The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) today responded to the UK Labour party’s adoption of the definition of anti-Semitism drafted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)*, but with the addition of a statement that protected criticism of Israel as “free speech”.
“If today’s move by UK Labour Party represents the beginning of dealing with anti-Semites and anti-Semitism within the party, including anti-Semites masquerading as anti-Zionists, then the Party can begin to write a new chapter. The fact that criticism of Israel and Palestinian issue were added to the adoption could be used to subvert the agreement by those who hate the Jewish state, home to the world’s largest Jewish community,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the SWC Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action and Mark Weitzman, SWC Director of Government Affairs. As Past Chair of the IHRA’s Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, Weitzman is considered the “architect” of the IHRA definition and has been called “the principal figure in shaping and introducing the definition of antisemitism in 2015.”
Weitzman concluded, “Adoption of the Definition is not the end - it means that Labour’s efforts in this regard are only just beginning, including by making every effort to ensure that antisemitism masquerading as anti-Zionism is never accepted”.
* The IHRA definition is as follows: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).