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Labour MPs want new anti-Semitism code

Jeremy Corbyn

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Jeremy Corbyn has previously said he is “sincerely sorry” for the pain caused by “pockets of anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party

Labour MPs have voted overwhelmingly to back a call for the party to change the way it defines anti-Semitism.

The Parliamentary Labour Party backed a motion to adopt in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism.

Labour has recently adopted a new code of conduct, which has been criticised by some MPs and Jewish groups.

Labour had called it the most “detailed and comprehensive” code of any party.

Labour’s code, which was approved by a sub-committee of its National Executive Committee earlier this month, was drawn up following the 2016 Chakrabarti inquiry into anti-Semitism.

It does endorse the IHRA’s working definition of anti-Semitism and includes behaviours it lists as likely to be regarded as anti-Semitic – but critics point out that it leaves out four examples from that definition:

  • Accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country
  • Claiming that Israel’s existence as a state is a racist endeavour
  • Requiring higher standards of behaviour from Israel than other nations
  • Comparing contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis

However, Labour insists these four issues are addressed in their guidelines.

“These are the most detailed and comprehensive guidelines on anti-Semitism adopted by any political party in this country,” the party said.

“They adopt the IHRA definition and contextualise and add to the working examples to produce a practical code of conduct that a political party can apply in disciplinary cases.”

The vote taken at the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting is not binding on the party.

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