On the Glyn Secker furore

Owen Jones
May 14 · 2 min read

On my way to Barcelona I retweeted a Jewish activist defending another Jewish activist named Glyn Secker who’d been accused of antisemitism across social media based on what it was argued was misrepresentation.

When Jewish people are accused of antisemitism, I think a high standard of proof has to be established, and I stand by the assertion that Glyn Secker, whose family were Jewish refugees, is certainly not an antisemite.

I also think elements of what he said weren’t fairly reported / stripped of context e.g. https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/jewish-voice-for-labour-secretary-glyn-secker-tells-pro-palestine-rally-that-jews-are-in-the-gutter-1.484043

But I was also relying on an edited extract I’d seen of the speech, which asked what a specific grouping of his fellow Jews were doing allegedly embracing the EDL.

Also there’s no evidence any Jewish organisation in Britain backs any far right organisation (there might be the odd member of an organisation who’s backed the EDL, but obviously that doesn’t make them representative), and the far right represents a growing mortal threat to Jews.

His language in parts was problematic particularly because he was talking to an audience who were mostly not Jewish. Another inflammatory bit was suggesting the Jewish Labour Movement — whose members include people I proudly call comrades — were a ‘Fifth Column’.

I do think all too many Jewish voices who campaign for Palestinian justice are often marginalised and maligned, and again, Secker isn’t antisemitic. But however the media reported his comments, some of them are still not things I’d condone.

It is possible to campaign for Palestinian rights and freedom — a great cause for justice — without using words that cause unnecessary hurt or upset. Language matters!

Anywhere, here goes a lesson: however easy it is to press the ‘retweet’ button while flicking through your timeline, do some digging before pressing it.

Owen Jones

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Author of 'The Establishment' and 'Chavs', Socialist, Guardian columnist. Losing my Northern accent. My views etc... https://www.youtube.com/c/OwenJonesTalks