Exclusive: Lansman clarifies position on full IHRA examples

Jon Lansman

A month ago today, Momentum founder and Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) member Jon Lansman described Labour’s new Code of Conduct as the ‘gold standard’ in terms of political party guidelines on antisemitism.

Since then, various news outlets have claimed that Lansman has been lobbying NEC members and the party leadership to accede to demands for the full adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) examples.

Labour’s Code clarifies several of them to remove the risk that they can be used to suppress free speech – as is happening currently in the London borough of Barnet, where the council has agreed, subject to legal verification, to refuse to rent premises or offer support to organisations and individuals supporting the ‘BDS’ movement on the grounds that such support is, according to the council’s interpretation of the examples, inherently antisemitic.

A number of the UK’s largest unions support BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions related to illegal Israeli settlements) and are therefore, according to Barnet council, antisemitic. In spite of this, the general secretaries of two of those unions – Unison and GMB – are advocating for the adoption of the full IHRA examples.

Speaking from his holiday, Lansman told the SKWAWKBOX:

Even if the Labour Party adopted the IHRA definition which I personally would support, subject to the provisions of our agreed code of conduct, I would absolutely not support interpreting it as preventing BDS, and believe our code makes perfectly clear why this interpretation would not be reasonable in the context of the abuse of Palestinian human rights in the West Bank including East Jerusalem and in Gaza.

The Code of Conduct does not need to change because it already deals with all the examples in the text, even the ones that it doesn’t specifically reference.

The NEC did unanimously agree to consult on the text, so I’d consider any other changes proposed on their merits as I assume anyone else would. 

While Jon Lansman has said he would support the IHRA examples being included in full in Labour’s Code, it seems that this is the only amendment that he would support and that the ‘perfectly clear’ Code of Conduct would remain otherwise unchanged.

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  1. To clarify, Jon Lansman supports the IHRA definition but wants the NEC’s new recommended code and modified examples to remain, so as not to prevent criticism of Israeli policies affecting human rights and laws of free speech. – This sounds consistent with what he has said before and something all LP members should support.

    However, what is being proposed by some Labour MP’s and some Union leaders and Jewish organisations is to use all of the examples, unmodified, which will cause legal, free speech and human rights problems for the Labour Party. So this should be avoided it seems to me.

    Jon Lansmans approach seems fair and consistent, despite all the media hullabaloo about him suposedly changing his mind.

    The vote in September organised by Labour MP’s misunderstands what is going on, or they are wilfully misunderstanding the issue to cause problems for Corbyn and the left. Given the history of some of them, the latter explanation seems very likely and may be a pre-cursor for removing Corbyn from his position. A Coup.

    If this is the case, then we must all strongly support Jeremy against the lies and flack thrown at him and support the IHRA definition + new NEC code, which makes a good job of squaring the circle.

  2. Who is going to trust Him after his awful performance on Channel 4 News? Compared to the sensible open and honest performance of the Young Labour gentleman sorry forgot his name sorry!

    Plus the whole Pete NEC sideshow I bet he had a hand in organizing behind the scene, sorry not Interested.

    I will when he wants to debate and listen to others on this subject not just dictate.

  3. Well, that so-called “clarification” clarifies nothing. It is as clear as mud. Lansman seems to be fudging the issue. It creates more confusion.

    Lansman needs to set out his views more clearly and at greater length and stop trying to paper over the cracks.

  4. I would be grateful if he would confirm that “abuse of Palestinian human rights in the West Bank” includes occupying most of it?

  5. Well, that so-called “clarification” is as clear as mud. It appears to be an attempt to fudge the issue.

    Time for Lansman to set out his actual views at length and stop playing games.

    The central issues are:

    1. The IHRA definition, though poorly worded, is more or less acceptable and is rightly included in the Labour Code.

    2. Many of the IHRA examples are uncontentious and are included in the Labour Code.

    3. However, some of the examples open the door to gagging of political criticism of the human rights record of the Israeli government towards the Palestinians. The Labour Code rightly amends them to eliminate this.

    By advocating adopting BOTH the unamended IHRA examples in full AND the modified Labour Code, Lansman is muddying the water and creating confusion.

    Can anyone make head or tail of what Lansman is saying here?

    1. I believe the ‘central issue’ is why do we need the IHRA definition at all, if it’s not to produce a fishing net to intimidate and silence critics of Israel and Zionism?

      Can anybody tell me what is wrong with the Oxford English Dictionary definition of antisemitism?

    2. OK, bearing in mind what Christen wrote in his comment, and re-reading what Lansman said, it appears that the latter is saying the following:

      1. The NEC Code should adopt the uncontentious initial one paragraph IHRA definition of antisemitism (but hasn’t it already done so?).

      2. Leave the IHRA examples, as amended by the NEC to prevent gagging of criticism of the actions of the Israeli government, in the NEC Code.

      3. Subject to further consultation with the Jewish community.

      Sorry, I may have misunderstood what Lansman was arguing in my previous comment.

  6. He is clearing the ground for his support of the IHRA contentious examples at the JLM attackathon in his ongoing campaign to be head cook and bottle washer to the NEC’s Zionist Inquisition.
    Oh I am so going to regret voting for this man! Why did I let you persuade me skwawk?

  7. I don’t understand much of this report. It refers to reports that Jon Lansman is lobbying to get the Labour Code of Conduct changed. He says it doesn’t need to change. He has even argued (somewhat ludicrously) that it sets a “gold standard”. Then he is quoted as saying “if the Labour Party adopted the IHRA definition which I personally would support, subject to the provisions of our agreed code of conduct”. The LP HAS adopted the IHRA definition, if not all its examples. He seems to be saying both that he supports change to the Code of Conduct and that the Code doesn’t need to change. Can this be clarified?

    1. Full inclusion of all the examples – but retaining the clarifications of the code of conduct that dictate how the examples can be applied, basically.

      1. So it’s a flaky definition then examples to ‘clarify’ the flaky definition and then a code to clarify the ‘clarifications’ of a flaky definition??? – let’s call the whole thing off.

      2. So, to keep it simple and unambiguous, Lansman no longer supports the LP “gold standard” code. Have I got that right?

  8. A potentially disastrous fudge from Lansman ! As soon as Labour adopted the full IHRA definition, the ENTIRE press and Labour PLP Right would simply ignore completely our existing code, and use the IHRA code to demand disciplinary action against thousands of Left Wingers who have ever suggested Israel is a racist endeavour or even engages in racist behaviour towards the Palestinians , or non-Jewish Israeli citizens. And top of the list for disciplinary action to be taken against – by a unanimity of Tory media and Right PLP opinion, would be , let’s guess …yep… it’s …JEREMY CORBYN himself ! What is the point of Momentum at all with Lansman running it like a personal fiefdom ? It was set up specifically to DEFEND JEREMY and his political direction, not as a platform for Lansman’s undisguised political ambitions – or to run periodic trendy politics-lite cultural events. Or pay for Momentum staff to tour the globe schmoozing social democratic party bigwigs . We ALL still well recall Jon Lansman’s disgraceful willingness to give away his vital NEC seat to a Right winger so he could pursue the LP General Secretary post.

    1. Support the JC9 this time but we need a more democratic process for next time, and the current JC9 will have to contest their places in a democratic election, they have nothing to fear about losing their places on the top table; they are only up against left wing democtratic socialist grassroots ideas!
      Can’t get a resolution to my Momentum Branch because it hasn’t met for 2 bloody years (long story) but could others in Momentum or Grassroots Labour perhaps considering sending the following up the M or GL chain?
      ‘This groups calls for a more democratic process for choosing the Left NEC slate.
      To this effect we call for (a) anyone interested in being on the Left NEC slate being able to submit a 500 word statement to their local group.
      (b) These statements should then be posted on the groups FB page or sent by post to group members without computers.
      (c) Then as part of a formal meeting a hustings should be held where potential nominees could be questioned on their ideas and the group by OMOV selects one nominee from the area (or a nominee from another area or agrees not to nominate).
      Then with a 3 week deadline non-attendees can add to these votes by voting on-line or by post if they do not have a computer.
      (d) Then all the successful nominees statements are sent up to Momentum and Grassroots Labour to be posted on their sites (with postal votes for those without computers) and we all OMOV vote for our top 9.’
      This could work, discuss it cos’ my bloody branch can’t!
      So vote for the JC9 whilst working for a more democratic future process.

      1. Oh and we ask that this resolution be put to the full membership OMOV!

  9. Any anti-racist code of conduct worth the paper should equally apply to all peoples. Who would possibly accept that loyalty to, or criticism of Saudi Arabia or Iran would be racist towards Muslims? If rules have to be written for one race/religion and not another that should be a warning sign.

    Lobbying for the IHRA has always been part of a political process with the eventual aim of excusing the Israeli government of any responsibility for their crimes under the cover of anti-Semitism. Lobbyists see the adoption of the core statement, the new Labour AS code, then the IHRA itself are just stepping stones to that eventual goal.

    Who would of believed a year ago that we would be defending a Labour anti-racist code with examples restricting mention of Israel? In another few years we will be desperately defending the IHRA against people who wish to prevent any critical mention of Israel at all. This is called shifting the Overton Window of acceptable views. It’s the psychological equivalent of boiling a frog. Don’t fall for it.

  10. Lansman is a Zionist trying to bring the Labour Party into line with JLM wishes and he is doing it covertly and deviously. His language is opaque .Any Momentum members who are opposed to the adoption of the IHRA definition should resign from Momentum which is just Lansman’s cover for his real agenda. We badly need an alternative organisation.

    1. What do you mean by claiming “Lansman is a Zionist” ? This looks like crude conspiraloon abuse . If this claim simply means Lansman , though undoubtedly having huge criticisms of the past and current actions of Israeli governments , wants an end to the illegal settlements, wants a mutually agreed Two States solution to the Israel/Palestine tragedy, but recognises the basic legitimacy of the current Israeli state – then The Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, the UN, all world governments except Iran, and even the PLO are “Zionists” !

      However if you mean by the throwaway lazy statement , “Lansman is a Zionist” that he doesn’t agree with the utter destruction of the state of Israel within ANY territory in the Middle East , you are lined up only with theocratic Iran, the clerico-fascists of Hamas, Daesh and Hezbollah, and a handful of the Far Left. Using the term “Zionist” in the cavalier, non-defined, way you have, suggests you need to check your language and politics for underlying anti-Semitism, John Spannyard Indaworks !

  11. How is anyone supposed to understand or interpret this gobbledygook and double speak? I’ve read it and reread it, and I really can’t make head nor tail of it. It’s not that I’m stupid – Lansman must be doing this on purpose. 🤥🤫🤭

  12. please not this point of his statement “…and believe our code makes perfectly clear why this interpretation would not be reasonable in the context of the abuse of Palestinian human rights in the West Bank including East Jerusalem and in Gaza.”
    what about the ’48 Palestinians (citizens of israel) who live under discrimination and prosecution – the code does not includes them? If someone makes a point of turning israel to a state of all its citizens, will this point will be covered by the IHRA racist definition (racist because it deprives palestinians of their voice) or by the code? and what about the latest legalisation – which was described by leading israeli intellectuals as a “cut and paste” from the Reich citizenship law?

  13. Interpretation schminterpretation.
    Criticise people for what they do or say and you’re fine.
    Criticise them for what they are and you’re not.

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