Jewish Voice for Labour, the organisation which held a counter-demonstration to the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council’s “Enough Is Enough” protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party, was established last year.
It represents Jewish members of the party who support Jeremy Corbyn and was launched as a challenge to the Jewish Labour Movement which has been active in campaigning against antisemitism within the party.
JVL’s establishment was seen as an attempt to deflect criticism of the Labour leadership’s handling of the antisemitism crisis by providing a supposedly alternative representative body of Jewish Labour members; JVL denies there is any significant issue of antisemitism in the party – a stance which even Mr Corbyn himself, and Momentum, have now publicly rejected.
It held its counter-protest in Parliament Square because it said the main event was being used to “smear” Jeremy Corbyn. A JVL spokesman said after the event: “There is a massive difference between saying that more needs to be done within the party and a demonstration like this which is implicitly trying to force him out…This protest is unnecessary, inflammatory and politicised.”
Although it claims to offer an alternative voice within the Labour movement, it draws its support from Labour members on the extreme fringes of the Jewish community, many of whom have a long history of opposition to the very existence of Israel and who support boycotts of Israel.
Jenny Manson, a long-standing member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and a former Labour councillor, is the chair of the group. At the time JVL was founded in August last year, Ms Manson told the JC it was “not anti-Zionist”. However, she also admitted that it was designed to as a platform for Jews who do not support what she called the JLM’s “profoundly Zionist orientation”.
Ms Manson recently admitted she only “began to identify as a Jew in order to argue against the state of Israel”.
According to Ms Manson, JVL would also work for those “unhappy with JLM’s claim, inherent in its name, to be the Jewish Labour Movement speaking for us all, when it does not reflect the diversity of Jewish views on the left and does not require its members to be Jewish or in the Labour Party”.
Ms Manson has also admitted that JVL’s core purpose is to “tackle allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party”.
JVL’s co-chair is Leah Levane, who also goes under the name D’vorah Leah. Ms Levane supported Elleanne Green, the founder of a secret Facebook group recently revealed by the researcher David Collier, consoling her as “Poor Elleanne”.
JVL was backed by Jeremy Corbyn in a recent interview, saying it was 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.”
Committee members include veteran Jewish anti-Zionist campaigners including Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and Glyn Secker, the JVL secretary.
Mr Secker 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.
Other JVL committee members include Jewish Socialist Group member David Rosenberg and Joseph Finlay, a co-founder of Jewdas, a left-wing and anti-Zionist organisation of British Jews.
JVL appears to operate alongside another grouping, Free Speech on Israel. According to Companies House listings, both groups are run by the same people: Ms Wimborne-Idrissi, Mr Secker and Mike Cushman.
FSOI describes itself as “a network of mainly Jewish, labour, green and trade union, activists”. Research published here shows FSOI’s Facebook page riddled with antisemitism. Its page is private and moderated.
The JLM remains the only Jewish affiliate of the Labour Party and is the democratic voice of Jewish Labour members.