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Will Jeremy Corbyn do enough to end Labour's anti-Semitism crisis?

Some have argued that Jeremy Corbyn is Corbyn is not properly committed to cutting the cancer of anti-Semitism from Labour. Credit: PA

Is it anti-Semitic to support boycotts of Israeli exports or sanctions against Israel?

Is it anti-Semitic to argue for a one-state solution in Israel, or a federal state encompassing the West Bank and Gaza in which Jews and Palestinians have equal rights?

Is anti-Zionism in its purest form, or opposition to the creation of any homeland for Jews, anti-Semitic?

Your answer to these questions will determine whether or not you will view Labour's new approach to eliminating anti-Semitism, which is expected to be agreed on Tuesday by its ruling National Executive Committee (NEC), as effective or another fig leaf.

Because the NEC will, as I said on Tuesday, endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and all its examples.

But it will also give explicit guidance that the IHRA definition and examples should not rule as intrinsically anti-Semitic those who support Israeli boycotts and sanctions, those who favour the one-state solution and those who reject Zionism.

(As it happens, there are Jews who are anti-Zionists, some for political and others for religious reasons - and a few will be demonstrating outside the NEC meeting on Tuesday to make the strength of their feelings known.)

A protest against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party was held in Parliament Square in March. Credit: PA

I doubt there will be a legal text for this guidance as soon as next week, but there will certainly be a statement of intent to protect what Jeremy Corbyn sees as protecting free speech and legitimate criticism of Israel.

That carries two important implications:

  • Plenty of Jews do view anti-Zionism and Israeli boycotts as intrinsically anti-Semitic. So they will accuse Corbyn of an unsatisfactory fudge.
  • Corbyn and Labour will at least, and at last, have a clear political position on anti-Semitism that it can attempt to defend.

Of course none of this will satisfy those who, like the estranged Labour MP Frank Field, don't believe Corbyn is properly committed to cutting the cancer of anti-Semitism from Labour.

And it won't bring back into Labour's fold thousands of Jews who feel spurned and unwanted.

But it does have the virtue of being coherent, which is a necessary - if not quite sufficient - condition for ending this crisis for Labour.