Mindful of several weeks of international media coverage spotlighting the antisemitism in its ranks, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Britain’s Labour Party voted on Tuesday to adopt in full the definition of antisemitism drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
The Labour Party had initially sought to adopt only the first part of the definition, leaving aside the examples it provides of the antisemitic nature of several of the tropes and messages uncritically adopted by anti-Israel activists — for example, the depiction of Israel as a “Nazi” state engaged in a “Holocaust” against the Palestinians, or the conspiracy theory that Diaspora Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own countries. But after a storm of protest from British Jews, as well as from Labour Party grandees including former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the NEC adopted the IHRA definition in its entirety at its Tuesday meeting.
At the same time, however, the NEC adopted a parallel statement clarifying that the adoption of the IHRA definition will not “in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of the Palestinians.”
A party spokesman said the NEC also welcomed a statement from Labour’s far-left leader, Jeremy Corbyn, calling for “action against antisemitism, solidarity with the Jewish community and protection of Palestinian rights as an important contribution to the consultation on Labour’s code of conduct.”