Organisations representing migrants and ethnic minorities in Britain reveal their opposition to the full adoption of the IHRA guidelines
Eighty-four groups representing migrants and ethnic minorities have waded into the Labour antisemitism row by opposing adoption of the internationally-recognised definition.
Organisations including The Society of Black Lawyers and the Muslim Association of Britain claim that guidelines set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) would “silence” public discussion.
In a letter to The Independent they argue information about the plight of the Palestinians since the creation of Israel 1948 is already being suppressed.
“Public discussion of these facts, and a description of these injustices, would be prohibited under the IHRA’s guidelines, and therefore withholds vital knowledge from the public,” the letter reads.
“This silencing has already begun. Today we can freely describe the racist policies experienced in the era of British and European colonialism … but the colonial history of the Palestinians is continually erased.
“This is a dangerous breach of our own rights, and of the wider British public: we must all hear the full story of the Palestinians in order to make sense of the current discussions about racism and Israel.”
Signatories to the letter include several Palestinian, Muslim and Arab groups such as Arab Labour, the Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK, and Muslim Worker’s Association. The others range from Black Lives Matter UK and Justice for Grenfell to Pakistani Community Centre Oldham and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.
Although Labour has agreed to use the definition in its new code of conduct, it has only adopted seven of the IHRA’s 11 examples of antisemitic behaviour.
That decision was widely criticised by Jewish groups and the party’s own MPs, reigniting the row over antisemitism.
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson, Momentum founder Jon Lansman and union leaders Tim Roche and Len McCluskey have all joined calls for Labour to adopt the full version.
The letter goes on to raise concerns that far right groups are trying “to deny Palestinians’ basic humanity by suppressing their entire history and current plight”.