Labour has shown 'utter disregard for Anglo-Jewish community', says antisemitism definition architect

A row erupted this month after the party drafted what was effectively a shortened version of the IHRA definition of antisemitism


The architect of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism has said Labour’s refusal to adopt it shows an "utter disregard" for British Jews.

A row has erupted this month after the party’s national executive committee (NEC) drafted a new disciplinary policy on antisemitism which is effectively a shortened version of the IHRA definition, which outlnes certain examples of Jew hatred, particularly how criticism of Israel can spill over into antisemitism.

Mark Weitzman, the chair of IHRA’s committee on antisemitism and Holocaust denial, condemned Labour’s failure to adopt the full code, saying it was a "clear signal of the party’s refusal to deal with the reality of anti-Semitism in its ranks."

Mr Weitzman, who is also the director of government affairs at Holocaust research group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) in California, was the principal figure in shaping and introducing the definition of antisemitism in 2015.

The IHRA’s antisemitism definition is used by a number of states across the world, including the governments of the UK, Scotland and Wales. More than 130 local councils use it, as do the police, Crown Prosecution Service and judiciary. 

Mr Weitzman said: “Their utter disregard of the voices of the Anglo-Jewish community, with the exception of a few anti-Zionist radicals, exposes the party's shameful hypocrisy on this issue."

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the SWC added that it was an “open invitation to antisemites and anti-Jewish activists to find a welcome home within England's political mainstream, and has negative implications for world Jewry.”

The party's adoption of the shorter antisemitism definition has sparked a backlash from senior MPs in the party, including shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and Luciana Berger.

But the JC revealed that Mr Corbyn has previously requested that Labour commit to the full IHRA definition of antisemitism, including its illustrative examples.

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