UK Labour Party to adopt antisemitism definition with addendum or caveat

Jewish communal organizations and leaders took particular exception to the Labour Party’s failure to consult with them when formulating its antisemitism guidelines.

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September 3, 2018 19:06
2 minute read.
UK Labour Party to adopt antisemitism definition with addendum or caveat

The leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, delivers a speech in Manchester, Britain, March 22, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS/PHIL NOBLE)

 
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In the latest installment of the UK Labour Party’s antisemitism row, the party’s ruling body will convene on Tuesday to discuss once again the adoption of an internationally recognized definition of antisemitism.

It is thought that Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) will now adopt the full version of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition, but add an addendum or caveat regarding criticism of Israel and Zionism.

Jewish communal organizations believe that any such caveat will be designed to permit the kind of anti-Zionist rhetoric that has morphed into antisemitism and has so plagued the Labour Party in recent years, including among its leadership and specifically party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In July, the NEC controversially adopted an amended version of the IHRA definition, but omitted four critical examples from it, including accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel than their home country; denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the State of Israel is a racist endeavor; “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis”; and applying double standards to Israel.

Jewish communal organizations and leaders took particular exception to the Labour Party’s failure to consult with them when formulating its antisemitism guidelines.

The Board of Deputies, a leading communal organization, wrote a letter to the NEC general-secretary Jennie Formby last week calling again on the committee to adopt the full IHRA definition.


The organization says that it has not received a response to the letter, or even an acknowledgment that it was received, noting that the Labour Party has once again failed to consult with it or any other Jewish organization ahead of the NEC’s meeting on Tuesday.
“This is about antisemitism, racism and prejudice, so you would imagine they would want to consult with the Jewish community about the issue,” said a spokesman for the Board of Deputies.

Similarly, the Jewish Labour Movement, a formal affiliate of the Labour Party, has said that it has “not been consulted in the slightest” about whatever definition and addendum the NEC might adopt on Tuesday.

The JLM has insisted that only the adoption of the full IHRA definition without any caveats or dilution will be accepted, saying that there is so little trust in the Labour Party by the Jewish community that any addendum or caveats will be viewed with extreme skepticism.

A spokesman for the Labour Party said he could not comment on the NEC’s Tuesday agenda.

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