POSTERS saying “Israel is a racist endeavor” appeared on bus stops in London a day after Britain’s opposition Labour Party voted to accept the international definition of anti-Semitism, but with a free speech clause on criticising Israel.A section of the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism states that “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour” is an anti-Semitic act. Labour had initially omitted this example and three others from the definition it was going to approve earlier this summer.
The resolution by the Labour leadership said it adopted “all of the IHRA examples of antisemitism” while adding a statement that ensures it will not “in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of the Palestinians.”Labour Friends of Israel’s director, Jennifer Gerber, blasted the free speech on Israel clause.
“It is appalling that the Labour party has once again ignored the view clearly and repeatedly stated by the Jewish community: that it should adopt the full IHRA definition without additions, omissions or caveats,” Gerber said in a statement.
The statement also said: A ‘freedom of expression on Israel’ clause is unnecessary and totally undermines the other examples the party has supposedly just adopted. Labour appears determined to provide a safe space for anti-Semites. This decision is a sad reflection on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the party and the culture it has instilled.”
On Thursday, London’s mayor ordered the posters to be taken down. It is not clear who hung the signs, though the London Palestine Action group posted photos of the bus stops on Twitter under the heading “Created by ethnic cleansing; maintained by ethnic exclusion. Israel is a #racistendeavour.”Transport for London told the London-based Jewish Chronicle through a spokesperson that the posters were “absolutely not authorised” by the public transportation authority or the advertising company.
“It is fly posting and therefore an act of vandalism which we take extremely seriously,” the spokesperson said. “We have instructed our contractors to remove any of these posters found on our network immediately.”
Meanwhile, a poll conducted for the Jewish Chronicle found that nearly 40 per cent of British Jews would “seriously consider emigrating” if Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn became prime minister.
Over half of the British Jews surveyed between the ages of 35 and 54 responded that emigration is a serious consideration.Some 51.8 per cent of British Jews said they would not seriously consider leaving, and 9.7 per cent responded that they did not know.
A former British chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, in an interview with the BBC on Sunday warned that Jewish people are making plans to leave Britain over fears of an anti-Semitic backlash precipitated by Corbyn.
The polling company Survation interviewed some 710 Jews in Britain, out of a population of about 25,000, between August 12 and September 4.