If you want to understand the politics behind Jeremy Corbyn’s invitation to a variety of groups to a ‘round table’ on antisemitism next week – including Jewish Voice for Labour - you need first to understand the history of the World Peace Council.
In 1948, the Soviet Communist Party set up the WPC as a propaganda organisation to push the aims of Soviet foreign policy. It supposedly consisted of a range of groups, all of which had credible sounding names: the Christian Peace Conference, the International Federation of Resistance Fighters, the International Institute for Peace, the International Organization of Democratic Lawyers, the International Organization of Journalists, International Union of Students, the World Federation of Democratic Youth, the World Federation of Scientific Workers, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the Women's International Democratic Federation.
Each of them was nothing other than a Soviet front, funded by the USSR and with only one purpose: to push the idea that the world had two alternatives, the peaceful Soviet Union and the imperialist USA.
The tactic was clear and obvious to anyone willing to look with their eyes open: to undermine the West by portraying NATO as the very opposite of its true intent as a defensive alliance.
It worked. The likes of CND acted as the USSR’s ‘useful idiots’, to use Lenin’s phrase, pushing the Soviet line and undermining Western defence. It worked to such an extent that although some within CND and the so-called peace movement knew exactly what they were doing – some were simply Soviet agents - others were simply very, very gullible and thought they were genuinely campaigning for peace rather than acting as Soviet stooges.
The tactic was a classic of Stalinists. If you want to undermine your opponents, don’t meet them head on; sow division and watch as they undermine themselves.
Which brings us to Jewish Voice for Labour.
Be under no illusions about Mr Corbyn’s round table. He is not serious about tackling antisemitism – or more accurately, about tackling antisemites. He cannot be, because that would mean tackling and distancing himself from the very groups and people he has been immersed in since he first entered politics.
He has been forced to confront the issue over the past few weeks because the media have at last cottoned on to the extent of the issue within the hard left, and many of his own MPs and members have refused to let it die down. The Board of Deputies and JLC’s ‘Enough is Enough’ rally in Parliament Square upped the ante.
For those around Mr Corbyn, there is only one requirement: to neutralise the issue.
That means sowing division and undermining those organisations – the Board and the JLC – which genuinely represent the vast bulk of the community.
And it means portraying the Jewish Labour Movement – an affiliate of the Labour Party – as merely one alternative voice for Jews within the Labour Party alongside JVL.
That’s why, for example, Mr Corbyn’s first contact with any Jewish organisation since the rally was to attend the Jewdas ‘Third Seder’. And look how well it worked. Instead of focusing on the issue of antisemitism within the Labour Party, attention within the Jewish community itself has been focused on the (ridiculous) question of whether or not Jewdas are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ Jews.
But Jewdas are an irrelevance in the bigger picture. The Corbynite version of the World Peace Council is Jewish Voice for Labour.
JVL has only one purpose: it was set up last August to undermine the claims of antisemitism within the party. Its chair, Jenny Manson, has admitted this, saying its core purpose is to “tackle allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party”.
Many of its members are not Jewish. And of those that are, many only use their Jewish roots as a political tool to undermine the mainstream community. As Ms Manson put it, she only “began to identify as a Jew in order to argue against the state of Israel”.
JVL’s secretary is Glyn Secker, who recently said that the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council were acting in the service of Israel and protesting about antisemitism because they were “baying for a political lynching” – a reference to the suspended Labour and Momentum activist Jackie Walker. He went on: “We stand alongside Jackie Walker.”
Mr Secker was readmitted to the Labour Party after he was suspended over his membership of a secret Facebook group in which antisemitic material was posted.
JVL’s role is to provide a ‘counter narrative’ to the Board and JLC to provide an entirely misleading alternative, so it seems as if the Board and JLC are merely competing voices alongside JVL.
Mr Corbyn used this tactic in his recent interview with the Jewish News, in which he praised JVL for giving a “Jewish voice in the party. We already have the Jewish Labour Movement. JVL was established last year and I think it is good that we have organisations within the party that are giving that voice to people.”
As the World Peace Council showed, it may be an old and obvious tactic but it works. Already, social media is full of praise for the idea of the round table, with tweets saying how good it is that Mr Corbyn is willing to meet with diverse Jewish voices, and attacking anyone who is not enamoured of the idea of walking straight into Mr Corbyn’s trap.
Be clear what is going on. The round table next week has no other purpose than to divide the Jewish community, giving spurious comparable legitimacy to Jewish Voice for Labour, a Corbynite front organisation, as to the genuinely representative bodies of the Jewish community.
It should be treated with the contempt it deserves.