Antisemitism row analysis: the IHRA's definition and Labour's code of conduct


There may not be a vote among members on the democracy review, but the issues could come before the NEC again on 18 September, before they are voted upon at party conference in Liverpool at the end of the month.

Over the weekend, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said the NEC would accept the code overall but also make a "commitment to the freedom of speech and, yes, a recognition of the rights of Palestinians".

Suggestions that the Labour leadership has failed to crack down on anti-Semitic comments by members and activists and, in some cases, condoned their actions have dogged the party in recent years.

At a crucial showdown tomorrow, the National Executive Committee (NEC) will decide whether to U-turn and adopt the anti-Semitism definition after many weeks of bruising criticism.

Corbyn has been accused of dragging his feet on unequivocal support for an internationally recognized definition of anti-Semitism and of failing to acknowledge the depth of the problem in the center-left party, which has traditionally been sympathetic towards the plight of the Palestinians in Israel.

Asked about claims of bullying, the Labour leader added: "I'd have to see the claims, I don't know what the claims are or what the details of them are".

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council have drawn up a letter accusing Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn of failing to address anti-Semitism in his party.

The party endorsed the full IHRA definition of anti-Semitism when it revised its code of conduct earlier this year after protests by Jewish groups against the party's handling of the issue. When he implies that, however long they have lived here, Jews are not fully British, he is using the language of classic pre-war European anti-Semitism. "Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward [s] Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward [s] Jewish community institutions and religious facilities".

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Quizzed about the plans, the Labour leader said he backed "greater democratic accountability" in the party.

McDonnell predicted all sides would be "satisfied" with the proposals agreed Tuesday.

The new members of the NEC will not take up their posts until after the Labour Party's conference.

Lord Sacks's comments were followed by a warning from former prime minister Gordon Brown that the row over Mr Corbyn's response to claims of antisemitism was a battle for "the soul of the Labour Party".

Jeremy Corbyn today backed a controversial bid to make the deselection of Labour MPs easier in a move which will fuel fears the party is on the brink of a purge.

The Jewish Labour Movement has insisted that only the adoption of the full IHRA definition without any caveats or dilution will be accepted, saying that there is so little trust in the Labour Party by the Jewish community that any addendum or caveats will be viewed with extreme skepticism.

It said it could not support it as it fell short of providing "a clear and unambiguous statement based on attitudes to Jews as Jews, not attitudes to a country, Israel".