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Labour party amendment could 'legitimise' anti-Zionism

The proposed clause has been submitted by the Hastings & Rye constituency Labour party

    The Jewish Labour Movement being presented with an award by Jeremy Corbyn on Sunday night (Credit: Twitter/@JamesAsser)

    A proposed amendment to the Labour party’s constitution which could legitimise anti-Zionism will be debated at the Labour party conference on Tuesday.

    The clause, which has been submitted by the Hastings & Rye constituency Labour party, contains the following language:

    “Hatred of Jews shall not be evidenced by non-abusive words or actions regarding Israel or Zionism that are part of legitimate political discourse.”

    It is unclear whether any examples are given of what would be considered “non-abusive”, or “legitimate”.

    Last week the JC reported that the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) had passed another constitutional amendment proposed by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), which would mandate tougher action against those expressing racist, sexist, Islamophobic, homophobic or antisemitic views. At present, party members cannot be disciplined for “the mere holding or expression of beliefs and opinions”.

    Although approved by the NEC, the JLM’s amendment will need to be approved by the Labour party conference, which is taking place this week in Brighton. The Hastings & Rye amendment was said by a senior Labour source to "offer a hostile alternative" to the JLM rule change proposals. 

    At the time of the NEC decision, Jeremy Newmark, Chair of the JLM, said that though he was “heartened” that the amendment had passed the NEC, “our campaign will not end until these proposals are adopted in full by conference itself - this is not a given and will require the firm support of the leadership.”

    Last night the JLM was presented with an award by Mr Corbyn for “engaging and mobilising the Jewish community in support of Labour campaigns”.

    The Del Singh award recognises effective campaigns that are led by the Labour Party’s affiliated and member-led organisations, with previous winners including LGBT Labour and Labour Women’s Network. Mr Newmark said it was "reassuring that JLM is being recognised for its work fighting antisemitism, as well as our campaigns and activity supporting Labour candidates and Labour values across the country."

    This article has been amended to reflect the fact that the proposed amendment will not be submitted to an internal party review, as initially reported.

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