The Liberal Democrats are expected to formally adopt the widely used International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and its examples tomorrow, further increasing the pressure on Labour to do the same.
The Jewish News has spoken to a number of Liberal Democrat sources, who confirmed that a vote on accepting the IHRA definition will take place at a meeting of the party’s ruling Federal Board tomorrow evening.
While the vote is expected to pass, there is some opposition within party. Jonathan Fryer, the Chair of Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine, said: “LDFP is firmly opposed to anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination. However, in common with several Liberal Jewish groups, as well as legal opinions from a number of authorities (as well as the author of the definition himself), we do have reservations about the wisdom of adopting the IHRA definition with its examples, because of its implications for freedom of expression.”
A senior Liberal Democrat source told the Jewish News that the party has in reality been using the IHRA definition as its understanding of anti-Semitism since 2016, but the vote tomorrow will mean it is officially part of the party’s rulebook.
A number of Federal Board Members asked the Liberal Democrat President, Baroness Sal Brinton, who chairs the committee, to put adoption of the IHRA definition onto the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.
Labour’s equivalent body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), will be discussing the the issue at the same time, in what is expected to be a highly fractious debate.
This weekend, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the Jewish Labour Movement’s conference that the IHRA definition “must be embraced immediately and unequivocally by the Labour Party”.