'The British Labour Party’s recent efforts to define anti-Semitism, and to put clear water between a racist act (which is a criminal offence) and legitimate criticism of Israel, is deeply appreciated by those who strive for truth and justice.
Conversely, the push by supporters of Israel to bully and browbeat the Labour Party into adopting a distorted definition of anti-Semitism is sad and disheartening.
“It is impossible to understand why Labour refuses to align itself with this universal definition,” complained the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the UK’s Jewish Leadership Council.
The second half of this sentence is patently false. These groups’ desired definition, through politically slanted examples, is most definitely not a universally accepted test to decide which statements should be struck from the political discourse – and for good reason.
Five years ago, the Fundamental Rights Agency – the European Union body dedicated to combatting racism and discrimination – dropped the definition from its website.
In fact, the definition’s controversial examples are not even accepted as such by the man who wrote it.
As Kenneth Stern, the lawyer and lead author of the document explained in a 2016 op-ed in the New York Times, the text was only ever “intended for data collectors writing reports about anti-Semitism in Europe. It was never supposed to curtail speech”.'
Read more: Anti-Semitism and Labour: Muzzling free speech silences rightful criticism of Israel
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