Britain’s Labour Party has deferred a vote on a motion that would mean the party would accept the way the international community defines anti-Semitism. The issue came up because the party has come under fire recently for being unkind, if not outright anti-Semitic, to Israel.
At a Parliamentary Labour Party meeting, it was announced that the vote wouldn’t be held until Parliament returns from summer recess in September, Arutz Sheva reports.
Jewish lawmakers Dame Louise Ellman and Ruth Smeeth want the party to include in its permanent code of conduct, known as standing orders, the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition and examples, Arutz Sheva reports.
The vote will now take place on Sept. 5. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t at the meeting Monday night, even though it is traditional for the party leader to speak to lawmakers at the party’s final meeting before the summer break, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
Labour as of right now does not include a number of items included in the official international definition, including accusing Jews of “being more loyal to Israel” than their own country; claiming that Israel’s existence is a “racist endeavor”; applying a “double standard” on Israel; and comparing “contemporary Israeli policy” to that of the Nazis, according to Arutz Sheva.
Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, who is fighting accusations of holding and even stoking anti-Semitic sentiments, has been criticized more and more publicly by politicians and other people watching matters closely. In 2016, an interparliamentary committee accused Labour of creating a “safe space for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people,” Arutz Sheva reports.
Corbyn says that his party won’t accept any racist or similarly bigoted behavior from any of its members. Dozens were kicked out over anti-Semitic statements, but the party hasn’t gotten rid of Labour members whom Jewish community leaders said engaged in anti-Semitic hate speech. In recent months, Corbyn for the first time has had to deal with protests coming when he’s in different countries.
“I feel very emotional, deeply depressed and almost tearful,” Labour lawmaker Margaret Hodge said after the meeting, according to Sky News. “This is the party I have been in for 50 years. Labour was the natural home for Jews.”
Hodge confronted Corbyn after the decision to adopt the softened definition of anti-Semitism, calling him a “f***ing anti-Semite and a racist” and urging him to quit the party. Corbyn has said that action will be taken against her for her comments.
“It’s very gloomy, it’s a gloomy day for Labour,” Hodge also said. “I don’t understand why we cannot just adopt the IHRA definition. If they don’t think there is enough in the definition that allows people to criticize the Israeli government they can add those clauses.”
By: Amanda Bruner