Corbyn poised to Uturn on antiSemitism definition

Corbyn poised to Uturn on antiSemitism definition

His retreat is expected when the party’s national executive next meets on 4 September – the day before Labour MPs are certain to overwhelmingly back the full definition in a ballot.

The compromise plan emerged just hours after former prime minister Gordon Brown said anti-Semitism was a running sore that had to be dealt with immediately and predicted change within a few weeks.

It would be a major U-turn by the Labour leader and his left-wing allies, who at the last meeting of the executive sparked fury among MPs and Jewish groups by resisting adopting the definition in full in the party’s code of conduct.

The definition, drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), includes 11 examples of anti-Semitism, four of which were rejected by Mr Corbyn and his allies.

Mr Corbyn then proposed a summer of consultation on the issue.

The most contentious of the four disputed examples is claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavour, which Mr Corbyn’s critics claim would land him in trouble.

But the Labour leadership is now reported to be willing to adopt the full IHRA definition, provided the party can find a way to include protections that allow for legitimate criticism of Israel.

The other three IHRA examples of anti-Semitism include comparing the actions of Israel to Nazis and accusing Jews of dual loyalty.

Labour is expected to drop its opposition to these at its September meeting.

The anti-Semitism row has engulfed Labour and Mr Corbyn for a month now, drowning out attempts by the Labour leader to campaign on issues such as promoting British manufacturing and condemning rail fare increases.

Within hours of the last national executive meeting on 17 July, during Commons votes on Brexit, the veteran Jewish MP Dame Margaret Hodge berated Mr Corbyn behind the Speaker’s chair, calling him a racist and anti-Semitic.

That prompted the Labour leader and the party’s Corbyn-supporting general secretary, Jennie Formby, to launch a disciplinary investigation into Dame Margaret, which was only dropped last week after an acrimonious row.

The Parliamentary Labour Party then passed an emergency motion proposed by another veteran Jewish MP, Dame Louise Ellman, calling on the party to back the IHRA anti-Semitism definition in full in its code of conduct.

In recent weeks, senior trade union leaders have publicly urged Mr Corbyn to back down and endorse the full definition.

The leader’s closest ally, shadow chancellor John McDonnell, has also privately urged him to end the row.

The expected climbdown was signalled in a briefing to the Corbyn-supporting Guardian by a Labour Party source, who told the paper We want it resolved.

Jeremy has said he is open to change, he is not pre-judging the consultation and that he has only raised one half of one example where there was difficulty.

The Guardian also quoted a Corbyn-supporting Labour MP who said the leader would just have to take one for the team – with a big speech saying ‘on my watch, no one who legitimately criticises Israel will be punished’.

Mr Corbyn hinted at a climbdown earlier this week when he struck a conciliatory tone in an interview and said Labour had agreed to the IHRA definition and almost all of its 11 examples.

The one example that we are discussing and consulting on is one that makes sure that you can discuss and debate the relations between Israel and Palestine, the future of the peace process and, yes, make criticisms of the actions of the Israeli government in the bombing of Gaza and other places, he said.

But you can never make those criticisms with anti-Semitic language or anti-Semitic intentions. And that is what we are absolutely clear on.

News Source SkyNews

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