Jeremy Corbyn called for Labour members to be given the right to call Israel 'racist'

Posted On: 
4th September 2018

Jeremy Corbyn wanted Labour members to be free to call the creation of Israel "racist" without falling foul of the party's rules on anti-Semitism, it has emerged.

Labour's latest anti-Semitism row has lasted all summer.
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A statement prepared by the Labour leader and presented to a crunch meeting of the party's National Executive Committee said adopting the internationally-recognised definition of Jew-hate must not "undermine freedom of expression on the Israel-Palestine conflict".

But he was forced to abandon it after it became clear that it was not supported by most NEC members.

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Details of the statement emerged after Labour's ruling body finally agreed to accept in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's guidelines on anti-Semitism.

Following four hours of heated debate, the NEC unanimously endorsed the IHRA definition in full, alongside a separate statement making clear how that will not "undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians".

But Mr Corbyn wanted to go much further in his own statement, which was revealed by ITV political editor Robert Peston.



The statement said: "Labour is committed to a two-state settlement on the Israel-Palestine conflict, based on the rights of both peoples and an end to the Israeli occupation, with a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable Palestinian state.

"But it cannot be racist to treat Israel like any other state or assess its conduct against the standards of international law. Nor should it be regarded as anti-Semitic 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."

Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, said: "It is contemptible but utterly unsurprising that Jeremy Corbyn prioritised and fought for the right of anti-Semites to describe the world’s only Jewish state as racist in a meeting supposedly about combatting anti-Semitism. It is now even more clear that Jeremy Corbyn is part of the problem not the solution."

But a senior Labour source said: "(Jeremy's) statement was welcomed by the NEC as an important contribution to the ongoing discussion and consultation on the code of conduct. This was not formally moved, and there were no votes on this agenda item - decisions were reached by consensus."