November 19, 2018

Labour Party Amends Anti-Semitism Definition

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

After being plagued by allegations of anti-Semitism, the Labour Party voted on Tuesday to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, but added a “free speech” qualification that has garnered criticism from Jewish groups.

The party issued a statement accompanying the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism that said that it doesn’t “undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians.”

Various Jewish groups denounced this caveat.

“A ‘freedom of expression on Israel’ clause is unnecessary and totally undermines the other examples the party has supposedly just adopted,” Labour Friends of Israel director Jennifer Garber said in a statement. “Labour appears determined to provide a safe space for anti-Semites. This decision is a sad reflection on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party and the culture it has instilled.”

Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who called Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite to his face, tweeted that the party’s move was “two steps forward and one step back.”

“Why dilute the welcome adoption IN FULL of the #IHRA definition of #Antisemitism with an unnecessary qualification?” Hodge wrote.

Other Jewish groups, such as the World Jewish Council, viewed the move as progress for the Labour Party, but more work needed to be done.

Additionally, Corbyn reportedly attempted to introduce language that would have stated that it wasn’t anti-Semitic to describe “Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist.” He was rebuffed by his party.

In July, the Labour Party had only adopted part of the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism, but wouldn’t embrace the aspects of the definition that stated it was anti-Semitic to compare Israel to Nazi Germany.

Corbyn himself has been embroiled in a myriad of scandals in recent weeks, including a prior speech of him saying that Zionists don’t understand “English irony” and laying a wreath at the graves of the 1972 Munich terrorists.