Support for a new definition of antisemitism

Annual Nazi Veterans March Kicks Off in Riga March 2017. Photo: Sputnik News

JVL Introduction

Three weeks ago the Guardian published a letter from prominent Jewish figures calling for a new definition of antisemitism. Three weeks later it has been followed by another, signed by a wide range of parliamentarians and other public figures, endorsing its approach.

We welcome it wholeheartedly and, in the light of the NEC’s new Code of Conduct on Antisemitism are cautiously optimistic we can now move forward on a secure basis both to address antisemitism and to protect the right to speak out clearly and campaign robustly in support of Palestinian rights.

As the original letter pointed out: “There are disturbing signs round the world that age-old prejudices against Jews are reviving once more. ” We will be in the forefront of opposing it.

Steps towards defining antisemitism

The fight against antisemitism is not enhanced by any conflation of it and legitimate criticism of Israel’s laws or the policies of its government, write parliamentarians and public figures including Caroline Lucas MP, Stephen Kinnock MP and Jarvis Cocker

We welcome the statement published last week by prominent academics and other figures from the Jewish community (Letters, 16 June). We endorse their clarity on the need for all public bodies and other organisations to be robust in addressing antisemitism within their own organisations and challenging it within wider society.

We agree that this requires clarity about what antisemitism is. We welcome their contribution to establishing such clarity. This is particularly important in addressing what type of speech about Israel may be antisemitic and what is not. We believe that the fight against antisemitism is not enhanced by any conflation of antisemitism and legitimate criticism of Israel’s laws or the policies of its government.

We believe that adoption of the principles espoused in the statement will help in ensuring robust action against antisemitism and in protecting the right to call for robust action to address the displacement of Palestinians and the denial of their rights by successive Israeli governments.

David Steel Former leader of the Liberal party
Caroline Lucas MP Co-leader of the Green party
Tessa Blackstone Former minister of state
Philippa Whitford MP
Stephen Kinnock MP
Rushanara Ali MP
Richard Burden MP
Clive Lewis MP
Grahame Morris MP
Naz Shah MP
Andy Slaughter MP
Chris Hazzard MP
Clare Short Former secretary of state for international development
Kevin Courtney General secretary of the National Union of Teachers
Jarvis Cocker
Julie Christie
Prof Conor Gearty
Prof Tim Shallice
Sal Brinton President of the Liberal Democrats
Debbie Abrahams MP
Claudia Beamish MSP
Órfhlaith Begley MP
Clive Betts MP
Mickey Brady MP
Tom Brake MP
Victoria Brittain
Alan Brown MP
David Calder Actor
Alex Cunningham MP
Iain Chalmers Founder, Cochrane Collaboration
Louise Christian
Manuel Cortes Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association
Prof Colin Eden
John Finnie MSP
Michelle Gildernew MP
Mary Glindon MP
Professor Rebecca Gould
Professor Penny Green
Professor Dorothy Griffiths
Meral Hussein-Ece President of Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine
Kate Hollern MP
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Christine Jardine MP
Hugh Lanning Chair, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Ken Loach
David Martin MEP
Paul Maskey MP
Elisha McCallion MP
Andy McDonald MP
Francie Molloy MP
Lord Richard Newby House of Lords leader of the Liberal Democrats
Jared O’Mara MP
Professor Greg Philo
Andrew Phillips
Jocelyn Pook
Chris Rose Director of Amos Trust
Bert Schouwenburg GMB
Shaista Sheehan
Tommy Sheppard MP
Laura Smith MP
John Smith
Karl Turner MP
Harriet Walter
Lord William Wallace
Julie Ward MEP
Norman Warner Former minister of state
Chris Williamson MP
Marie Rimmer MP