Act on anti-Semitism or face 'eternal shame', deputy leader of UK's Labour

Elias Hubbard
August 8, 2018

Mr. Watson called on Mr Corbyn on Sunday to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism, a move resisted by the party's national executive, in an interview with the Observer.

Mr Watson wrote: "This is one of those moments when we have to take a long, hard look at ourselves, stand up for what is right and present the party as fit to lead the nation - or disappear into a vortex of eternal shame and embarrassment".

The party has proposed adopting most of the definition, while rejecting specific examples of anti-Semitism referring to Israel.

In recent years and months dozens of Jewish Labour legislators and members have spoken out about a mixture of casual anti-Semitism, open attacks and online hate speech from fellow party members.

"People who use antisemitic poison need to understand: You do not do it in my name, or the name of my party".

"Our party must never be a home for such people and never will be".

Shadow Treasury minister Anneliese Dodds added her voice to calls for the cases against Dame Margaret and Mr Austin to be dropped, telling Westminster Hour: "My personal view is I don't really see the merit in pursuing this".

He was backed by some Labour MPs and former Foreign Secretary David Miliband who said the anti-Semitism row had "revealed myopia and sectarianism" at the top of the party.

"It's important for us all in the Labour Party to take full responsibility for this issue and make sure we deal with it as quickly as possible".

In a joint message, Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, accused Mr Corbyn of failing to acknowledge his own "problematic" history.

On social networking site Twitter last night, many people called for Mr Watson to resign - with #resignwatson the top trending topic in the United Kingdom at one point. "We said it would be an act of tremendous bad faith".

However, there remains an impasse over one final example, "claiming that the existence of the state of Israel is a racist endeavour", because of concerns it could hinder legitimate criticism of Israel.

"And anyone who denies that this has surfaced within our party is clearly actually wrong and contributing to the problem".

The Jewish News has reported that Mr Corbyn is now planning to incorporate another three examples, including the idea that it is anti-Semitic to compare contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis, and holding Israel to different standards to other democratic countries.

"It is just another contradictory, hypocritical, insincere attempt to whitewash his own role as the author of this nightmare", said Campaign Against Antisemitism chief Gideon Falter.

Just as in The Guardian, Corbyn failed in the video to address whether the party will accept in full the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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