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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