Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party has come up with a new definition on antisemitism. It basically means that one can only be accused of antisemitism if it can be proved that they had antisemitic intent! British journalist Melanie Phillips highlights why this new definition of antisemitism is absolutely ludicrous. This is even more trouble for the UK Labour party, as feelings grow that Jeremy Corbyn is antisemitic, and actively allowing for the growth of antisemitism in the Labour party.
Today the UK Labour party had a meeting that approved the party’s new definition of antisemitism.
The question must be asked. Why did the Labour party believe it needed to come up with a new definition of antisemitism? There already is an internationally accepted definition called the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Jew hate. Yet, with today’s meeting, the UK Labour party, in essence, has rejected the international definition of antisemitism and replaced it with its own. Was that really necessary?
Not the best way to fight off growing accusations of antisemitism in the party.
On the one hand, Labour’s new definition states that “antisemitism is racism” and brands such conduct “unacceptable in our party and in wider society”.
However, it demands that statements must be proven with “intent” of antisemitism, which is impossible. In addition, it states that any and all “contentious” speech about Israel “will not be treated as antisemitic unless accompanied by specific antisemitic content”. What does that mean? Basically, it means that any antisemitic speech based on Israel is NOT antisemitism.
The Jewish Leadership Council response was harsh.
“This is a sad day for the cause of anti-racism in this country. Labour, for so long a Party that put equality and inclusion at the center of its values, has decided to claim that it understands antisemitism better than the victims of this vile prejudice and to set its face against the clear views of the Jewish community.”
“The strength of feeling across the breadth of the Jewish community could not have been clearer and many will see this as a deliberate provocation, built on misrepresentations of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism and double standards for the treatment of British Jews.”
They called Labour’s code on antisemitism “self-serving” and “a weaker, flawed definition whose main purpose seems to be to protect those who are part of the problem”.
British Chief Rabbi Mirvis wrote in response that approving this antisemitism code of conduct would put the Labour party ‘on the wrong side of the fight against racism’, sending a “message of contempt to the Jewish community”.
MP Joan Ryan, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, said: “I am appalled at the NEC’s decision which, once again, undermines the claims of Labour’s leadership that it intends to tackle the problem of antisemitism.
“The NEC has decided to prioritize the rights of those who wish to demonize and delegitimize the state of Israel over the struggle against antisemitism.
“This shameful action is antithetical to Labour’s values and its history, and we will campaign relentlessly until it is overturned and the IHRA definition and all its examples are adopted by the party.”
It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to terminate my membership of the Labour Party – A party I have supported throughout my life, a party I stood for as a candidate in local elections, a party that that was the natural home for British Jews #LabourAntisemitism pic.twitter.com/QfCLemaKmw
— Tal Ofer (@TalOfer) July 17, 2018
This is a dreadful day for @UKLabour
Let's be really clear: Jeremy Corbyn and members of Labour's NEC who supported this appalling decision clearly do not care about the immense distress and offence that has been caused to Britain's Jewish community https://t.co/Uqslu0k9qj
— Ian Austin (@IanAustinMP) July 17, 2018
Speaking against the new guidelines Margaret Beckett, the MP for Derby South, said: “We don’t need to convince ourselves about our code of conduct – we need to convince the Jewish community and we haven’t.”
Disappointed that NEC have decided to ignore the overwhelming majority of the Jewish community. It is a bad decision that could be interpreted as institutional racism. Victims of anti-Semitism deserve the same rights and respect as other victims of racism.
— Barry John Rawlings (@BarryJohnRawlin) July 17, 2018
Critics say this could be used to allow some former Labour party members previously expelled over antisemitism to be allowed back in.
Antisemitism in Britain
Antisemitism exists in Britain and it exists in the Labour party. Here is Luciana Berger, a Labout MP, delivering an impassioned speech during the parliamentary debate on antisemitism. Berger details the torrent of abuse she has endured as a campaigner and MP and says that antisemitism is now more commonplace in 2018