Jewish Voices for Labour Expels Gary Spedding & its Zionist wing (or some of them) – after much Blood, Sweat & Bile
Jewish Voices for Labour Expels Gary Spedding & its Zionist wing (or some of them) – after much Blood, Sweat & Bile
JVL faces a choice – Jewish anti-Zionism or Jewish Identity Politics
I have to confess that getting the leadership of Jewish Voice for Labour to see sense and
remove some of its Zionist members was like drawing teeth. A few days ago I was contacted by members of Jewish Voice for Labour, which sees
itself as an alternative Jewish group in the Labour Party to the Jewish Labour
Movement. Why they wondered had the
Steering Committee decided to accept Gary Spedding in its Facebook group and as
an associate member?
It was only after an Open Letter to JVL that Arik Moshe, author of this vitriolic attack on Jackie Walker was removed
It was a good question. Why had they also included Arik Moshe, a
particularly vitriolic Zionist who had tweeted in respect of Jackie Walker, the
former Vice-Chair of Momentum:
else noticed how Jackie Walker only really mentions being Jewish when accused
of #AntiSemitism? Funny that…#Jackie
A post on the JVL Facebook group as a result of having forced it onto their agenda
A Zionist who believes that people who are Black
cannot be Jewish, because that is what the political on Jackie is about, surely
has no place in a group like JVL. No one
ever challenges the credentials of white people who say they are Jewish by
virtue of their father, which is Jackie’s situation. This has long been accepted in Reform Judaism.
Spedding has a long pedigree purporting to be a
Palestine solidarity activist whilst echoing all the talking points of the
false anti-Semitism attacks. In 2016 he
wrote an article for Ha’aretz echoing all the talking points of Zionist
propagandists to the effect that the Palestine solidarity movement is riddled
with anti-Semitism. We
in the Palestinian Solidarity Movement Have a Problem With anti-Semitism
Just some of Gary Spedding’s fan mail
Spedding also criticised Ken Livingstone as
‘anti-Semitic’. He has also accused me of ‘anti-Semitism’. Lacking all self-awareness, since Spedding
suffers from an extreme form of narcissism, he didn’t understand why it is not a
good idea for someone who isn’t even Jewish to call Jewish people anti-Semitic.
In his Ha’aretz article he wrote that ‘Anti-Zionist Jews are also not
immune from being complicit in, and promoting, anti-Semitism.’ Less
considerate people than me might say that that is a good example of
Spedding is one of the few people to have given credence
to the lies of Angela Eagle that she was subject to homophobic attacks at a
meeting she didn’t attend in Wallasey CLP.
These lies were used to suspend Wallasey CLP. Most people discounted them, but not
Spedding. So although
being a socialist or a Corbyn supporter isn’t an absolute condition of
membership of a non-Zionist Jewish alternative to the JLM being a witch-hunter
should certainly debar you.
first encountered Spedding when he messaged me furiously after I had criticised
an Early Day Motion on anti-Semitism that he had drawn up. This EDM talked about
‘the single biggest contributing factor to[anti-Semitic incidents] have
been anti-Semitic reaction to the armed violence between Israel and Gaza in
It is a curious phrase ‘armed violence’ to describe the one-sided attack by Israel on the
defenceless Palestinians of the Gaza. It
suggests that Spedding was deliberately seeking to minimise the one-sided
nature of that conflict by equating Palestinian defence with Israel’s armed
aggression on a people under occupation.
In stating that anti-Semitism ‘has
no place in campaigns of solidarity with the Palestinians’ Spedding implied
that anti-Semitism had such a place.
Some examples of why Spedding should not have been
allowed to join JVL
Early Day Motion that Spedding claims to have drafted for the SNP – John Mann signed it
Drafting an EDM which SNP MPs and John Mann signed linking opposition to
Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, when 2,200 Palestinians were murdered, with
anti-Semitism. This lie provided the pretext for the formation of
the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, a far-Right Zionist group which
even other Zionist groups keep their distance from.
Spedding attacked as anti-Semitic both Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker.
Spedding attacked Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada.
Spedding was a member of the liberal Unionist Alliance party in the North
Spedding has given full support to Owen Jones’s campaign, alongside the Jewish
Labour Movement, in its attacks on Jackie Walker and Ken Livingstone.
Spedding has praised the Community Security Trust, a Zionist vigilante
group that specialises in conflating anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Its Deputy Director Dave Rich recently brought
out a book, The
Left’ Jewish Problem.
Jackie Walker belongs to Momentum Thanet
Unfortunately not only the SNP but the JVL took Spedding
seriously as a Palestine solidarity activist.
I’ve posted a number of articles
on his antics including:
What is particularly outrageous is that I and others
were excluded from JVL because of political disagreements with the Steering
Committee whereas open Zionists seemed able to waltz in with the blessing of
the FB moderators– Messrs. Kuper, Cushman and Saville.
I was particularly critical of the fact that it had
avoided open support for the Palestinians in its Statement
of Principles in favour of an anodyne ‘We
stand for rights and justice for Jews everywhere and against wrongs and
injustice to Palestinians.’. The
Right of Return, a basic democratic demand or even opposition to the bogus anti-Semitism
witch-hunt were not mentioned. Whereas
the JLM is an explicitly Zionist group, the JLV prefers not to even mention the
word. I therefore penned an open
letter to JVL about what was happening and sent it by Messenger to all 160
or so of their Facebook group. This led
to my exclusion from their Facebook group. Such is the price of free speech (although
all the moderators are members of Free Speech on Israel!).
The Jewish Socialist Group Take My Criticism
The JSG, a group which barely exists today (its last
magazine came out over a year ago) have taken my criticisms particularly badly.
This is because I called on them to distance themselves from Jon Lansman, the
Momentum proprietor and dictator, who is also a member of the JSG. Lansman bears most responsibility for the
suspension of Jackie Walker.
When the JLM attacked Jackie after last year’s
Labour Party conference, Lansman immediately leapt to their defence. He told the Independent
that their Chair Jeremy ‘perjurer’ Newmark was
‘very upset and I can understand
that – I work closely with Jeremy, I’ve been meeting with Jewish organisations
to talk… I’ve been outspoken. I was very, very unhappy about… and I did comment
on it, about it, what she had previously said.’ Lansman joined in with the political lynching
of a Black comrade who was his own Vice-Chair without once asking for her
opinion. Newmark is a paid propagandist
and Israeli state agent. The idea that
he was ‘upset’ is fanciful. He was probably delighted to have a pretext for
attacking Jackie. Lansman scabbed on her
and the JSG refused to call him out on this.
When a member of the JSG, Ruth Appleton, signed a joint letter to the Guardian as a member of the JSG, she was told to take it off by Julia Bard
In a number of posts I called on the JSG to distance
themselves from Lansman, e.g.
I initiated a campaign in October 2016 to get
the JSG to come off the fence. Some 5 months
later the JSG finally caved in to the pressure.
But they did so with little grace.
David Rosenberg, who previously I have known as affable and mild
mannered, the leading light of a progressive if somewhat ineffective Jewish
group, had taken any criticism of Corbyn for his backtracking on Palestine to
David Rosenberg’s response to queries from Debbie Fink re their stance on Jackie Walker’s suspension
Dave Rosenberg’s vituperative response to Debbie Fink of Free Speech on Israel and J-Big was indicative. Her queries were
‘‘based on ignorance and vituperation, they
were not worth responding to. The JSG is solely accountable to its members, not
to you, nor to FSOI, nor to any other groups we may or may not be connected
with or work with.’
Realising that this was hardly an adequate response, Rosenberg issued a ‘Statement of Clarification re Debbie Fink’s questions re JSG, Jews for
Jeremy, and John Lansman. This is for information. We won’t be making further
comment on this matter as we have more important work to do.’
Unfortunately the ‘Statement of Clarification’ was anything but
‘Our group is anti-Zionist but
does not go in for gratuitous and childish demonisation of those who identify
David Rosenberg’s response to my campaign to have Gary Spedding barred from the JVL Facebook
What Rosenberg defined as ‘demonisation’ most
people would call criticism. The JSG have
always been wary of being seen to be an anti-Zionist group. Rosenberg explained why someone who had
previously criticised the lack of democracy in the Jewish community had become
a petty dictator in his own right:
reluctantly, had to block people for misusing our page by posting anti-Corbyn material, abusive sectarian
political material, or re-posting material by those who they know have been blocked from the
page. [me!] It is for these reasons that J4J collectively
decided to block Debbie Fink.’
Although, they grudgingly agreed to oppose Jackie’s
suspension they did it very reluctantly.
Hence when I launched a campaign against the JVL admitting Zionists
whilst excluding anti-Zionists as well as criticising JVL’s chauvinist
membership structure, Rosenberg resorted to the kind of language that Stalinism
was famous for. He informed members of
the JVL, most of whom are in no position to know any better, that I was barred
because of my ‘serial abuse of people
within those groups whom he disagrees with, his lying about and smearing of
other left wing Jews.’ As a final flourish, apparently ‘The Zionist establishment should thank him.’
As I wrote in my second
letter to JVL, this kind of response was knockabout stuff designed to avoid
debating the real issues. A large number
of people on the JVL Facebook page agreed with my comments with one resigning. With difficulty I persuaded two others not to
David and the JSG have no analysis or understanding
of Zionism. They have done little in the
Palestine solidarity movement and nothing around BDS. What surprised me was David’s resort to
outright lies. Far from my being excluded from the JVL FB group for lying,
smearing etc. Ian Saville, who is appropriately a magician, wrote informing me
attacking the steering group … and other people posting on the page seem
provocative and divisive, and have caused concern to other members. If you
persist with such posts you will be removed from the group. It seems also that
even before joining the group you circulated some of its members with
unsolicited material attacking the JVL and disparaging the process of its
Nothing here about lies or smears but plenty about ‘attacking’ (i.e. criticising) the
steering group and even worse circulating those criticisms to JVL members.
It was because I circulated Saville’s warning,
coupled with my own response, JVL
– What are they afraid of that I was removed. What the JVL chiefs couldn’t stand was criticism! Ian Saville then wrote to me privately
complaining about my having called him a Stalinist! He also added that ‘the fact that you chose to make public other people’s private correspondence
without even seeking permission was a breach which couldn’t be tolerated. Some people
saw your final post as a challenge to the Steering Group to exclude you, given
that you chose to quote the warning you were given.’
The correspondence in question was anything but
private. It was part of a political
polemic between Rachel Lever and others regarding the formation of the JVL. The real reason why Rosenberg and Saville indulged
in these transparently poinless lies is political. Rosenberg and what’s left of
the JSG believe that we should be completely uncritical of Jeremy Corbyn, his
retreat from Palestine and appeasement of the JLM. I take the view that if we
don’t exert counter-pressure on Labour’s leadership then the JLM will triumph
JVL’s Apartheid Membership Structure – Only Jews
can be full members – non-Jews are non-voting ‘associates’
From the day that I was first asked to sign up to
the JVL’s principles I have argued that the group should not be Jewish only. JVL’s Steering Committee has decided that
whereas Jews can be full members, non-Jews can only be Associate Members. The Steering Committee, whose composition
hasn’t been made public, but which is believed to include Jenny Manson as
Chair, Mike Cushman as Treasurer/Secretary, Naomi Wimborne-Iddrissi, Joseph
Finlay, Miri Franklin, David Rosenberg and Richard Kuper, has taken leave of
its senses. They seem incapable of
understanding or appreciating that they are effectively setting up a group with
an apartheid structure. Again they were
not prepared to debate this.
JVL should be a political group in opposition to the Zionist politics of the JLM. What it is doing is pretending that it is a broad based ethnically Jewish group and smuggling its politics in by the backdoor. Hence its Jewish only structure.
Non-Jews are made to feel guilty by being less than full members or participants in JVL – either JVL is a political group or it is a specifically ethnically oriented one – even the JLM admits non-Jews into full membership because it is a political Zionist group
Everything I predicted about this decision has come
to pass. Jewish members of the group
have expressed their resentment at non-Jews participation and made the latter feel
guilty. There were even suggestions for
a non-Jewish FB group! After a woman
(Jo) expressed her hostility to the involvement of non-Jews in the Facebook
group, one woman Eleanor promised to take ‘more
of a backseat’. Another non-Jewish
member John reacted by saying ‘I’ll shut
up then.’ Yet Jo and others began to
whinge that I had publicised what they thought were their private discussions! Yes it’s unfortunate that some members of the
group have enough courage and principle to leak information to me.
Shlomo Anker’s contribution to a discussion group – he is still a member
all’s well that ends well. After having
defended Gary Spedding against all comers in the end the JVL moderators bowed
to the inevitable and removed both him and the even more vitriolic Ari
Moshe. However that still leaves Shlomo
Anker, who has even posted a report
on the JLM’s recent conference on the JVL site.
Rob Abrams is another Zionist who has been left untouched.