Second major union boss urges Labour to change anti-Semitism code

Posted On: 
11th August 2018

A second major trade union leader has urged Jeremy Corbyn to change the Labour party code on anti-Semitism. 

Dave Prentis said the anti-Semitism row was costing Labour votes
PA Images

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis warned the issue was causing an “unnecessary schism” and costing the party votes.

He also said he was “not buying” the claim that adopting the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism would limit legitimate criticism of Israel.

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It comes after GMB boss Tim Roache joined the calls from Jewish groups, MPs and even some close allies of the Labour leader for Mr Corbyn to change course.

Writing in the New Statesman, Mr Prentis said anti-Semitism “should never have become such a divisive issue, an unnecessary schism in a party that on so many issues is genuinely united”.

He added: “Worse than that, it’s harming Labour’s historically close relationship with the Jewish community.

“And it’s costing us the moral high ground from which to oppose all forms of racial hatred and oppression.

“Anti-Semitism in Labour didn’t start under Jeremy, but I am confident that under his leadership it can be dealt with once and for all…

“If you’re not capable of criticising Israel without being anti-Semitic, then you’re an anti-Semite - and we should make no special exceptions for you.”

This week Momentum founder Jon Lansman also urged Mr Corbyn to adopt the IHRA definition - just weeks after arguing Labour should stick to its guns.

Labour Friends of Israel has claimed Mr Corbyn’s opposition to adopting the full IHRA definition is “overwhelmingly driven” by his own past statements.

Just yesterday Mr Corbyn was accused of comparing Israeli actions to those of the Nazis in Europe.

He was filmed telling an audience in 2013 that many would “recognise” the treatment of Palestinians by Israel in the context of “many people in Europe who suffered occupation through the Second World War”.

Campaigners hit out at his "appalling past comments", however Labour has rejected the claim that Mr Corbyn was comparing the two.

Earlier this week another video emerged in which he appeared to cast doubt on Israel's right to exist.