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LABOUR’s national executive committee (NEC) said today it would adopt all accompanying examples to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism.
After hours of discussion a statement said all 11 examples would be adopted, including one which bans referring to Israel as a “racist endeavour.”
Palestine solidarity activists say the examples stifle criticism of Israel’s racist treatment of its Arab citizens and its ethnic cleansing in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, though the party claimed freedom of expression on Israel would be protected.
Hundreds of activists rallied outside the party HQ today morning to call on the NEC not to adopt the examples, which could precipitate a witch-hunt of Corbyn supporters in the party who have expressed support for Palestinian national rights.
Derby North MP Chris Williamson was among those who addressed a crowd of about 200 supporters of party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
They included members of Jewish Voice for Labour, Labour Against the Witch Hunt, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Women for Corbyn, Camden Momentum and Football Against Apartheid.
About a dozen pro-Israel protesters were gathered a few yards away, waving Israeli flags and chanting “Oh, Jeremy’s a racist.”
Mr Williamson said that even the author of the IHRA definition of anti-semitism has expressed concerns that its adoption would “fetter freedom of speech on Israel.”
He said the IHRA’s 11 examples were flawed and the NEC should add a provision to protect free speech.
Mr Williamson added: “I want to ensure that we can continue BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions], which has played a huge and significant role in the freedom of South African people.
“My message to the NEC is if they go to adopt the IHRA examples that we maintain the freedom of speech so we can continue to speak up for Palestinians.”
On arrival at the Labour HQ, deputy party leader Tom Watson contended that adoption of the full definition and the examples would help draw a line under the issue of anti-semitism, despite Margaret Hodge’s admission at the Jewish Labour Movement conference at the weekend that Corbyn’s critics would not see the issue as resolved until he was removed as leader.
Activist Peter Willsman was cheered by supporters and and booed by critics as he arrived surrounded by journalists and police.
Mr Willsman was re-elected to Labour’s NEC yesterday, despite losing the support of grassroots group Momentum after he attacked “Jewish Trump fanatics” – thought to be a reference to pro-Trump former Board of Deputies chief Jonathan Arkush – were behind the anti-semitism row.
In an indication that the attacks could escalate, Scotland Yard was reviewing a leaked file from Labour of 45 complaints of alleged anti-semitism within the party.
LBC radio passed the file to former senior police officer Mak Chishty, who said 17 instances should have been reported to the police for investigation and that another four were potential hate crimes.
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