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PEOPLE are “justifiably angry” that Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) decided to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-semitism, Jewish Socialists’ Group’s Julia Bard said in the wake of last night’s vote.
Fellow Jewish Socialists’ Group activist David Rosenberg said it is “no doubt a significant setback” for Jeremy Corbyn’s allies but, despite the adoption of the definition and all its 11 examples, pro-Israel MPs and groups are hesitant to call it a victory.
Mr Rosenberg said that the Jewish Leadership Council first welcomed the adoption announcement yesterday before changing its statement to complain that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wanted an add-on promise to protect freedom of speech against Israel.
He said: “If our opponents are reduced to complaining about Labour’s commitment to free speech, it makes their agendas of promoting censorship and outlawing views other than their own even more transparent.”
Pro-Israel opponents of Mr Corbyn, including MPs Margaret Hodge and John Mann, claimed that vowing to protect freedom of speech dilutes the promise to tackle anti-semitism.
But shadow attorney general Baroness Chakrabarti rejected that today.
She called on those upset with the party’s commitment to protect freedom of speech to “come back into the room” for discussions.
She told Radio 4’s Today programme: “There has to be a space for disagreement in a reasonable way, otherwise we cannot move forward around one of the biggest geopolitical problems of my lifetime. There has to be space for debate in a non-racist way.”
Hollywood actor Danny DeVito also waded in to defend Mr Corbyn, saying events from his past have been “dug up” to make him “look bad”.
Mr Corbyn was criticised for attending a wreath-laying ceremony at the Palestinian Martyrs’ Cemetery in Tunis in 2014 to pay tribute to the victims of a 1985 air strike and to promote peace.
The cemetery contains the graves of a number of the founders of the Black September terror group, which carried out the Munich massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed.
Mr DeVito said: “That’s the way it happens in Hollywood, the same way it happens in politics.”
The actor endorsed Mr Corbyn during the 2017 general election and said he is “absolutely” still a fan of his.
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