Fury after chief executive of Liberal Judaism Danny Rich attends JVL meeting
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Fury after chief executive of Liberal Judaism Danny Rich attends JVL meeting

'This shows no respect for those who have suffered abuse and left the party as a result,' said JLC chair Jonathan Goldstein

Rabbi Rich in the front row of the JVL meeting at the Labour conference.
Rabbi Rich in the front row of the JVL meeting at the Labour conference.

The Jewish Leadership Council has attacked one of the community’s most senior rabbis for attending a meeting of fringe group Jewish Voice for Labour – ostensibly set up to deny antisemitism in the party.

Senior rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, was photographed in the front row of a JVL fringe meeting at Labour conference, sparking concern in the community.

“This shows no respect for those who have suffered abuse and left the party as a result,” said JLC chair Jonathan Goldstein.

“What would he say to Luciana [Berger]?,” he added in a reference to the Jewish MP for Liverpool Wavertree who quit Labour earlier this year, citing concerns about “institutional antisemitism” in the party.

Goldstein also tweeted: “This is extremely disappointing. I like Rabbi Danny and had a long chat with him about this last year. I’m afraid he’s well intentioned but just plain wrong and betraying the vast majority of our community.”

When approached for comment, Rabbi Rich told Jewish News: “There were two Jewish meetings. I went first to the Jewish Labour Movement meeting and then I went on to the Jewish Voice for Labour.

“I was there to observe the meeting,” he added. “I don’t know why Jonathan Goldstein would express concern. I’m not sure.”

The controversial group, set up in 2017 as an alternative to the Jewish Labour Movement, has faced accusations it downplays allegations of antisemitism in the party.

According to a post on its website, JVL says it “stands for rights and justice for Jewish people everywhere, and against wrongs and injustice to Palestinians and other oppressed people anywhere”.

Dave Rich, director of policy at the Community Security Trust, said: “Jewish Voice for Labour was set up to deny and distract from well-founded allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party and they have played such a damaging role in the deterioration of relations between the Jewish community and Labour that even Jon Lansman, the head of Momentum, has distanced himself from them.”

Jewish Voice for Labour has been approached for comment.

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