Last week, the British Labor party released its new guidelines regarding anti-Semitism in an effort to discourage embarrassing displays by its activists and parliamentarians. Rather than adopting the definition of anti-Semitism set forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)—which is used by many European institutions—the party’s leaders used a deliberately watered-down version that excludes precisely the sort of Israel-related anti-Semitism that so plagues its ranks. Stephen Pollard comments:
The IHRA definition has eleven bullet-pointed examples of anti-Semitic language. Labor has brazenly removed those that relate to Israel and moved them to a second, new section, in which the party decrees that for actions or words to be anti-Semitic, there must be an “intent” to be anti-Semitic. Labor says it has done this because the IHRA definition bans criticism of Israel. But this is simply a lie. . . . It would be ridiculous to bar all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic. . . .
But equally, some [invocations] of Israel are indeed anti-Semitic—and it is these which Labor has removed. One of the oldest anti-Semitic libels, for example, is the claim that Jews have dual loyalties—that their prime loyalty is not to the country in which they live but to a foreign body. Today, the libel is that British Jews owe their true allegiance to Israel. This is one of the examples listed in the IHRA definition and removed by Labor.
In other words, Jeremy Corbyn’s party altered the globally accepted definition of anti-Semitism specifically to allow Labor members to attack British Jews as having dual loyalties.
Labor says in response that this is why it added its section on intent. If the intent was racist, then [the statement] would indeed be anti-Semitic. But this is Labor at its cynical worst. How many racists do you know who admit they are racist? . . . [I]n reality, this is the “get-out-of-jail-free” card for its anti-Semitic members. Here’s the twisted logic: if you say you are a lifelong anti-racist campaigner—like, for example, Jeremy Corbyn—then you cannot be racist. And if anti-Semitism is racism, then logically as an anti-racist you cannot be an anti-Semite.
So even if you say something classically anti-Semitic—that Jews have dual loyalties—then you are fine, because you are not a racist so you cannot have anti-Semitic intent. . . . In turning Labor into a party that is now institutionally anti-Semitic, Jeremy Corbyn’s actions have indeed been deeply anti-Semitic. . . . Every time [Labor politicians] campaign for their party, they are urging voters to put into 10 Downing Street a man who has used his leadership of the party to turn it into a haven for anti-Semites. The longer they remain in the party, the more they, too, become the problem.