IHRA def­i­ni­tion adopted - but

Cor­byn de­feated in bid to add 500 words al­low­ing Is­rael to be branded racist

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEE HARPER PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR

What was he think­ing of, af­ter all we have gone through, to try and cre­ate an­other almighty row?” Why is it that the Labour Party feel that they are dif­fer­ent or above any­one else? 31 coun­tries in­clud­ing the UK have adopted it.”

JEREMY COR­BYN has been de­feated in an at­tempt to add a 500-word caveat into Labour’s def­i­ni­tion of an­tisemitism which would have al­lowed Party mem­bers to brand Is­rael “racist”.

But there are now fears that Labour’s in­creas­ingly left-wing na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC) will seek to im­ple­ment fur­ther changes to the code of con­duct around an­tisemitism in the weeks ahead — in­clud­ing moves to al­low com­par­isons be­tween Is­rael and Nazism from mem­bers.

The party’s rul­ing body agreed on Tues­day to adopt the In­ter­na­tional Holo­caust Re­mem­brance Al­liance (IHRA) def­i­ni­tion of Jew-ha­tred — while pub­lish­ing a small state­ment that it claimed would pro­tect mem­bers’ free speech on Is­rael and Pales­tine.

Dur­ing a stormy four-hour long meet­ing at Labour’s head­quar­ters in cen­tral Lon­don, sev­eral mem­bers of Labour’s NEC — in­clud­ing Jewish ac­tivist Rhea Wolf­son — openly said they would be un­able to sup­port Mr Cor- byn over adopt­ing a one-and-a-half page doc­u­ment into the party’s code which in­cluded the sen­tence that it should not “be re­garded as an­tisemitic to de­scribe Is­rael, its poli­cies or the cir­cum­stances around its foun­da­tion as racist be­cause of their dis­crim­i­na­tory im­pact, or to sup­port an­other set­tle­ment of the Is­rael-Pales­tine con­flict”.

When it be­came clear that the Labour leader would be un­able to gain suf­fi­cient sup­port for the word­ing amongst those present at the NEC meet­ing, he re­frained from for­mally pre­sent­ing the doc­u­ment.

In­stead, the NEC said in a state­ment: “We rec­om­mend that we adopt the IHRA in full, with all ex­am­ples. This does not in any way un­der­mine the free­dom of ex­pres­sion on Is­rael or the rights of Pales­tini­ans. We re-in­vite or­gan­i­sa­tions to en­gage in con­sul­ta­tion on the code of con­duct.”

John Mann, the Labour MP and chair­man of the all-party par­lia­men­tary group against an­tisemitism, said of Mr Cor­byn: “What was he think­ing of, af­ter all we have gone through, to try to cre­ate an­other almighty row?”

Later there was fur­ther con­dem­na­tion of the need for Labour’s NEC to in­clude a so-called “free speech clause” while also claim­ing to have adopted IHRA with all of its ex­am­ples.

Labour Friends of Is­rael direc­tor Jen­nifer Ger­ber called the NEC’s de­ci­sion “ap­palling” and claimed the “free­dom of ex­pres­sion” clause “to­tally un­der­mines the other ex­am­ples the party has sup­pos­edly just adopted”.

Richard An­gell, direc­tor of the cen­tre-left Progress group, said: “The Jewish com­mu­nity made it clear and sim­ple to Labour: pass the IHRA def­i­ni­tion in full – no caveats, no com­pro­mises.

“Jeremy Cor­byn and the Mo­men­tum-dom­i­nated NEC have just failed the most ba­sic test.”

Karen Pol­lock, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tional Trust, said: “The In­ter­na­tional Holo­caust Re­mem­brance Al­liance def­i­ni­tion and all of its ex­am­ples should have been ac­cepted in full to­day, no amend­ments, no caveats. We all be­lieve in free­dom of speech and this frame­work does not sti­fle that.

“Why is it that the Labour Party feel that they are dif­fer­ent or above any­one else when look­ing at this is­sue? Thirty-one coun­tries in­clud­ing the UK gov­ern­ment have adopted it.”

There are now wide­spread fears of a fur­ther back­lash from the pro-Cor­byn wing of the party when the NEC next meets to dis­cuss the is­sue next month.

Labour’s an­tisemitism code will be

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Pro-Is­rael emon­stra­tors out­side Labour head­quar­ters Sept 4 2018

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.