A local Labour branch has come under fire for suggesting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism is part of a plot by Israel to shield the Jewish State from criticism, The Jewish Chronicle reported Sunday.
The constituency Labour Party for Lewisham Deptford, which has a history of anti-Israel initiatives, made the claim in a motion it passed calling on councils not to adopt the IHRA’s definition on grounds of censorship.
The motion charged that “many Jewish and BAME members” were concerned the IHRA definition was a tool to “limit free speech on Israel/Palestine.” Alongside this, it said it was “aware that the Israeli government resources an international campaign to conflate criticism of itself with antisemitism,” suggesting the Jewish State was using accusations of anti-Semitism as a pretext to stifle free speech.
The CLP’s motion demanded that “all Labour Party groups, councillors and mayors” oppose the adoption of the IHRA definition, which has near universal support within Britain’s Jewish community, has been adopted by the government, the Crown Prosecution Service, and the European Parliament.
The Labour Party initially adopted only the first part of the IHRA’s definition, leaving aside examples of classical anti-Semitic tropes, Holocaust denial and attempts to apply a double standard to the State of Israel. They eventually adopted the full definition, after a huge standoff with the Jewish community during the summer.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn personally interfered in the process and attempted to include an addendum to allow party members to describe Israel as “racist,” which was rejected. Corbyn suggested it should not “be regarded as antisemitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist because of their discriminatory impact, or to support another settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict.”
Corbyn previously questioned Israel’s right to exist on Press TV, the propaganda channel hosted by the Iranian regime.
In December, the European Council called on all EU member states to endorse the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in the fields of law enforcement and training, as well as to reaffirm their commitment to Holocaust commemoration and education.
Reacting to the Lewisham Deptford motion, the Labour Against Antisemtism (LAAS) group said in a statement: “This motion is antisemitic under the IHRA definition, promoting ‘the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy.” They added that “Lewisham Deptford Labour should be placed in special measures while a full independent investigation is carried out.”
Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel said: “Once again, it’s clear that too many Labour party members think they know better than Britain’s Jews how to define antisemitism.
“Unfortunately, the bizarre conspiracy theories which permeate this motion are all too reflective of Corbyn’s Labour Party.”
Last week, far-left activists in neighboring Lewisham West CLP called on their branch to pass a motion charging the Jewish Labour Movement, which has been affiliated to the national Labour Party for nearly a century, is “not an appropriate body” to conduct anti-Semitism training.
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