Jewish community leader says Labour party is 'institutionally anti-Semitic'

Posted On: 
11th July 2018

A senior figure in the Jewish community has said Labour is "institutionally anti-Semitic" over the party's latest attempts to crack down on the problem.

Jonathan Goldstein (centre) is angry with the Labour party.
PA Images

Jonathan Goldstein, chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, said Labour's decision not to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism in its new code of conduct called into question the party's determination to tackle it.

The IHRA definition - which is recognised by the Government and Crown Prosecution Service among others - says Jewish people should be allowed to define what constitutes anti-Semitism.

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Last week, Labour general secretary Jennie Formby said the IHRA definition does not go far enough and insisted Labour's new rule book will be even tougher on the problem.

She said: "Our guidelines address all of the ground covered by the IHRA examples, clarifies those that might be open to different interpretations or be seen as conflicting with other rights, and provides additional examples of anti-Semitic language and behaviour."

But talking to the Jewish News, Mr Goldstein said: "It defies logic that someone as capable as Jennie Formby could genuinely believe every word of her op-ed. The notion that these measures are designed to enhance and protect the Jewish community is not something we are inclined to believe especially as no one was consulted in its preparation.

"I’m terribly disappointed we have reached the point where the Jewish community is being singled out by the Labour leadership and treated in a way no other minority would be. If these proposals are formally adopted it would only strengthen the argument that the party has become institutionally anti-Semitic."

But a Labour spokesperson said: "These are the most detailed and comprehensive guidelines on anti-Semitism adopted by any political party in this country. They adopt the IHRA definition and contextualise and add to the working examples to produce a practical code of conduct that a political party can apply in disciplinary cases."