To Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC
cc: Fran Unsworth and Tracey Henry
You have received a letter from Manson and Levane (co-Chairs of Jewish Voice for Labour) complaining that you don’t give them enough coverage to deny the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party. Please be aware that their letter contains flagrant lies designed to boost JVL’s standing. Here is the extract with the lies:
1. Elections of Deputies to Divisions of the Board of Deputies and to Honorary Officer positions are scrupulously ‘supervised’ (I served as a Deputy for six years). Elections of Deputies within member organisations are also conducted fairly.
2. Manson and Levine betray their ignorance. Any Jewish organisation can send Deputies to the Board, not just synagogues. Thus the Union of Jewish Students, the JNF and AJEX are members to name but three. See the list here.
3. Manson and Levine claim that ‘secular Jews make up at least 50% of British Jews and have no voice through the Board of Deputies’. This is grossly misleading. It is true that around half British Jews are not synagogue members but that does not mean (i) that they are ‘secular’ or (ii) that the Board does not represent them:
i) Not being a member of a synagogue does NOT mean that a Jew shuns all religious practices, far from it. His/her children may attend a Jewish school, they may buy kosher food, they may wish that their baby boys are circumcised, they may be a victim of antisemitism. In all these cases and more, the Board helps them and represents them.
ii) They may be represented by a non-synagogue member organisation, see the list linked to above.
iii) The Board does many things, see here – which help ALL Jews in the UK, not just synagogue members!
Deliberately lying to non-Jews about the Jewish Community in order to inflate a case is about as despicable as it gets. So you can file their letter in the BBC’s recycling bin –it certainly does not need a response.
Jewish Voice for Labour exists to whitewash charges of antisemitism in Labour. They are even less representative of Judaism than the Westboro Baptist Church is of Christianity. The notion that they need to be given a platform by the BBC in discussions about antisemitism – in the interest of impartiality – is as ludicrous as the suggestion that a programme about climate change needs to have someone who is a climate change denier or that a programme about women’s rights needs to include a misogynist.