Barnet Labour Group Leader urges Labour Party to adopt full IHRA definition of antisemitism

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group of Councillors, Barry Rawlings, has written the following letter to the Jewish Chronicle and Jewish News supporting the full IHRA definition of antisemitism:

Dear editor

I am writing as the Leader of the Barnet Labour Group of Councillors to express my anger and sadness at reports of the Labour Party's decision to re-write the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism by excluding four examples of antisemitism set out in the IHRA's full definition. 

I cannot understand why these four examples have been excluded from the guidelines in the Labour Party's adopted definition of antisemitism. 

References to these four important examples appear in later paragraphs of the 16 point code of conduct on antisemitism, but the overall effect of these paragraphs is to nuance, caveat and weaken the examples.

The final paragraph of the code of conduct suggests that evidence of antisemitic intent is required, which inverts the Macpherson Principle - that an anti-Semitic incident is any incident perceived to be so by the victim or any other person.

It is for Jewish people to define antisemitism, and Jewish community groups have done so by endorsing the full IHRA definition. 

The full IHRA definition is the internationally accepted definition of antisemitism. It is the definition accepted by the British Government, the British Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, and by local councils across the country including Barnet Council, the local authority with the largest proportion of Jewish residents in the country. 

I am proud that Barnet Council was the first local authority to adopt the full IHRA definition following a motion from the Labour Group passed at Full Council in January 2017.

It should be the definition accepted by the Labour Party, and I call upon the Labour Party NEC to review its decision.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Barry Rawlings

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group of Councillors


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