Joint statement on Labour NEC adoption of a watered down definition of antisemitism
18 July 2018
The Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies and CST respond to the result of the Labour NEC decision to defer adopting the full IHRA definition of antisemitism pending further consultation:
The decision taken by the NEC today to adopt a watered-down definition of antisemitism will be regarded with a mixture of incredulity and outrage by the overwhelming majority of the UK’s Jews. The suggestion that they will now consult with the Jewish community is an insult, given the complete lack of meaningful consultation up until now.
This is a sad day for the cause of anti-racism in this country. Labour, for so long a Party that put equality and inclusion at the centre of its values, has today decided to claim that it understands antisemitism better than the victims of this vile prejudice and to set its face against the clear views of the Jewish community.
The strength of feeling across the breadth of the Jewish community could not have been clearer and many will see this as a deliberate provocation, built on misrepresentations of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism and double standards for the treatment of British Jews.
The NEC has chosen to disregard the views of the Jewish community, an unprecedented show of unity by rabbis from every part of the community and even its own parliamentarians. They have distorted and diluted the IHRA definition of antisemitism that is widely accepted and used by the Jewish community, the UK Government, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the Crown Prosecution Service, the police, and dozens of local authorities, to create their own weaker, flawed definition whose main purpose seems to be to protect those who are part of the problem.
We are grateful to all those in the Party who have shown their support for the Jewish community, but by taking this decision the Party leadership has placed Labour on the wrong side of the fight against antisemitism, intolerance and racism. Their failure to consult with the Jewish community until now is a betrayal of basic anti-racist principles. On its current trajectory, Labour is failing British Jews and it is failing as an anti-racist party.
To be absolutely clear, we reject the NEC’s self-serving definition and call on Labour to think again.