British Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Monday that the UK government will adopt a new, clearer definition of anti-Semitism.
May outlined the new definition, which was set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, in a major speech to a Conservative Friends of Israel event. The definition includes claims that Israel has no right to exist.
The IHRA definition states that “antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
When the IHRA published its definition earlier this year, it said that “accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing of exaggerating the Holocaust,” or “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,” are anti-Semitic.
The move by the prime minister is extremely significant, as this is her first speech on this issue since taking office. The definition is legally binding and can be used by police, councils, universities, and public bodies.
“Let me be clear: it is unacceptable that there is anti-Semitism in this country. It is even worse that incidents are reportedly on the rise. And it is disgusting that these twisted views are being found in British politics. Of course, I am talking mainly about the Labour Party and their hard-left allies,” May said at the Conservative Friends of Israel lunch.
“No matter what Labour say – or sing – they cannot ignore what has been happening in their party. Anti-Semitism should have no place in politics and no place in this country. And I am proud to lead a party that takes the firmest stand against it. As a government we are making a real difference,” she added.
“In response to the work of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Britain will be adopting a formal definition of anti-Semitism. Just last week, we were at the forefront to try to ensure that the definition was adopted across the continent too, at the summit of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The result was 56 countries in favour. One country opposed it: Russia. But, as I said, we will adopt it here in the UK. That means there will be one definition of anti-Semitism – in essence, language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews – and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it.”
In addition, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, arrived in London on Sunday for a working visit, and delivered a speech at the same event.
[Photo: BICOM ]