JVL officials at the centre of ugly antisemitism row nominated new Labour MP

Diana Neslen and Murray Glickman proposed controversial motion attacking Board of Deputies, which Sam Tarry has not condemned


New Labour MP Sam Tarry was nominated to fight last month's General Election by the two Jewish Voice For Labour officials now at the centre of an ugly antisemitism row in his constituency, the JC can reveal.

Diana Neslen and Murray Glickman were among the 30 nominators listed by Mr Tarry ahead of his selection to become the Labour candidate last October in Ilford South in east London.

On Thursday, the JC revealed how Ms Neslen and Mr Glickman proposed a motion passed at a meeting of the party’s Cranbrook and Valentines branch on Monday that sought to downplay antisemitism and labelled the Board of Deputies Conservative supporters.

Local Labour member Alex Holmes wrote on Twitter that he and Jewish member were accused of being “agents of a foreign power” during the debate over the motion at a meeting of the Cranbrook and Valentines branch after they objected to its wording.

He said it had been the "worst meeting I had ever attended."

It is understood that Mr Holmes, who is not Jewish himself, spoke up in support of colleagues at Monday’s meeting after they were allegedly subjected to “antisemitic tropes.”

Mr Tarry, a staunch supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, did not condemn the motion. He initially said there were "conflicting accounts" of what happened at the meeting where the motion was debated and passed.

But he later asked for complaints to go through "formal channels" so they could be investigated "impartially".

Mr Tarry won the Labour nomination after his chief rival, Jas Athwal, the leader of Redbridge Council, was suspended by the party the night before voting was scheduled to take place last October.

Supporters of Mr Athwal alleged the suspension - following a complaint about his conduct from another Labour member - was a stitch-up orchestrated by the pro-Corbyn leadership, who have denied this.

Mr Athwal is now taking legal action against Labour.

Mr Tarry, a former transport union official, once worked as an organiser for anti-racism charity Hope not Hate.

JVL duo Ms Neslen and Mr Glickman were joined by other figures inside the Momentum organisation, the Unite and CWU trade unions, as nominators of Mr Tarry, a former councillor in Barking and Dagenham.

One supporter, a former Ilford South Labour branch secretary, described Mr Tarry on Facebook as a "stalwart socialist, human rights campaigner, a supporter of Palestinian rights and so more".

Mr Tarry had previously claimed Labour MPs were responsible for the party's poor showing in the polls before the 2017 election. Speaking of Mr Corbyn's leadership in 2016, he said: "No longer do we want a party run by spivs and spinners in the corporate interest."

After being selected to stand for parliament, he was backed by current leadership contenders Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry in last month's election in which he retained the seat for Labour, after ex-MP Mike Gapes decided to quit the party.

The JC reported on Thursday how his supporter Ms Neslen has a history of controversial statements around antisemitism and Israel.

She once defended the use of the word "Zio" to attack pro-Israeli Jews, claiming there were "connections between Zionists and antisemites throughout history".

In another social media message, Ms Neslen wrote that "the lessons of the Holocaust is that all lives are worthy and since the Israelis learnt the wrong lesson their baubles no longer have any currency."

She has worked as a vice-chair with the Redbridge Equalities Community Council whose stated mission is to "build and strengthen community cohesion, participation, engagement and civic pride and promote inclusion of marginalised groups.”

Mr Glickman has been involved with anti-Zionist groups such as Jews For Justice For Palestinians and Free Speech on Israel.

Ilford South Labour member Mr Holmes said on Wednesday: "I am currently writing my official complaint to the party as they launch an investigation.

"As this issue will now be dealt with internally by the party, I will not be making any additional comments on the matter at this time."

The JC has been told five of those who nominated Mr Tarry to become Labour’s Ilford South candidate are JVL members.

"Unfortunately Sam Tarry is indebted to the support of a group that has consistently caused trouble locally, and has consistently sought to downplay or deny antisemitism in Labour," a source said.

"When the list of Sam's backers came in - there were three lists with 10 names on each - it was clear he was being backed by five known members of JVL."

The JC has approached Mr Tarry for comment.

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