Labour MPs have overwhelmingly backed calls for the party to adopt the full international definition of anti-Semitism including its accompanying examples of contemporary hate.
Growing anger has greeted the party’s proposed new code of conduct, which adopts IHRA but only some of its examples, with the Jewish Leadership Council and Board of Deputies insisting it was for Anglo-Jewry to define the scourge,
A special meeting of the parliamentary Labour Party saw a motion proposed by Alex Sobel MP saying the PLP “adopts the full IHRA definition of antisemitism, including all of its accompanying examples, and believes this should be used to define, understand and act against antisemitism in the Labour Party”.
It is believed just four MPs opposed the motion, including Chris Williamson, who previously called for then suspended Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker to be readmitted into Labour.
The motion, while not binding in the party, makes clear MPs’ backing for the mainstream community in the latest row with the party’s leadership. But the motion called for the full NEC to overturn the support of a sub-committee for the code.
Jewish Labour Movement parliamentary chair Luciana Berger, who defended the motion, added: “The IHRA definition of antisemitism is the internationally-recognised document which defines and explains the ways hatred towards Jews is expressed.
“And yet some within the Labour Party have sought to revisit Labour’s historic support for the IHRA definition and all the examples that accompany it, and write their own version.
“Britain’s Jewish representative organisations, and the Jewish Labour Movement (the only Jewish affilliate to Labour), are united in opposition to this unnecessary and inflammatory move. It is a fundamental anti-racist principle that oppressed groups define their own oppression, not anyone else.”
Wes Streeting, MP for Ilford North, said the NEC still had the chance to “set this right” when it meets tomorrow. “I think it’s clear that MPs have heard the concerns of the Jewish community. This isn’t an issue that the whole NEC has considered and it is not clear that the NEC Sub-Committee had all of the facts available when they considered this last week. I hope common sense and reason will prevail.”
The result also represents an overwhelming rejection of the defence made by new general Secretary Jennie Formby, who claimed that the IHRA definition didn’t go far enough – and suggested Labour’s new code was the most “detailed and comprehensive” rule book adopted by any political party in this country. Most of the examples are adopted “word for word”, she argued, with additions “from the UN Charter on Human Rights, the Home Affairs Select Committee report 2016, the Chakrabarti Report and other contemporary sources”.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.