Labour members uniting to resist calls to adopt all eleven examples accompanying the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism

Labour Party members: please add your full name and CLP in the form at the end of this post to have your signature added to the letter. The list will be updated daily.

Dear members of the NEC,

As members of the Labour Party, we, the undersigned, call on the party’s National Executive Committee to resist calls to adopt all eleven examples accompanying the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism into the party’s code of conduct on antisemitism.

The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party and as such must stand up for justice and equality and speak up against oppression. We are gravely concerned that two of the currently omitted examples in particular will be used to silence free speech on Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights and freedom.

The IHRA states that instances of antisemitism may include “Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation”. We fear that if adopted into the party’s code of conduct, this example will be used to oppose and ban support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Criticism of BDS often centres upon it “singling out” Israel and treating it differently than other “democratic” states. However, Israel is not a democratic state. It enforces a system of apartheid in the occupied West Bank, with different roads and different legal systems and courts for Israelis and Palestinians, including the world’s only military court for children, and has recently adopted a law relegating Israeli Arabs to second class citizens in Israel proper. The BDS movement is modelled on the boycott of apartheid South Africa, the latter which had broad support on the European left. We resisted apartheid then and we must resist it now.

The IHRA further includes as an example of antisemitism “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” We fear that this will be used to silence discussion and raising awareness of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of some 750,000 Palestinians in 1947-48 so that the Israeli state could be established as an ethno-nationalist “Jewish homeland”, as well as criticism of the current apartheid system. We ask the NEC to please note that the two parts of the example are separate issues. Claiming that the State of Israel is a racist endeavour is not the same as denying Jewish people the right to self-determination. It is denying such self-determination at the cost of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people. It is denying self-determination in the form of an ethno-nationalist state. All people and nations have an internationally recognised right to self-determination, but it is our view, and we believe it should be the view of the Labour Party, that such self-determination should be in the form of a democratic state that grants equal rights to everyone lawfully residing within its borders. That is not how the state of Israel was created. It was created through the expulsion and killing of members of one ethnic group to make room for another, and this continues to be the basis of the Israeli state today. The Nakba has been well documented by both Palestinian and Israeli scholars, and the Palestinian right of return has been formally recognised by the UN. We must be allowed to speak freely about this. Our Palestinian members must be able to speak freely about the Nakba and about the current system of apartheid and ongoing ethnic cleansing just like our Jewish members must be able to speak freely about the Holocaust. Recognising that right does not equate to denying Jewish people in Israel the right to self-determination in a fully democratic state.

As members of the NEC will be aware, the IHRA definition and examples have been used elsewhere to shut down legitimate and non-racist debate on Israel, such as at the University of Lancashire last year, where a panel on “Debunking misconceptions on Palestine and the importance of BDS” was banned by the university citing the IHRA definition, after pressure from pro-Israel groups. If all eleven examples are adopted by the NEC at its next meeting in September, many party members will face an impossible choice – be silent or face possible suspension and/or expulsion. We are deeply concerned and fearful of what will become of our party and our movement if members are not able to freely speak out against apartheid and ethnic cleansing. To endorse the BDS movement or to suggest that the the State of Israel in its historic and current form is a racist endeavour are not expressions of antisemitism. Imagine if members had been banned from speaking out in a similar way against apartheid South Africa. It is absolutely crucial – for the future of our party and the country, and for the prospect of an end to the brutal occupation of Palestine – that members of the Labour Party are able to speak freely about Israel’s crimes without fear of punishment.

Signed:

Åsa Jansson, Hove CLP

Rebecca Massey, Hove CLP

James Ellis, Hove CLP

Pam Page, Brighton Pavilion CLP

Pam Page, Brighton Pavilion CLP

Anne Barry, Brighton Kemptown CLP

Anne Mitchell, Hove CLP

Trefor Harris, Brighton Kemptown CLP

David Thomas, Hove CLP

Justyna Wroblewska, Brighton Pavilion CLP

Dr Thomas Smith, Brighton Pavilion CLP

Sarah Haddow, Brighton Kemptown CLP

Daniel Harris, Brighton Kemptown CLP

Rachael Ellis, Hove CLP

Giorgio Finella, Hove CLP

Michael Deas, Leyton and Wanstead CLP

Vin McIntyre, City of Durham CLP

Ali Brownlie Bojang, Hove CLP

Sue Simmonds, Brighton Kemptown CLP

Poppy Altmann Richmond Park CLP

Brenda Stephenson City of Durham CLP

Angela Hankin, Chair , City of Durham CLP

Andy Richards, Hove CLP.

Charlotte Austin, Bishop Auckland CLP

Paul Whittaker, Telford & Wrekin CLP

Tony Greenstein, Expelled Member of Brighton Kemptown CLP (expected to be reinstated shortly)

Pete Winstanley, City of Durham CLP

Dr Andy Thompson, Birmingham (Ladywood) CLP and Unite the Union

Penny Hajduk, Brighton Kemptown CLP

Tom Raeside, Lewisham and Deptford CLP

Chris Jackson, Hove and Portslade CLP

Judy Richards, Brighton Pavilion CLP

Roy Pennington, Brighton Kemptown CLP

Nichole Brennan, Hove and Portslade CLP

Michael Green, Brighton Kemptown CLP

Lizzie Humphreys, Kemptown and Peacehaven CLP

Tim Halpin, Kemptown and Peacehaven CLP

John Austin, Hove CLP (former Labour MP, 1992-1997 Woolwich, 1997-2010 Erith & Thamesmead)

Tim Holmes, Bristol West CLP

Lynn Gibson, Bishop Auckland CLP

William Baker, Hornsey and Woodgreen CLP

Sheila Hutchings, Brighton Pavilion CLP

Michael Coram, Hackney South & Shoreditch

John Henry, Wrexham CLP

Ray Gibson, Kemptown and Peacehaven CLP

Tony Russell, Northampton CLP

Dai Wright, West Carmarthen and South Pembrokeshire CLP

Nigel Chapman.  Basingstoke CLP

John Dickie Northampton South

Frances Kelly Finchley and Golders Green CLP

Rita Griffin, Clacton CLP

Sean Kelleher, Hendon CLP

Catherine Kelleher,  Hendon CLP

Dillon Kelleher Hendon CLP

Lorna Jeans Hendon CLP

Beverley Molineaux Keighley CLP

Wendy Smith nw labour clp labour rooms ls21 1hb

Julian Townsend, Camberwell and Peckham CLP

Rosalind Austin, Camberwell and Peckham CLP

Simon Kemp, Shipley CLP

Michael Griffin, Coventry North West CLP

Philip John Adams, member of Labour International

Esther Giles, Bristol North West CLP

Edward Clarke, Vauxhall CLP

Rob Jefferson, Folkestone and Hythe CLP

Rita Appleby, Chelmsford CLP

Maureen Watkinson, Rochdale Greater Manchester CLP

Thomas Fallows, Morecambe CLP

David Alan Lowton, St Helens South and Whiston CLP

Louise Pantry, Hove and Portslade CLP

Samuel Osman, City of Durham CLP

Carlos Soto, Finchley and Golders Green CLP

Sylvia Cohen, Finchley and Golders Green CLP

Rezaul Haque, Ilford North CLP

Adrienne Davis, Worthing West CLP

John Ogden, Worthing West CLP

Rosemary Bunting , Worthing West CLP

Maggie Gothard, Skipton and Ripon CLP

Stefan Smith,Leeds West CLP

Sharon Prendergast, Northampton CLP

Steve White, Northampton CLP

Bill Curran, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross CLP

Kate Knight, Hove CLP

Brian Lovett-White, Hastings and Rye CLP

Alan Wright, Worthing West CLP

Michael Wright, Worthing West CLP

Carol Wilcox, Christchurch CLP

Andrew Gunton, Northampton CLP

Silvia Vousden, Reading CLP

Thomas Li, Oxford East CLP

James Jepson, Stretford & Urmston CLP

David Avery, Hackney North CLP, personal capacity

Maureen Hindle Blackburn with Darwen CLP

Jean Thirtle, North Norfolk CLP

Allan Pearson, South Ribble CLP

Caroline Tipler Derby South CLP

Kate Thomas, Truro & Falmouth CLP

Kevin Safford, Aldershot CLP

Karen Meanwell, West Wold CLP

Mohammed Shafiq Walsall South CLP

Val Graham, Chesterfield CLP and Unison

Michelle Hesler, Women’s Officer, Hull West and Hessle CLP

Philip Aston, Wolverhampton East (personal capacity)

Janet Sillett Norwich South CLP

Louise Hersee, Hastings & Rye CLP

Richard Bridge, Rochester and Strood CLP

Juliette Emery, Worcester CLP

Daud Niazi, Ilford North CLP

Linda Lomax Louth and Horncastle CLP

Cllr. Leah Levane, Hastings and Rye CLP

Kay Green, Hastings and Rye CLP

Gilda Holzman, Harrow East CLP

Liz Byrne, Andover & NW hampshire CLP

Jay Kramer, Hastings &  Rye CLP

John Beeching Bexhill and Battle CLP

Elizabeth Beeching Bexhill & Battle CLP

Gilda Holzman, Harrow East CLP

Mike Howard, Hastings & Rye CLP PEO and Retired Cllr, Hastings Borough Council

David Watson, Walthamstow CLP

Linda Bora, Chorley CLP

David White, Croydon Central CLP

Sheila Williams, City of Durham CLP

Russ Brasington, Hastings & Rye CLP

Liz Segal, Hastings & Rye CLP

Matt Morris, Hastings & Rye CLP

Mandy McKenna, N.Norfolk CLP

Colm Doherty, Finchley & Golders Green CLP

Luci Davin, Tottenham CLP

Paul Knaggs Chesterfield CLP

Nicholas Davies, Hastings & Rye CLP

Kyrsty Winch, Hastings & Rye CLP

Julia Price, Hastings & Rye CLP

Ian Richardson. Lewisham Deptford CLP

Karen Fletcher, Rother Valley CLP

Mary Davies, Barnet CLP

Maureen Cave, Tynemouth CLP

Ann Kramer, Hastings CLP

Nick Franklin

Lucy Wallis

Billie Reynolds, Reading West CLP

Michelle Harris, Warwick & Leamington Spa CLP

Ben Timberley, Erewash CLP

Andy Coombes, Stroud CLP

Simon Draper, Lincoln CLP

Steve Parry,  Kemptown and Peacehaven CLP

Robert Davies, Cardiff West CLP

Matthew Strange, Bristol West clp

Harry Richardson, Chorley Rural West CLP

Chris Turner, City of Durham CLP, Labour North Regional Board Member.

John Oates, Labour International

Dainer Cooney, Bromley CLP

Joanne Hughes, Derby South CLP

Ian Humphries, East Devon CLP

Jenny Hardacre, South Cambs CLP

James Hall, South Cambs CLP

Lee Wood- Doncaster North CLP

Yarin Brokenshire – Cambridge CLP

Si Denbigh – Leeds Central CLP

Roland Laycock – Mansfield CLP

Barbara Kay Lawrence – Torfaen CLP

Patricia Sheerin – Putney CLP

Sue Shaw – Henley CLP

Geoff Moore – Henley CLP

Caroline Deans, Lewisham Deptford CLP

Cathy Coutanche  Aberconwy CLP

Olwen jones East hampshire CLP

Michael C.E.Sherred – Brighton Pavilion CLP

Adrienne Davis, Worthing West CLP

John Ogden, Worthing West CLP

Elaine Tiffin, Kemp Town CLP

James Tarlton, Bristol West CLP

Su Butcher, Clacton CLP

Laura Stuart, Chipping Barnet CLP

Aida Alayarian

Natalie Kilby, Northampton

Michael Bassett, Clacton CLP

Rive Joffe – Holborn & St Pancras CLP

Lorcan Whitehead – Colchester CLP

Kevin Johnstone, Northampton CLP

Claire Copple, Northampton CLP

Craig Hedges – Truro & Falmouth CLP

Simon Lambert – South Northamptonshire CLP

Alex Braithwaite – Hove & Portslade CLP

Claire Harris – Northampton South CLP

Gary Doherty – Barrow & Furness CLP

Gail Doherty – Barrow & Furness CLP

Sian Doherty – Barrow & Furness CLP

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