IHRA definition adopted - but
Corbyn defeated in bid to add 500 words allowing Israel to be branded racist
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
Pro-Israel emonstrators outside Labour headquarters Sept 4 2018