Model motion: Objection to the IHRA Definition of antisemitism

Drafted by our friends in the Labour Left Alliance

This [branch/CLP] notes that:

  • Prior to July 2018, the Labour Party Rulebook did not specify any particular definition of anti-Semitism.
  • On 4 September 2018, the NEC adopted all 11 examples associated with the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. Some of these examples link criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism.
  • At the September NEC meeting Jeremy Corbyn sought to add the following rider to the IHRA definition, which he withdrew when told that there would be no majority for it on the NEC:

“It should not be regarded as anti-Semitic to describe Israel, its policies or the circumstances around its foundation as racist because of their discriminatory impact, or to support another settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

  • Trade unionists, public sector workers and Labour Party members are now being disciplined for criticising Israel and breaching the IHRA definition.
  • Activists and legal experts have raised concerns over the IHRA definition. Even the lead drafter of the EUMC definition (which the IHRA definition is based on), Kenneth Stern, has acknowledged that it has been used in ways for which it was never intended, as a means of chilling free speech.

This [branch/CLP] believes the IHRA definition to be, as 24 Palestinian trade unions and civic groups pointed out in August 2018, a “politicised and fraudulent definition of anti-Semitism”. We therefore call upon the [National Executive Committee of the Labour Party/Executive Committee of the Union] to rescind their adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and replace it with the the Merriam Webster definition: “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic or racial group”.

In addition, we call for a re-evaluation of disciplinary actions against any affected member accused of anti-Semitism under the IHRA definition.

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