Tag Archives: anti-semitism

Federal Board decision on the re-adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Association definition of antisemitism

On Tuesday, the Federal Board of the Liberal Democrats debated the re-adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Association definition of antisemitism.  In 2016, Tim Farron MP, then Leader, stated in Parliament that the party had adopted this definition. He also noted the Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into Antisemitism in the UK. Since then the party has used the IHRA definition in complaints and discipline cases involving antisemitism.  

In coming to that decision, as you would expect, we had an informed debate, looking at the IHRA definition and its worked examples (which you can find here and other papers including the Home Affairs Select Committee 2016 Antisemitism Inquiry Report, as well as receiving papers from the Lib Dem Friends of Israel and the Lib Dem Friends of Palestine. 

The Board agreed that the Liberal Democrats reject all prejudice and discrimination based upon race, colour, religion, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation*. In so doing, we confirm our commitment to reject and fight antisemitism both inside and outside the party. We recognise and adopt the 2016 International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism in full, including its worked examples.

In this context we also confirmed that Liberal Democrats also believe that freedom of speech is a fundamental right and a key feature of any democratic society and we noted the contents of House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee’s 2016 report on Antisemitism in the UK in this regard which said: 

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A time to speak out?

It was in fact the mid-seventies but looking back it seems more like Victorian times. Rows and rows of little kids in red and grey uniform and we chirruped in unison from a hymn we were far too little to understand about how to “master self and temper, how to make our conduct fair, when to speak and when be silent, when to do and when forbear”.

When as Liberals should we be silent and when should we speak out?

Three examples for your consideration:

On the school run I walk alongside a mum, like me, whose family go back many, many years in this town. She has assumed we are on the same wavelength. We make small talk about how the town has grown and changed. Out she comes with: “There weren’t any black people here when we were young were there Ruth?” I hesitated, I admit I hesitated, the school run is not a political occasion but her tone and inference were clear and I replied as gently as I could by asking her if she had a problem with that (ie that the town was now multi-racial). She scuttled back into her shell and waffled about how “it” just showed how the town has changed. She has hardly spoken to me since.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 26 Comments

Andrew Stunell MP writes…Tackling anti-semitism at home and abroad

We may have had a peaceful summer at home but overseas the situation was anything but relaxed, not least in Gaza where the tension between Israel and Palestine spilled over into violence and bloodshed. Whatever your interpretation of events there, nothing can excuse the fact that the resultant anger and hurt felt by many was channelled by a few into violence against British Jews, leading to a 400% increase in recorded antisemitic incidents in the last quarter. That was a pattern repeated across Europe, which is why as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism I joined a delegation of MPs to Berlin and Paris in order to learn the lessons of the summer. Our findings will help to inform a new parliamentary report into antisemitism now being drawn up.

Posted in Op-eds | 10 Comments
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