Do not adopt anti-Semitism definition, ambassador tells Corbyn

Palestinian ambassador urges Jeremy Corbyn not to ‘give in’ and adopt the widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism for the Labour party

  • Professor Manuel Hassassian hailed Corbyn’s ‘principled stand’ on the matter
  • Corbyn has faced calls from Labour MPs to adopt IHRA’s anti-Semitism definition
  • Labour party MPs are set to vote on whether to adopt the rules in September  

Jeremy Corbyn should not ‘give in’ on excluding certain examples of anti-Semitism from Labour’s code of conduct, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK has said.

Professor Manuel Hassassian said Corbyn’s ‘principled stand has been watched with bated breath by all Palestinians’ and said the Labour leader must resist calls on changes within the party.

Corbyn has faced growing calls from within his own party to adopt the full list of anti-Semitism examples laid out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance widely-recognised definition.  

In a statement, Prof Hassassian wrote: ‘As Palestinians, we urge him not to give in to the forces which would like to silence legitimate criticism of Israel’s racist policies’

Professor Manuel Hassassian said Corbyn’s ‘principled stand has been watched with bated breath by all Palestinians’


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In a statement, Prof Hassassian wrote: ‘As Palestinians, we urge him not to give in to the forces which would like to silence legitimate criticism of Israel’s racist policies and actions against our people and bury the crimes of Israel’s past.’

Labour’s National Executive Committe last month decided to exclude four examples of anti-Semitism from the IHRA definition in its new code of conduct, including ‘claiming Israel’s existence was a racist endeavour’. 

Labour backbencher Dame Margaret Hodge then accused Corbyn of being a racist and anti-Semite. 

Last week, Unite union leader Len McCluskey said Labour should change tack and adopt the full list of examples, following similar calls from GMB, Unison and USDAW. 

Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire from his own MPs for refusing to accept the IHRA’s widely-recognised definition of anti-Semitism


Labour backbencher Dame Margaret Hodge (left) previously accused Corbyn of being a racist and anti-Semite

Labour MPs will vote on whether the party should adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.  

Yet Professor Hassassian has hailed the NEC for their ruling.

He said: ‘Labour rightly judged that this example could be used as a tool to challenge criticism of nationalist tendencies and violations of human rights in Israel and legitimise its prolonged occupation of the Palestinians rather than protecting Jews worldwide.

‘Anybody who is serious about understanding the historical context in which Israel was created will know that 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed by Zionist terror militias and 500 Palestinian villages destroyed.

Jeremy Corbyn is seen posing with a wreath under a distinctive red canopy as other politicians look on. This canopy runs alongside the graves of Salah Khalaf, Hayel Abdel-Hamid, Fakhri al-Omari and Atef Bseiso, three of whom have been linked to Black September, the group behind the 1972 atrocity at the Munich Olympic Games

‘It is difficult not to define this as a racist endeavour.’

The ambassador also rubbished accusations Corbyn had commemorated suspected terrorists during a visit to Tunis in 2014. 

Corbyn was photographed holding a wreath next to the grave of Salah Khalaf, a senior PLO figure accused by Israel of founding the Black September group, who carried out the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.

Professor Hassassian disputed the characterisation of Khalaf as a terrorist, claiming he was assassinated in 1991 because ‘he had adopted the path of diplomacy after greater international recognition of the Palestinian cause’.

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