JVL kicks off the election campaign with lies

Jewish Voice for Labour – which exists to whitewash antisemitism in the Labour Party – has published a mendacious document entitled ‘Briefing for canvassers: Challenging false allegations of antisemitism’.

Here is some counter-briefing, feel free to use it in debates with Labour canvassers. A vote for Labour on 12 December is tantamount to putting two fingers up to the UK’s Jewish Community.

LIE …………the IHRA document has been adopted by only eight of the IHRA’s thirty-three members plus two of its nine observer states.”

TRUTH As of August 2019, the IHRA definition had been adopted by sixteen countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia and the UK). It is also used by the US State Department and the US Department of Education and the Ministry of Education of Greece. It has been endorsed by the European Parliament, which has recommended its adoption by EU Member States, and by the Organisation for American States. It is used by a number of civil society organisations monitoring antisemitism and was recognised by the UN Secretary-General in 2018. Around 200 UK local authorities and one University have adopted it.

LIEAlready, some universities which have ‘adopted’ the IHRA document, have cancelled or obstructed student activities which support the Palestinians, and some local authorities have cancelled meetings out of a fear – with no reasonable basis – of what might possibly be said in them.

TRUTH Where meetings have been refused – eg this example – it is because of concern about antisemitism – far from there being ‘no reasonable basis.  JVL is hardly the arbiter of ‘reasonableness’ when it comes to antisemitism!

LIEThe IHRA 38 word ‘definition’, in retired Lord Justice Sir Stephen Sedley’s view, ‘fails the first test of any definition: it is indefinite’. Its clumsy drafting leaves its meaning quite indeterminate.  Plus, it is way too narrow, focusing on extreme antisemitism (hatred), whilst ignoring (so not protecting against) far more common forms, such as harassment, prejudice, hostility and discrimination.”

TRUTH Sedley suggested the completely unworkable definition that “Antisemitism is hostility towards Jews as Jews”. His criticism of IHRA effectively amounts to the Livingstone Formulation.

LIE “The IHRA document has been fiercely criticized by some of Britain’s most senior lawyers, who fear the political nature of its ‘Israel examples’ may seriously ‘chill’ political debate on Israel/Palestine. These critics include Jewish retired Lord Justice of Appeal (Stephen Sedley), foremost Jewish advocate on race and equality issues over the past half century (solicitor, Geoffrey Bindman) and leading human rights QCs (Hugh Tomlinson and Geoffrey Robertson), who have both written legal opinions tearing it apart. Plus, American Jewish lawyer Kenneth Stern, the original author of what has since become the IHRA definition and examples, is furious that a document he wrote to assist the collation of international police statistics on antisemitism, is now being used to regulate, chill (and potentially kill) debate about Israel/Palestine.”

TRUTH You get what you pay for and lawyers are no exception.  Tomlinson was paid by Free Speech on Israel, Independent Jewish Voices, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Robertson’s Opinion was funded by the Palestine Return Centre.

Stern was not the ‘original author’ of what has become IHRA. And his only caveat is that he says it is inappropriate for universities to use it for certain types of anti-Israel speech, because he sees campuses as a special ‘free speech’ environment. But for everyone else, his message is clear: the definition should be used more than it is (this comes from Dr Dave Rich of the CST).