Theresa May to adopt 'ground-breaking' new definition of anti-Semitism

Posted On: 
12th December 2016

Theresa May will announce the UK is adopting a standardised definition of anti-Semitism, saying it is a “ground-breaking step” in the fight against discrimination. 

Reported anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise
Credit: 
PA Images

In a speech in London, the Prime Minister will also take an apparent swipe at Labour after a string of anti-Semitic controversies earlier this year, adding that she is “proud to lead a party that takes the firmest stand” against anti-Semitism.

The new definition was developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance earlier this year and reads:

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“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Downing Street said the move would “ensure that culprits will not be able to get away with being anti-Semitic because the term is ill-defined, or because different organisations or bodies have different interpretations of it”.

Mrs May will say: “It is unacceptable that there is anti-Semitism in this country. It is even worse that incidents are reportedly on the rise. As a government we are making a real difference and adopting this measure is a ground-breaking step.

“It means there will be one definition of anti-Semitism – in essence, language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews – and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it.”

Jeremy Corbyn has also backed the definition, as a spokeswoman said he and the Labour party agreed with the wording.

“Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party share the view that language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews is anti-Semitism, and is as repugnant and unacceptable as any other form of racism,” the spokeswoman said.

“Jeremy has consistently spoken out against all forms of anti-Semitism and condemned all anti-Semitic abuse.”

It comes after the review into anti-Semitism in Labour, led by Shami Chakrabarti – since made a peer by Mr Corbyn – was criticised by the Home Affairs Committee.

Mrs May will put more pressure on Labour to tackle the issue when she adds: “Anti-Semitism should have no place in politics and no place in this country.

“And I am proud to lead a party that takes the firmest stand against it.”