The fall conference of the UK’s Labor party saw more than its share of vitriol directed at Israel, not to mention naked anti-Semitism. In response, the Jewish Labor Movement—an established group for the party’s Jewish members—successfully pushed for new rules that would allow the party more effectively to combat anti-Semitism in its ranks. Opposing the change was the newly-formed Jewish Voice for Labor (JVL), which, according to Stephen Daisley, exists primarily to apologize for anti-Semites:
Although it failed to halt the new disciplinary regime, JVL’s intervention marks a turning point in Labor’s engagement with Jews and its attitude to anti-Semitism. Jewish groups within the party have hitherto been united in criticism of the leadership and the toleration of prejudice against Jews and conspiracy theories about Zionism. Now another group will purport to speak for Labor Jews, one ideologically wedded to the leader [Jeremy Corbyn] and the radical anti-Israel politics he practices. . . .
The [true] purpose of JVL is not to explore and debate complex questions or to represent the feelings of most Jews within the party; it is to muddy the waters. . . . [Its] most noxious aspect . . . is [its supporters’] eagerness . . . to leap to the defense of the most outrageous statements by the most extreme figures in the Labor party. Time after time, JVL has acted [by] providing kosher [certification, as it were] for the nastiest elements on the far left. When [London’s former mayor] Ken Livingstone pronounced Hitler a supporter of Zionism, Jenny Manson, now chair of JVL, issued a statement insisting his comments were “not offensive, nor anti-Semitic in any way.” . . .
So what do the anti-Zionist activists in groups like JVL get out of being used as a kosher stamp for anti-Semites—aside from proving their loyalty to the Labor party leadership? [The scholar David] Hirsh suggests a deeper motivation: “They would rather live in a world where anti-Semitism is provoked by Jews—and so, therefore, could notionally be stopped by Jews—than in a world where anti-Semitism is irrational. They prefer to imagine that Jews are in control of their own destiny than that they are simply victims of anti-Semitism.”