Labour’s anti-Semitism row: Who are all the different groups?

Jewish Leadership Council

The Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) is a charity that acts as an umbrella organisation for the major British Jewish groups.

Its members include the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jewish Care, Liberal Judaism, the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland, and World Jewish Relief, among others.

The heads of each of these groups sits on the JLC’s top body.

The JLC says this makes it “accountable to all the major institutions of the British Jewish community”.

The JLC and the Board of Deputies jointly-organised the protest against anti-Semitism in Labour outside Parliament on 26 March and have been highly critical of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of the issue.

The Labour leader has offered to urgently meet with the heads of the JLC and Board of Deputies.

In reply, they have called for Mr Corbyn to provide “public confirmation” that Labour will “engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through fringe organisations who wish to obstruct the Party’s efforts to tackle anti-Semitism”.

They also want Mr Corbyn to condemn those vilifying Jewish people and Labour MPs for raising concerns about anti-Semitism, which the JLC and Board of Deputies told the Labour leader is being done “in your name”.

British Board of Deputies of British Jews

The Board of Deputies describes itself as “the only democratically elected, cross-communal, representative body in the Jewish community”.

It acts as a “mini-Parliament” for the Jewish community in Britain.

It is made up of 300 deputies directly elected by synagogues and communal organisations, with deputies then electing a five-strong leadership team.

Jewish Labour Movement

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) has been a formal affiliate of the Labour Party since 1920 and is made up of MPs, peers, councillors, party members, activists and Labour supporters.

According to its website, the JLM “campaigns within the party and the wider community to support labour values within the UK, Israel and internationally” and supports Labour candidates at elections.

Its objective is to “maintain and promote Labour or Socialist Zionism as the movement for self-determination of the Jewish people within the state of Israel”.

The JLM is also affiliated to the Board of Deputies and works together with the Israeli Labor Party.

They supported last week’s demonstration outside Parliament against anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.

The JLM described Mr Corbyn’s decision to attend a Passover gathering of a radical Jewish group called Jewdas as having “topped off the worst week on record of awful relations between the Labour Party and the Jewish community”.

Jewdas

Jewdas is a self-described “radical” left-wing group who oppose capitalism and nationalism and have criticised a “narrow Conservative clique” at the head of the Jewish community’s major bodies.

The group, which is followed by around 4,500 people on Facebook, has described the recent row over anti-Semitism within Labour as “the work of cynical manipulations by people whose express loyalty is to the Conservative Party and the right wing of the Labour Party”.

In a statement, Jewdas added: “It is a malicious ploy to remove the leader of the Opposition and put a stop to the possibility of a socialist government.”

They accused the Board of Deputies, JLC and JLM of “playing a dangerous game with people’s lives” and described Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, as a “non-Jew”.

It has tweeted that Israel is a “steaming pile of sewage which needs to be properly disposed of”.

Jewdas has highlighted how its members are “nearly all…synagogue-going Jews, most with either paid or voluntary positions within our communities”, and how the group has been “the only place many people could come to be both left-wing and religiously Jewish”.

The group also claims it is “the only radical faction that took anti-Semitism seriously” in recent years, and have pointed to how they have previously distributed leaflets offering advice about how to criticise Israel without being anti-Semitic.

Jewish Voice for Labour

Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) describes itself as a “network for Jewish members of the Labour Party” and a group that “stand for rights and justice for Jewish people everywhere and against wrongs and injustice to Palestinians and other oppressed people anywhere”.

JVL organised a counter-demonstration to last week’s protest outside Parliament against Mr Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism in Labour.

They accused the JLC and Board of Deputies of “cynical selective outrage” and suggested the anti-Semitism row is “an attempt to influence local elections and has nothing to do with the real and necessary task of challenging racism and anti-Semitism at all levels of political life”.

One controversial JVL activist, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, has claimed Israel uses and exploits the Holocaust to justify “crimes against humanity”.

Labour Against The Witch Hunt

Labour Against The Witchunt (LAW) was launched late last year and have spoken of “smears” against supporters of Mr Corbyn accused of anti-Semitism.

They are urging “all those who oppose Labour’s witchhunt against Corbyn supporters and critics of Israel/Zionism to stay in the party and fight” and are calling for an overhaul of Labour Party rules.

This includes the abolition of Labour’s compliance unit due its use “exclusively” against left-wingers, as well as the party adopting a different definition of anti-Semitism.

Labour adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism in 2016, which is also being used by the UK Government.

Jewish Socialists’ Group

The Jewish Socialists’ Group has around 1,200 followers on Twitter and describes itself as “a socialist voice within the Jewish community”.

It recently posted an article on its website claiming there is “malicious intent behind the the latest flimsy accusations of anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party”.

Momentum

Momentum is a Corbyn-supporting network that grew out of the Islington North MP’s first Labour leadership campaign.

It has around 30,000 members and, if it sustains its current rates of recruitment, wouldn’t be far away from drawing level with the Conservative Party in terms of membership size by 2022.

Momentum is led by founder Jon Lansman, who is Jewish, and recently released a statement saying it “acknowledges the anger, upset and despair within the British Jewish community at the numerous cases of anti-Semitism in the Labour party”.

The group also said it was disappointed in the party’s “failure to date to deal with them in a sufficiently decisive, swift and transparent manner” and insisted “accusations of anti-Semitism should not and cannot be dismissed simply as right-wing smears nor as the result of conspiracies”.

It added: “Current examples of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party are not only a problem of a few, extreme ‘bad apples’, but also of unconscious bias, which manifests itself in varied, nuanced and subtle ways and is more widespread in the Labour Party than many of us had understood even a few months ago.”

Momentum also said while Mr Corbyn’s opponents were “opportunistically using this issue as a way to undermine his leadership”, this did not reduce the need to challenge anti-Semitism.

Campaign Against Anti-Semitism

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism say they “work closely with police forces around the country, the Crown Prosecution Service, regulatory bodies and the Government to ensure that anti-Semitism is detected, investigated and punished with the full force of the law”.

The group focuses on criminal anti-Semitism and those organisations that are subject to special regulation.

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism also provides training and advice on anti-Semitism and have routinely been critical of Mr Corbyn during his time as Labour leader.

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