Three major trade unions and Momentum have aligned to demand that Jeremy Corbyn adopts the full International Definition of Antisemitism. So far, he has refused to do so, in defiance even of his own MPs.
Simultaneously, reports have emerged that the powerful Momentum faction, which controls the levers of power in the Labour Party and swept Mr Corbyn to victory in two Party leadership elections, has now also demanded that he adopt the definition, including its examples. This is a major turnaround for Momentum, which had previously argued that Mr Corbyn’s rewritten definition was the gold standard and that the international definition was unfit for purpose.
Indeed, the definition itself has come under repeated attack and experts from the British delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance this week had to reconfirm that the examples form part of the definition after Labour figures repeatedly made out that they were not.
The attacks on the definition are made all the more outrageous by the fact that no other minority has to battle over the definition of the racism it is subjected to. Since 1997, the definition of racism has been governed by the so-called Macpherson Principle, that: “A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.” In the face of total unity from the Jewish community, Mr Corbyn has repeatedly rubbished the International Definition of Antisemitism in favour of a rewritten definition drawn up by his allies. We believe that the reason for this might be that Mr Corbyn has himself engaged in activity which breaches the definition. Under the international definition, there is no doubt that Mr Corbyn is an antisemite.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has referred the Labour Party to the Equality and Human Rights Commission over its handling of antisemitism amongst its members, and its refusal to adopt the international definition.
It is highly significant that many of Mr Corbyn’s most vocal backers are now reversing their positions and siding with Labour MPs and the Jewish community against Mr Corbyn. It is possible however that their intervention is not ideological and is merely a reaction to the fact that according to a recent poll the antisemitism crisis engulfing the Labour Party is harming the Party’s standing with the electorate.