A Labour MP has criticised her own local party members for adopting a motion alleging that Israel aids a campaign to label criticism of it as antisemitic.
Vicky Foxcroft, the MP for Lewisham Deptford, made the comments on Twitter after her local Constituency Labour Party (CLP) debated the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism on 10 January.
The motion passed but the CLP said it did not win enough support to be taken further, to a London-wide conference of local councils.
It nevertheless stoked anger among British Jews weary of the party’s record on antisemitism. In particular, social media users reacted furiously to the motion’s allegation that “the Israeli government resources an international campaign to conflate criticism of itself with antisemitism”.
Foxcroft said: “Lewisham Deptford members recently discussed concerns about the application of the IHRA definition of antisemitism in local government. I do not share these concerns and believe that this debate ought to have been ended decisively when our NEC [National Executive Committee] backed the IHRA definition in full.”
She told Jewish News: “I was present at the meeting last Thursday, however as I wasn’t a delegate I didn’t have a vote on this motion or any others. However, had I had a vote, I would have voted against the motion.”
I fully support the NEC’s decision to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism and disagree with point E, that the ‘Israeli government resources an international campaign to conflate criticism of itself with antisemitism”.
The party’s ruling body finally adopted the full IHRA working definition in September, after a summer stand-off with Jewish community leaders, and is now believed to be working on additional guidance for those investigating antisemitism allegations.
However, the Lewisham Deptford motion alleged that the definition “has already been cited in attempts to sack workers for expressing views about Palestine, to ban pro-Palestinian groups from using council premises and to curb student activism”.
It calls for London councils to oppose the adoption of the IHRA definition “without caveats explicitly protecting activists engaged in the struggle for equal rights in Israel/Palestine” and to resist pressure to do so.
The Lewisham Depthford CLP has been approached for comment.