Sunday 14 July 2019

ATUC endorses call from Palestinian civil society to reject IHRA working definition of anti-semitism

In 2018, Palestinian civil society issued a call (1) urging the UK Labour Party and trade unions to reject the IHRA working definition of antisemitism which seeks to conflate antisemitism with criticism of Israel.
The examples used in this non-legally binding definition are increasingly (2) being used to silence criticism of Israeli policies that clearly violate Palestinian human rights. Accepted by the UK Government in 2016, the definition is also being adopted by an increasing number of local authorities, universities and public bodies, despite legal opinions declaring the definition not fit for purpose (3,4).

At their recent delegate meeting, ATUC delegates unanimously endorsed the call to reject the IHRA definition and examples, passing the following motion:

ATUC endorses the call by Palestinian workers for trade unions to reject the IHRA definition of anti-semitism with its ‘examples’ that act to conflate anti-semitism with criticism of Israel. This definition is being used to try to criminalise the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, and activists who campaign for Palestinian rights. The 2018 report on racial harassment commissioned by Scottish Government concluded that “hostility towards a political entity” should not be considered a hate crime and that “The right to engage in legitimate political protest is fundamental in a democratic society.” Trade unionists should act to show our Palestinian comrades that we will not be deterred from calling out the crimes of the Israeli state, and the denial of Palestinian rights.