CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

IHRA definition risks stifling criticism of Israel

09 August, 2018

• DESPITE its promises, there is still no news of Camden Council’s review of the practical effects of its adoption of the definition of anti-Semitism proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Anti-Semitism, like Islamophobia and other forms of racism and prejudice, is completely unacceptable and needs to be fought wherever it rears its ugly head. Yet we have serious concerns that the IHRA definition risks stifling criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

The Tory council in Barnet has already tried to ban protests by both individuals and organisations in support of the plight of Palestinians, in the apparent belief that any political action against Israeli policies runs foul of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.

Some within the Labour Party seem to have realised that the IHRA definition threatens free speech; its national executive committee has put forward a code of practice aimed at fighting anti-Semitism while protecting everyone’s freedom to criticise Israel’s government.

Liberty, the human rights campaign, is also opposing the IHRA on grounds of free speech. British Palestinians and organisations supporting Palestine in Britain would be adversely affected by the adoption of a definition of anti-Semitism that conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

The voice of Palestinians in Britain is of no less worth than the voice of the Board of Deputies of British Jews; both voices need to be heard by our elected councillors in Camden.

SABBY SAGALL, Chair
GEOFF LEE, Treasurer
LUCA SALICE, Press Officer
Camden Palestine Solidarity Campaign

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