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UK: Labour Party adopts full anti-Semitism code

5th Sep 2018
UK: Labour Party adopts full anti-Semitism code

[Photo: Labour Leader Jeremy-Corbyn. Photographer: Tolga Akmen/AA]

Muhammad Mussa

LONDON (AA): The Labour Party has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) full definition of anti-Semitism but has emphasized the right to non-racist free speech regarding discussions surrounding the Middle East.

The National Executive Committee, the Party’s ruling body, in a meeting on Tuesday afternoon, accepted all 11 examples of the IHRA definition in an attempt to bring to an end the long-running accusations of alleged anti-Semitism within the party.

“The NEC has today adopted all of the IHRA examples of antisemitism, in addition to the IHRA definition which Labour adopted in 2016, alongside a statement which ensures this will not in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians,” a Party spokesperson said

Jeremy Corbyn also addressed the meeting in which he expressed support for the Jewish community and the importance of tackling anti-Semitism. He also voiced the importance of expressing solidarity with the Palestinians and ensure the protection of their rights.

However, Jewish Labour MP, Margaret Hodge, who had called Labour Leader Corbyn an “anti-Semitic racist” in July, was not happy with the outcome. She tweeted: “Two steps forward and one step back. Why dilute the welcome adoption IN FULL of the #IHRA definition of #Antisemitism with an unnecessary qualification?”

Board of Deputies of British Jews President, Marie van der Zyl, welcoming the Labour decision to adopt all the IHRA examples was “very long overdue”

Simon Johnson, Jewish Leadership Council chief executive, also welcomed Labour’s decision. He, however, criticised the “nitpicking” by adding the free speech clause.

Prior to the start of the meeting, protestors from rival groups met outside the headquarters of the Party, with around 100 Corbyn loyalists and a smaller number of anti-Corbyn and pro-Israel supporters.

Supporters of Corbyn are concerned that adopting the full IHRA definition would silence legitimate criticism against Israel, as one of the main examples of anti-Semitism given in the IHRA definition is that of being critical to the state of Israel.

Also speaking to local media was deputy leader Tom Watson who said that he hoped the ruling body adopt the full definition. “I hope that is the start of the journey to rebuilding trust,” he added.

Corbyn and his Labour Party have been embroiled by a summer-long anti-Semitism row that has seen him accused of allegedly being anti-Semitic.

Corbyn, however, has argued that there is a clear difference in being anti-Zionist and critical of Israeli policy and actions towards the Palestinians and being anti-Semitic.

Additional report by The Muslim News


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