Letter in the Financial Times: Unanimity that shows the depth of feeling towards the Labour party’s position

From Simon Johnson, Jewish Leadership Council. 27th July 2018.

Arthur Goodman ( Letters, July 26) references the Chief Rabbi’s support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism but fails to mention the support from 68 other rabbis, ranging from the strictly orthodox to the reform and liberal movements. This unanimity is unprecedented in our community. What does that say about the depth of feeling towards the Labour party’s position?

Anti-Semitism is evil wherever it is found and it certainly exists across our political spectrum. We call it out wherever we find it and currently we are finding it among Labour party members more frequently than we would like. Those who wish to criticise policies of the Israeli government should welcome the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as it clearly states “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic”.

The definition does however make it clear that it is unacceptable to accuse Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel than their own country.

The IHRA definition is the only one that has widespread support from Jewish communal bodies and our religious leadership. It has been adopted by the UK government, the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, well over 100 local authorities across the country and numerous governments around the world. Given that the Labour party has said it has adopted the Chakrabarti report, which states that the party should set itself higher standards than wider society, Labour must ask itself why it is not on that list. Until it is, we will keep asking.

Simon Johnson

Chief Executive,

Jewish Leadership Council