan Smith to be employed by a thinktank that foists right-wing policy views on the government, then it should be perfectly acceptable for Labour Party members to be employed by thinktanks too.

In fact it is clear that the Labour members are committing the lesser of the two evils.

The moral: If you’re going to accuse your enemy of cheating, make sure you’re not doing it yourself.

Also: Chris Grayling is a fool.

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