WATCH: Protesters call on Labour not to adopt international definition of anti-Semitism

Posted On: 
4th September 2018

Protesters have urged Labour not to adopt the internationally-recognised definition of anti-Semitism, claiming it would neuter criticism of Israel.

Protesters gather outside Labour's HQ.
PA Images

Around 150 activists, led by Jewish Voice for Labour, gathered outside the party's HQ as its ruling National Executive Committee prepared to meet to discuss the issue.

The NEC is expected to finally adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's guidelines on anti-Semitism, along with all 11 of its explanatory examples, having previously refused to do so.

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PoliticsHome understands that a separate document will also be presented to the meeting setting out how the actions of the Israeli government can still be criticised without contravening the new code of conduct.

Among the banners on display at the protest was one declaring 'Oppose IHRA' and another saying 'Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism'.

JVL spokeswoman Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi said the Labour leadership had been "bludgeoned, beaten and bloodied" into accepting the IHRA definition.

She said: "The guidelines suggest that if you have a certain view of the history of Zionism or the nature of the Israeli state, the onus is on you to prove that you are not an anti-Semite - that would be the outcome of this and that is the intention of those who are propagating it.

"The attempt to redefine anti-Semitism in a way which makes it appear that people with a particular view are anti-Semitic is incredibly dangerous."



Mike Cushman, JVL's membership secretary, told the protest that the anti-Semitism row which has dogged Labour all summer was "a false crisis".

He said: "There are some people in our party who do have anti-Semitic views and they have to be dealt with, but they are a small minority.

"It is not the crisis facing the Labour party, it is not the crisis in this country."

A much smaller counter-demonstration also took place involving Jewish people calling on Labour to adopt the IHRA definition in full.

Jonathan Hoffman, an adviser to the Labour Against Anti-Semitism group, said: "Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party do not have the right to tell Jews what is anti-Semitism. They do not have the right to tell any minority what is anti-Semitism."