Stephen Sedley: Freedom of expression is at the heart of this debate Antisemitism is hostility towards Jews as Jews. This straightforward meaning is at the disposal of any institution or organisation that needs it. It places no prior restrictions on the form antisemitism may take. What then is the point of the demand that the Labour party should adopt the verbose and imprecise definition promulgated in the name of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA, an intergovernmental body of 31 states) as a “non-legally binding working definition”? It reads: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, towards Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” This text reproduces a 2005 draft by an EU body, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, though it was never adopted by it, and was resurrected by the IHRA in May 2016 with the now contentious list of purported examples. These supposed examples of antisemitism are at the heart of the debate. They include: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, eg by claiming that the existence of a state… Read full this story
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