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  1. ITV Report

Labour NEC agrees to adopt full IHRA anti-Semitism guidelines

Labour's governing body has decided to adopt internationally recognised anti-Semitism guidelines in full, following weeks of heated debate over the issue.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) anti-Semitism guidelines were initially accepted by the party in July - but with four examples removed.

These have now been adopted in full - but an accompanying statement saying the party will ensure the move doesn't "in any way undermine freedom of expression" on Israel has been condemned in some quarters as giving racists a "get out of jail free card".

If the move to adopt the IHRA definitions in full was intended to quell the ongoing row about anti-Semitism in the Labour party, it may not have worked.

The group Labour Against Anti-Semitism said "there can be no caveats, no conditions and no compromises with racism", while the Labour friends of Israel claimed the party "appears determined to provide a safe space for anti-Semites".

Frank Field resigned the party whip over the issue of anti-Semitism Credit: PA

The ongoing row about anti-Semitism in the Labour party has already seen veteran MP Frank Field resign the party whip, citing the handling of the issue.

The NEC has today adopted all of the IHRA examples of antisemitism, in addition to the IHRA definition of which Labour adopted in 2016, alongside a statement which ensures this will not in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians.

The NEC welcomed Jeremy Corbyn's statement to the meeting about action against antisemitism, solidarity with the Jewish community and protection of Palestinian rights, as an important contribution to the consultation on Labour's Code of Conduct.

– Labour spokesperson

ITV News political editor Robert Peston reports Jeremy Corbyn drafted an additional statement referring to the IHRA guidelines, to be endorsed by the NEC, but withdrew it when it was not accepted.

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There have been a number of protests against the party's handling of the issue.

As the NEC met to discuss the issue, protesters on both sides of the argument demonstrated outside.

Credit: PA

Along with Frank Field a number of Labour MPs have publicly called out party leader Jeremy Corbyn over his handling of the issue.

After allegedly calling Corbyn an "anti-Semite" and "a racist" in July, Dame Margaret Hodge said on Saturday he "has allowed anti-Semitism and racism to run rife".

The four IHRA anti-Semitism definitions not originally adopted by the party would have stifled criticism of Israel and speech in support of Palestinian rights, critics argued.

These definitions were:

  • accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country
  • claiming that Israel’s existence as a state is a racist endeavour
  • requiring higher standards of behaviour from Israel than other nations
  • comparing contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis

There can be no caveats, no conditions and no compromises with racism.

We are disappointed by the decision of Labour's governing body, the NEC, to diminish the IHRA working definition of Anti-Semitism via the attachment of a 'clarification' that risks giving racists in the party a get out of jail card.

The NEC has been told repeatedly that it needs to adopt the IHRA in full, without caveats or conditions, if it wants the Labour Party to begin the process of dealing with its anti-Semitism crisis.

– Labour Against Anti-Semitism