UKH

/ Why don’t labour just adopt the IHRA definition

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no_more_scotch_eggs - on 03 Sep 2018

Of antisemitism? Would it not just have been easier to have done so from the start?

an interesting explanation here:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/03/ihra-antisemitism-labour-palestine?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Seems more convincing to me than ‘because they’re bigots who hate Jews’. And in relation to the examples given in the definition, persuasive that they are justified in taking the stance. 

Post edited at 19:25
1
Philip on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Corbyn has decided to end the bitter antisemitism now entrenched in Labour. The only way is to change the name, to one more in tune with its core values of workers, nationalism, socialism. He now offers:

The National Socialist British Workers Party.

 

#TongueInCheek

10
Eric9Points - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> Of antisemitism? Would it not just have been easier to have done so from the start?

Easier, yes. The right thing to do? No.

I hope tomorrow that Labour stick to their guns.

Adopting the IHRA definition in full now would simply be seen as a sign of weakness by their opponents. They would use such a capitulation as evidence that Labour is an anti semitic party and paint Labour as weak and indecisive.

Labour did this because they care more about human rights and social justice than other parties, not less.

7
Ex Poster 666 on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

From your link:

"The Labour party has not adopted working definitions for any other religious or racial minority. It is a statement of fact that even if they adopted only the IHRA top paragraph and none of the examples, Jewish people in the party would be afforded safeguards that no other religious or racial group in the organisation have. Any implementation of a working definition must be attentive to the fact that this creates a hierarchy of racism, in which one minority group is deemed worthy of protection and others are not."

That ^.  What is so special about Jews that they warrant special privilege?

2
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 03 Sep 2018
In reply to Eric9Points:

Yes- reading my OP again, it’s not as clear as it should have been that my question was rhetorical- I don’t think they should adopt it.

GrahamD - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

I don't agree with labour on much at all right now, but on this it looks as though they have thought through the wording and come out with something which, IMO, is much more balanced and in keeping with policies on all minority groups

Typically, they haven't managed to manage the PR anywhere near as well.. 

1
Coel Hellier - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

I don't think anyone should be asked to adopt a definition of anti-Semitism unless it is actually a definition of anti-Semitism, which this so-called "definition" is not. 

"Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which ... "

Well that ties it down! 

1
krikoman - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

This is a bit old now and covers some of the older accusations, Finkelstein covers a few of the issues of the day, there's the usual comments from the same people calling out people now; Mann, etc.

Mann was on telly today telling everyone emigration of French Jews is at an all time high, when in fact it's falling!!

https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/jamie-stern-weiner-norman-finkelstein/american-jewish-scholar-behind-labour-s-antisemitism-scanda

And this is interesting too

https://www.thejc.com/comment/analysis/what-is-the-ihra-definition-of-antisemitism-and-why-has-labour-outraged-jews-by-rejecting-it-1.467511

 

Above all of that, Labour haven't rejected the IHRA recommendations, but simply said, they'll discuss the document and examples, before they make a decision!! This is very different to rejecting it, though obviously this distinction doesn't get reported.

 

this is interesting about the history of the IHRA, sorry it's a lot of reading

https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/campaigners-go-offensive-against-bogus-uk-anti-semitism-definition

 

I also realise these links might be accused by some of bias, but it's up to you what you believe is true, most of it is verifiable.

 

Post edited at 11:30
1
Coel Hellier - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to krikoman:

That article misrepresents the IHRA (non) "definition".   For example, it says:

"Labour’s definition omits or redefines a number of these. First, it omits describing the “dual loyalties” trope as antisemitic. Accusing Jews of having dual loyalties was a tactic of both Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union. The IHRA defines this clearly as an example of contemporary antisemitism."

No, the IHRA does not "define this clearly as an example of contemporary antisemitism". What  it says is that it "could, taking into account the overall context" be an example of antisemitism.   Which means it isn't necessarily so, 

 

 

krikoman - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> No, the IHRA does not "define this clearly as an example of contemporary antisemitism". What  it says is that it "could, taking into account the overall context" be an example of antisemitism.   Which means it isn't necessarily so, 

 

Isn't that the point? "Could" will mean "would" to some while it will mean "might" to others.

The language is very vague and the examples are sometimes very woolly, meaning you're leaving yourself wide open to all sorts of accusations by signing up fully to it.

It's quite possibly giving more ammunition to the accusers, whether it's true or not, which will deflect from "real" anti-Semitism.

 

Coel Hellier - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> The language is very vague and the examples are sometimes very woolly, meaning you're leaving yourself wide open to all sorts of accusations by signing up fully to it.

Agreed, and that's the problem with a lot of "hate speech" rules -- broad and vague declarations that can then be interpreted arbitrarily and capriciously, which then gets combined with "mission creep" so that "approved" language gets increasingly narrower.   

wintertree - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Aside from the “hiearacy of racism” argument I also abhor the definition for its crossing over into thought crime territory with its opening line on “perception”.  

I don’t care if someone is racist or homophobic or whatever.  It’s their prerogative to believe what they want.  I do care if that belief manifests in their profession or potentially criminal behaviour.

Going after personal views and perceptions is a fine way to harden those views and perceptions and to spread them.  

I myself have strong views on religion, religious organisations and their employees.  I recognise these views and make sure I do not treat individuals more negatively or differently in my professional conduct, and try and focus my critical views and thoughts on the organisations not the individuals.  In that sense and by the IHRA definition, I am anti-Semitic given my views of the organisations around the Jewish faith and my wish to see all special power and privilege stripped from them.  I have intervened in a street attack before, and I would be as likely to risk injury or death defending a Jewish person from attack as any other.

I find the sentiment behind the IHRA definition and calls for its adoption to be unpleasant, controlling, discrinatory through seeking elevated privilege and socially regressive.

The legal tools and mechanisms exist to protect people of all races and faiths equally.  Use them.

MG - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> The language is very vague

It's a nonsense definition.  Out of interest, do other parties adopt it?

 

Kid Spatula - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to MG:

Nope. No they don't.

Eric9Points - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to MG:

A number of governments have, I don't know about other parties.

Kid Spatula - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to Eric9Points:

A number being astonishingly small: https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/working-definitions-and-charters

"The working definition has been adopted and endorsed by the following governments and bodies: the United Kingdom (12 December 2016), Israel (22 January 2017), Austria (25 April 2017) Scotland (27 April 2017), Romania (25 May 2017), City of London (8 February 2017), Germany (20 September 2017), Bulgaria (18 October 2017), Lithuania (24 January 2018), former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (6 March 2018)."

So the UK, Scotland and London (WTF?), and 7 other countries. Not including Israel.

No other UK political party has signed up to it.

It's all smoke and mirrors.

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 04 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

So, they approved it. And joined a select group in doing so it would seem. That doesn’t include any of the other political parties in the U.K. 

 

Thanks for the replies everyone. But oddly, there has been no contribution to the thread from anyone that thought that Labour should have adopted the definition. Which seems odd, as there are numerous posters that usually contribute expressing concerns over anti semitism in the Labour Party. Maybe they’re all taking a break from ukc at the same time. Which is a shame, as I’d have been interested in their response to the linked article, and in particular to the concerns over the potential scope of example 7.

Wanderer100 - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

The Labour party has caved in to the demands of a few dozen Zionists.

Too be blunt it's a pathetic example of back tracking and Corbyn would do well to resign as a matter of principle and let the Fat Controller aka Tom Watson take charge. He seems quite happy to try and be all things to all men. 

1
MonkeyPuzzle - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Well at least it's got Jewish groups off the party's ba... Oh, wait, no.

Coel Hellier - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> Which seems odd, as there are numerous posters that usually contribute expressing concerns over anti semitism in the Labour Party.

Well I for one think that Labour, and Corbyn in particular, have a very serious issue over anti-Semitism.   

But I'm not going to defend the flawed IHRA "definition" nor criticise anyone for not adopting it. 

3
krikoman - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to Wanderer100:

But to have resigned would have given them exactly what they wanted, wouldn't it?

I'm disappointed too, but this episode hasn't been good for Labour or anti-Semitism in general.

Maybe everyone can go back to what they were doing now!!

Though I suspect we'll be hearing about how someone said, "these beagles are good enough for Goebbels" and we'll end up back at square one.

For the record, I'm not saying anti-Semitism doesn't exist or that it shouldn't be addressed.

krikoman - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well I for one think that Labour, and Corbyn in particular, have a very serious issue over anti-Semitism.   

I don't think it's peculiar to Labour, it a society issue which is proven by the number of years they've had to go back to "prove" Corbyn is anti-Semitic.

We should be looking to improve society rather than focusing on on party.

MonkeyPuzzle - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Well I for one think that Labour, and Corbyn in particular, have a very serious issue over anti-Semitism.

Yes, it’s the issue of facing the exact same accusation multiple times, and giving the exact same explanation, almost as though that it was his heartfelt belief on the matter that criticism of Zionism should not be equated with hating Jews. I wonder what video clip (edited of context) they’ll whip out this week. “OMG! He said ‘Zionist’ again! See; he hates all the Jews!” I want him to resign but I’d hate for him to resign for this.

 

krikoman - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Kenneth Stern was a lead EUMC author of the working definition in 2005. He has fiercely criticised what the definition has become, saying that he never intended:

"to provide a framework for eviscerating free speech or academic freedom, let alone labelling anyone an anti-Semite."

 

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to krikoman:

Pretty damning criticism of what’s since happened- have you got a link, would be interested to read more about the background 

Mike Highbury - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> Pretty damning criticism of what’s since happened- have you got a link, would be interested to read more about the background 

It's a popular point of view but not one that can be sustained. 

Stern did not write the definition but was a part-author of its predecessor for the EUMC. Stern does say that, and I quote, it's, 'a useful tool for identifying and analyzing antisemitism' and 'a workable, non-ideological approach to task of identifying antisemitism', and that it should be used by  governments and media regulatory agencies.

Also, that it should not be amended in any way. 'In my view, attempts to change the definition would give away all the gains made by having a uniform definition for five years, would give a great opening for those who would want to scuttle it rather than improve it, and to open this can of worms would be a terrible mistake.'

But that one should not be over-keen to apply it too rigorously on campuses, where students must be allowed to explore whatever...

If we are keen to listen to the great man, he also says that, accusing Israel of apartheid and boycotting it are linked to antisemitism.

 

krikoman - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> Pretty damning criticism of what’s since happened- have you got a link, would be interested to read more about the background 

https://forward.com/news/356220/expert-on-hate-opposes-campus-anti-semitism-bill-based-on-definition-he-cre/

pdf  link

http://jkrfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/letter-sent-to-house-members-120616.pdf

And something here.

http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Working_Definition_of_Antisemitism

It does make you wonder why no one has mentioned this before now though.

Apparently they did maybe just no body was listening (or able to hear above the clamour)

https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk/blog/why-the-man-who-drafted-the-ihra-definition-condemns-its-use/

Post edited at 16:59
Eric9Points - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to Mike Highbury:

 

> If we are keen to listen to the great man, he also says that, accusing Israel of apartheid and boycotting it are linked to antisemitism.

 

Oh sure, anti semites may well accuse Israel of being a racist state or encourage boycotts. They would wouldn't they? Just the same as the EDL highlight paedophilia in the Islamic community. Doesn't mean to say it isn't true or that people who express such opinions are racists, some will be but most won't be.

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 05 Sep 2018
In reply to Mike Highbury:

Re Stern considering boycotting Israel as anti Semitic- from his letter to the House Judiciary Committee that Krikoman linked- “it is wrong to say that BDS is inherently a form of antisemitism”. 

And your points don’t deal with the central concern he appears to have- that a framework he played a significant part in developing is being applied in ways that it was never intended and which he considers harmful.

 

 

krikoman - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to Mike Highbury:

You seem to be saying, "it wasn't him and even if it was...."

Stern certainly did write this “it is wrong to say that BDS is inherently a form of antisemitism”. Page 2 para. 1

The problem for me is, I only found this out yesterday, when there's been so much written about it and it's been in the public domain for over a year.

So why, when Labour pondering the IRHA proposal has this not been mentioned in all the interviews, radio broadcasts or news papers. Why haven't people who've attacked Labour taken this into account, Sacks, Mann, plus numerous others have presented this document as some form of sacred text, the 11th commandment, plus addendum, if you like.

To me this simply demonstrates the fact people don't want to know the truth, they have their agendas and that's what they're going to try and push though.

Did you know about Stern's misgivings before this thread?

Post edited at 09:57
Mike Highbury - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

> Re Stern considering boycotting Israel as anti Semitic- from his letter to the House Judiciary Committee that Krikoman linked- “it is wrong to say that BDS is inherently a form of antisemitism”. 

You are referring to the bit where he is talking about debates on campus? Well, yes, I acknowledged that point.

 

Mike Highbury - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> So why, when Labour pondering the IRHA proposal has this not been mentioned in all the interviews, radio broadcasts or news papers

I dunno. Your sources are not followers of the Jewish community media, I guess.

> as some form of sacred text, the 11th commandment, plus addendum, if you like.

You don't have to be like this, you know?

> Did you know about Stern's misgivings before this thread?

Yes, the CST wrote about this several months ago

krikoman - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to Mike Highbury:

> I dunno. Your sources are not followers of the Jewish community media, I guess.

I didn't expect you to know, it was a bit of a rhetorical question to be honest, but an honest media should have presented both sides, and certainly the commentators who should know, or journalists, who's job it is to know or at least find out, might well have questioned the people suggesting Labour are a hot bed of anti-Semitism, precisely because of their reluctance to accept the IHRA  without discussing it, might, just might have been asked about Stern being caution about the thing he'd written.

All along these past few weeks the IHRA had been held up as if ALL Jews thik it's a great idea, there's nothing to be questioned within it, and if you don't like it you're anti-Semitic. It's been a whitewash and simply something else to attack Corbyn with, it's not helpful to society and it's not helpful to the Jewish community.

> You don't have to be like this, you know?

Like what? John Mann has been on numerous TV shows telling everyone how bad Labour is for not simply signing up to the IHRA, when the bloke that had a hand in it thinks the same! You don't think there's something wrong with that?

> Yes, the CST wrote about this several months ago

Don't you think it might have been more widely talked about, I'm thinking TV and Radio interviews, when discussing acceptance of IHRA.

A little more honesty might have been better for everyone, it can be summed up in a few words, "not everyone who doesn't like the IHRA, is a Jew hater or anti-Semitic", this isn't how it's been presented for the last month or so, and it's disingenuous.

Edit: I've had a quick look at the CST articles about IHRA and I can't find any that mention Stern or his reservations.

Post edited at 11:56
98%monkey - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Presumably UK law is robust enough or it is not. So if the IHRA have an issue perhaps they should knock on the door of the Ministry of Justice and stop bothering us all with a total non-issue.

 

no_more_scotch_eggs - on 06 Sep 2018
In reply to Mike Highbury:

> You are referring to the bit where he is talking about debates on campus? Well, yes, I acknowledged that point.

in referring to BDS, the letter to the Committee is worded more broadly than just as it applies in campus debates. the letter also has a link to a paper Stern prepared for the Justus and Karin Rosenberg foundation on BDS; it is carefully worded, and seems to say that BDS is a heterogeneous movement, some aspects of which are antisemitic, but it falls short of saying the whole exercise is by its nature antisemitic. If you have evidence that Stern has said such a thing, ie that BDS is by definition an antisemitic endeavor then please can you provide a link to it. 

Jim C - on 07 Sep 2018
In reply to Ex Poster 666:

I don't condone being anti Semitic, or anti Muslim or whatever, but  think that it's dangerous for any group to be the legislator , judge and jury on what is offensive to them, and then bully everyone to accept it or be branded a racist/ bigot or whatever.

That could easily be manipulated to make them immune to criticism . There has to be a balance. 

krikoman - on 07 Sep 2018
In reply to 98%monkey:

> Presumably UK law is robust enough or it is not. So if the IHRA have an issue perhaps they should knock on the door of the Ministry of Justice and stop bothering us all with a total non-issue.


Unfortunately, the media have decided that's not good enough and so we've had a month or so being told how awful Labour is and how by not signing they are bringing anti-Semitism back into favour.

I can understand most people thinking that, considering the bombardment, what I don't understand is the people who should know, journalists, Labour MPs shouting their mouths off telling everyone how bad it is they aren't singing up to the IHRA, and the likes of Mr. Sacks should have know about Stern's doubts. With that in mind, we should have known, especially people who take an interest in these matters or simply listen to the news. Someone should have made this statement, but as far as I can see they didn't.

 


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