Community has joined other affiliated trade unions in calling on the Labour Party to adopt the full definition of antisemitism, as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. At a meeting of Community’s national executive council this week, the issue of antisemitism within Labour was discussed and it was resolved the union would respond to an invitation to express Community’s views that had been received from the general secretary of the Labour Party.
Community believes that at a time when there is a severe lack of trust between the Jewish community and the Labour Party, the recent decision to implement a new code of conduct that does not include the IHRA definition of antisemitism, including all of its examples, marks a backward step in the party’s ability to deal with antisemitism, and only serves to increase distrust, and allow the disease of antisemitism to continue to flourish.
A broad range of other organisations have implemented the internationally recognised definition, including 31 countries, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the National Union of Students, the College of Policing and over 130 local authorities. There has been some suggestion that the code must meet a robust legal process, however the IHRA definition including the working examples must surely meet the necessary threshold for the Labour Party given that both the UK Government and the Crown Prosecution Service have recognised the definition as useful guidance.
The IHRA definition of antisemitism, including all of the working examples, must once again be included in the Labour Party code of conduct. As the UK delegation to IHRA explained: “Any ‘modified’ version of the IHRA definition that does not include all of its 11 examples is no longer the IHRA definition. Adding or removing language undermines the months of international diplomacy and academic rigour that enabled this definition to exist.”
If the Labour Party is to rebuild trust with the Jewish community, it is vital that going forwards it is Jewish people that shape our policy and internal procedures when it comes to antisemitism. As the only recognised affiliate representing Jewish Labour Party members, the inclusion of the Jewish Labour Movement in any and all processes and discussions regarding antisemitism is vital. This includes giving the Jewish Labour Movement permanent representation on the Antisemitism Working Group.
Community’s NEC believes that if the Labour Party is to continue to pride itself on being the party of equality, it must implement the full IHRA definition including the examples, act effectively and decisively in any future antisemitism cases and take part in constructive dialogue with the Jewish community. Should the Labour Party take on board the concerns expressed by Community and other affiliates this will help us to move forward and concentrate on campaigning for a Labour government.