Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) is a new group that aims to reinvigorate the Jewish socialist tradition inside the Labour Party.
FSOI has, from its establishment in 2016, been active in combatting the Labour Party’s acquiescence in the Zionist campaign to demonise criticism of Israel. The Party bureaucracy and many leading figures on the right of the Party have uncritically adopted the views of the so-called Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) that Israel, even under its extreme right-wing leadership, is a natural bedfellow of Labour. Opposition to Netanyahu’s regime is assumed to be antisemitic unless shown otherwise – and that judgement is to be made by sceptical, if not actively hostile, adjudicator.
The JLM has many members who are neither Jewish nor party members. JVL, on the contrary, limits full membership to Labour Party members who identify as Jewish; non-Jewish party members can enrol as associate members; and people who support its aims from outside the party are welcome to register as Friends of JVL.
JVL bases its Statement of Principles on a recognition that Human Rights are universal and thus it opposes the denial of such rights to Palestinians. It follows that it recognises that campaigning to support such rights should be the natural stance of the Party and tactics such as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions should not be anathematised as antisemitic.
As a group committed to universal rights JVL places the important fight against anti-Jewish prejudice in the context of the battle against all forms of racism and discrimination and does not privilege concern with one form of hate crime over another.
While the precise nature of JVL activities will develop through debate among its new and growing membership FSOI anticipates that JVL will oppose attempts by the JLM and Labour Friends of Israel to place questioning the nature of the Israeli state off-limits. Similarly, we hope believe it will seek to strengthen the resolve of the Party to resist pressure from groups outside the Party like the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Community Security Trust to muffle opposition to occupation and apartheid.
JVL will be a partner in FSOI’s efforts to oppose and impede the IHRA (mis)definition of antisemitism. Slowing and reversing its adoption by Labour controlled Councils will be one of its major tasks.
JVL will hold its public launch at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton in September.
FSOI encourages all its supporters to join Jewish Voice for Labour as members or friends.