Draft contemporary motion on the IHRA definition on Antisemitism

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This draft motion has been written with the Labour Party conference in mind, but of course you can use it in any other context.

  • Contemporary motions to Labour Party conference need to deal with issues that have arisen only recently and cannot be longer than 250 words.
  • They do not have to be submitted to a branch first, but please submit it asap to your CLP secretary. CLPs can either submit a contemporary motion or a rule change motion to conference.
  • CLPs need to submit their motion to the Conference Arrangements Committee by  September 13.

1. We note:

1.1. That recently there has been mounting pressure on the Labour Party to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working document on Antisemitism. This consists of a 38 word definition and eleven illustrative examples. The definition and seven of the examples have been adopted by the NEC.

1.2 Professor David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism, calls the document “bewilderingly imprecise”. Appeals court judge Stephen Sedley believes that the document would place “Israel’s occupation and colonisation of Palestine beyond permissible criticism”. Hugh Tomlinson QC warns that it has “a chilling effect on freedom of speech”.

1.3. That one of the four particularly disputed examples would ban the description of Israel as a “racist” state.

2. We believe:

2.1. That freedom of speech on the question of Palestine and Israel is of utmost importance.

2.2. Adopting the full IHRA document would conflate criticism of Israel with Anti-Semitism.

2.3. Adopting the full IHRA document could lead to the expulsion of thousands of Labour Party members, for example those who criticise as racist the adoption of the new Israeli ‘Nation-State’ law.

2.3. That the campaign to adopt the full IHRA document is driven by forces who are hostile to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and want to get rid of him.

3. We resolve:

3.1. To reject the full IHRA document.