The Green Party has failed to adopt the internationally recognised definition of antisemitism after their home affairs spokesman told their annual conference the code was “politically engineered to restrict criticism of Israel’s heinous crimes upon the Palestinian people”.
Speaking against adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, Shahrar Ali, who has launched a campaign to lead the party, told the Greens Conference in Bristol: “Instead of policing thoughts we should be policing Israel.”
The former deputy leader of the Greens, who once compared Israeli actions in Gaza to the Holocaust, also claimed: “Instead of an IHRA-inspired definition, we should be moving motions condemning the new embassy in Jerusalem and condemning the racist nation state law of apartheid Israel.
“We do not wish to follow in the footsteps of Corbyn’s Labour. We should at least learn from their mistakes.”
Delegates at the conference voted to “refer back” two motions on antisemitism and the IHRA definition to give more time to discuss the issues.
But there were complaints by some delegates that Palestinian flags were placed in positions close to members known to be Jewish during the antisemitism debate.
On Twitter one delegate, named Green Altrincham, wrote: “Members placing Palestine flags in locations clearly intended as an intimidatory action aimed at individual Jewish members. Nobody gains from such childish behaviour.”
The JC has also seen anti-IHRA leaflets distributed at this week’s Green conference featuring cartoons drawn by Carlos Latuff – the Brazilian artist who has regularly compared Israel to Nazism in sketches. The drawings have been condemned as antisemitic by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, as well as other authors.
One such leaflet produced by the Green-left movement which was handed out in Bristol stated: “IHRA examples conflate antisemitism with anti-Israel criticism” under the headline “Palestine Solidarity Under Attack” along with cartoon by Mr Latuff entitled ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’.
The party, which has been led by Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley, has long had an issue with allegations of antisemitism against some of its members. But there is also a sizable contingent of Jewish supporters of the party.
Ms Lucas has announced that she is standing down as leader this autumn.