Jewish Labour Movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Jewish Labour Movement (UK), known as Poale Zion (Great Britain) until 2004, is a Socialist society affiliated to the Labour Party. It is part of the Poale Zion (Labour Zionist) movement, and as such is also affiliated with the World Labour Zionist Movement (the left-wing faction within the World Zionist Organization), has fraternal ties to the Israeli Labour Party (the UK Labour Party's sister party in the Socialist International and, from 2013, the Progressive Alliance) and has unofficial ties to the Habonim Dror Labour Zionist youth movement.

It views Zionism as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. Its aim is to promote "a secure, progressive, just and successful State of Israel". It campaigns against racism generally and seeks to promote a viable peace plan to the Israel-Palestine conflict. With regard to the latter it upholds the rights of the Palestinian people to live at peace with their neighbours on the basis of a two-state solution.[1]

History[edit]

Formation to 1939[edit]

The origins of Poale Zion in Britain were in the Ma'aravi ("Western") Society, formed in London in 1902 by Jewish socialist journalist Kalman Marmor, under the influence of the Eastern European labour Zionist movement led by Marxist theorist Ber Borochov.[2] Branches of Poale Zion were formed in London and Leeds in 1903/04 and 1905 respectively,[3][4] and in Manchester and Liverpool by 1906.[2] Two branches were formed in London, one by the garment workers union, one by the Independent Cabinet Makers Union.[5] A permanent headquarters was opened in Whitechapel in February 1904,[5] and a nationwide organisation was launched at a conference in Manchester in 1906.[6][7]

Poale Zion was active in Britain during World War I, under the leadership of J Pomeranz and Morris Meyer, and influential on the British labour movement, including on the drafting (by Sidney Webb and Arthur Henderson) of the Labour Party’s War Aims Memorandum, recognising the 'right of return' of Jews to Palestine, a document which preceded the Balfour Declaration by three months.[8][5] In this period, it published the periodical Jewish Labour Correspondence.[9] In mid-1920, the World Union of Poale Zion in Vienna set up a Poale Zion office in London, led by Shlomo Kaplansky and David Ben-Gurion. The office was in rooms in Petticoat Lane, where Moshe Sharett worked part-time translating Yiddish into English. They built contacts with both Labour and the Independent Labour Party,[10] and succeeded in becoming affiliated to the British Labour Party in 1920 under the name of The Jewish Socialist Labour Party, claiming membership of 3,000, although actual membership was a few hundred. One issue that they tried to influence policy on was the northern border of Palestine which was being decided at the San Remo conference. They hoped that it would be extended as far as the Litani River. They had only limited success in influencing Labour party Middle East policy and the office closed in March 1921.[11][12]

After World War I, Poale Zion published several pamphlets in Yiddish and a Yiddish journal Undzer Veg.[6] Kaplansky collaborated with the Independent Labour Party in setting up the Vienna International of socialist parties.[10]

By 1928, the World Union of Poalei Zion claimed to have 1,000 members in the United Kingdom.[13] World PZ leader Dov Hoz was based in the UK in 1928, and set about reviving and re-organising Poale Zion (Great Britain), including inspiring PZ members to become more active in the mainstream Labour Party.[14] Young Poale Zion was launched in Bethnal Green in 1928, by Sam Dreen.[15]

Poale Zion and Dov Hoz played a crucial role in the Whitechapel and St Georges by-election, 1930, swinging the Jewish vote behind the non-Jewish Labour candidate, James Henry Hall, rather than the Jewish Liberal candidate Barnett Janner.[16]

In the 1940s, Poale Zion (Great Britain) claimed a membership of nearly 2,000.[6]

After the Holocaust[edit]

Poale Zion played a role in the formation of Labour Friends of Israel in 1957,[6][17] and continues to work with them.

Leading members of the movement have included Maurice Orbach MP;[18][19] Samuel Fisher, Baron Fisher of Camden.;[20] Leo Abse, who set up the Cardiff branch in 1948;[21] Mary Mikardo[22] and Ian Mikardo;[23] Simon Pinner and his son Hayim Pinner, who was president of the youth wing and editor in the 1960s of its paper Jewish Vanguard;[24] the brothers Leslie and Harold Lever (Leslie served as chair);[25] Percy Sassoon Gourgey, the chair 1964-67;[26] Sidney Goldberg, General Secretary at the time of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war;[27] Eric Moonman MP, chair in the 1970s;[28] Reginald Freeson, who was the political secretary of Poale Zion and editor of its journal Vanguard in the late 1980s/early 1990s.[26]

Before the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, Poale Zion represented the dominant pro-Zionist view within the British Labour Party. However, as the left became increasingly anti-Zionist, relations with the left of the party were increasingly tense. For instance, in April 1983 women members of Poale Zion were prevented by Ken Livingstone from attending an International Women's Day seminar at the Greater London Council's County Hall,[29] and in 1984 efforts were made to force it to disaffiliate from the party.[30]

In June 1982, Poale Zion formed a Scottish branch with the MP for East Kilbride, Maurice Miller, becoming its chair.[31] In the mid-1980s, PZ still claimed a paper membership of 2,000.[32]

As Jewish Labour Movement[edit]

Poale Zion (Great Britain) was relaunched as the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) in 2004.

There were JLM speakers at the official commemorations of the Battle of Cable Street on its 75th[33] and 80th[34] anniversaries.

In the 2015 Labour Party leadership election, JLM nominated Yvette Cooper.[35]

In February 2016, Louise Ellman MP[36] retired as Chair of the Movement, and Hertsmere Labour activist Jeremy Newmark was elected as her successor. Newmark is a former CEO of the UK's Jewish Leadership Council and a former spokesperson for the previous Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks. Sarah Sackman and Mike Katz were elected as Vice-Chairs.[37] Sackman stood as Labour's candidate in Finchley and Golders Green in the 2015 General Election. Katz was selected as a Labour Party Candidate for the GLA in the London Assembly election, 2016. In July 2016, Ella Rose, a former Union of Jewish Students president, was appointed its first director.[38] Newark and Katz were parliamentary candidates in the 2017 General Election, in major Jewish centres Finchley and Golders Green, and Hendon both reducing the Tory majority to 1,600 and 1,000 respectively.

In February 2018, Jeremy Newmark resigned as chair, after The Jewish Chronicle published an internal audit report into his conduct while CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council. It is alleged, that between 2006 and 2013, that he deceived the council out of more than £10,000. The Jewish Chronicle claimed the council had covered up the former CEO's alleged behaviour, and accepted a resignation on the grounds of ill health. Newmark denied any wrongdoing, though he resigned as Chair of the JLM two days later to enable him to respond to the allegations.[39][40] Later in February the JLM reported some financial matters to the police for investigation.[41]

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The 'Jewish Labour Movement' website
  2. ^ a b Geoffrey Alderman Modern British Jewry, Clarendon Press, 1998, p. 175.
  3. ^ Stuart A Cohen English Zionists and British Jews: The Communal Politics of Anglo-Jewry, 1895-1920 Princeton University Press, p. 59-60.
  4. ^ Wislliam Fishman East End Jewish Radicals London: Duckworth 1975 p. 306.
  5. ^ a b c Geoffrey Alderman, London Jewry and London Politics, 1889-1986, Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 76.
  6. ^ a b c d P. Mendes Jews and the Left: The Rise and Fall of a Political Alliance, Springer, 20 May 2014, p. 217.
  7. ^ Geoffrey Alderman, London Jewry and London Politics, 1889-1986, Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 74.
  8. ^ Gorny, Yosef. The British Labour Movement and Zionism: 1917-1948 London: Frank Cass, 1983. ch. 1.
  9. ^ he pogroms in Poland and Lithuania : Special number of the Jewish Labour Correspondence. London: Jewish Socialist Labour Confederation Poale-Zion. 1919. 
  10. ^ a b Gorni, Yosef. The British Labour Movement and Zionism, 1917–1948. London, England: F. Cass, 1983. p. 27.
  11. ^ Teveth, Shabtai (1987) Ben-Gurion. The Burning Ground. 1886–1948. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-35409-9. pp. 169, 172, 174–5, 177.
  12. ^ Gorni, Yosef. The British Labour Movement and Zionism, 1917–1948. London, England: F. Cass, 1983. p. 25.
  13. ^ Labour and Socialist International. Kongress-Protokolle der Sozialistischen Arbeiter-Internationale - B. 3.1 Brüssel 1928. Glashütten im Taunus: D. Auvermann, 1974. p. IV. 100.
  14. ^ Yosef Gorni The British Labour Movement and Zionism: 1917-1948 London: Frank Cass, p. 54.
  15. ^ The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History, edited by W. Rubinstein, Michael A. Jolles, p. 228.
  16. ^ Gorni, Yosef. The British Labour Movement and Zionism, 1917–1948. London, England: F. Cass, 1983, chapter 4.
  17. ^ June Edmunds The Left’s Views on Israel: From the establishment of the Jewish state to the intifada, LSE doctoral thesis
  18. ^ P. Mendes Jews and the Left: The Rise and Fall of a Political Alliance, Springer, 20 May 2014.
  19. ^ Geoffrey Alderman, London Jewry and London Politics, 1889-1986, Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 101.
  20. ^ "Lord-fisher of Camden Dead at 74". jta.org. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. October 15, 1979. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 
  21. ^ The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History, edited by W. Rubinstein, Michael A. Jolles, p. 13.
  22. ^ June Edmunds The Left’s Views on Israel: From the establishment of the Jewish state to the intifada, LSE doctoral thesis
  23. ^ Tam Dalyell, "The Old Left", in Matt Beech, Kevin Hickson, Raymond Plant, eds, The Struggle for Labour's Soul: Understanding Labour's Political Thought Since 1945, Routledge, 2 Aug 2004, pp. 248-9.
  24. ^ The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History, edited by W. Rubinstein, Michael A. Jolles, p. 756.
  25. ^ The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History, edited by W. Rubinstein, Michael A. Jolles, p. 298.
  26. ^ a b The Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History, edited by W. Rubinstein, Michael A. Jolles, p. 364.
  27. ^ June Edmunds The Left’s Views on Israel: From the establishment of the Jewish state to the intifada, LSE doctoral thesis
  28. ^ "News Brief". jta.org. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. November 8, 1977. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 
  29. ^ June Edmunds The Left’s Views on Israel: From the establishment of the Jewish state to the intifada, LSE doctoral thesis, p. 137.
  30. ^ Oryszczuk, Stephen (May 25, 2016). "Corbyn backed motion to sever ties with Jewish Labour group]". Jewish News. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 
  31. ^ June Edmunds The Left’s Views on Israel: From the establishment of the Jewish state to the intifada, LSE doctoral thesis, p. 136.
  32. ^ Robert Silver, "Labour loses the Jews", Spectator 15 December 1984, p. 13.
  33. ^ Jessica Elgot "Cable Street march remembered 75 years on" Jewish Chronicle October 4, 2011.
  34. ^ "Corbyn speaks of mother’s role in Battle of Cable Street" Jewish NewsOctober 9, 2016
  35. ^ Which CLPs nominated who in the 2015 Labour leadership contest?, New Statesman, 1 August 2015.
  36. ^ 64: Louise Ellman, in JC Power 100, August 28, 2014.
  37. ^ Ex-JLC chief elected Jewish Labour Movement chair, Jewish News February 10, 2016.
  38. ^ Josh Jackman "Jewish Labour Movement appoints first director" Jewish Chronicle July 20, 2016.
  39. ^ Harpin, Lee (8 February 2018). "Revealed: JLC audit reports Jeremy Newmark deceived it out of thousands of pounds". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 12 February 2018. 
  40. ^ Brown, David (10 February 2018). "Labour activist Jeremy Newmark resigns in row over charity expenses". The Times. London. Retrieved 12 February 2018.  (subscription required)
  41. ^ Rocker, Simon (21 February 2018). "Jewish Labour Movement refers 'certain internal financial matters' to the police". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 23 February 2018.