The Green Party’s London mayoral candidate has told of her “frustration” after a motion she sponsored to incorporate a new definition of antisemitism was deemed to be “out of order”.
Sian Berry, who hopes to replace Sadiq Khan as mayor of London, was speaking at a JW3 breakfast briefing with candidates organised by the London Jewish Forum and Jewish Leadership Council, with Jewish News as media sponsor.
Berry said there had been two occasions when motions incorporating the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism had been put before the party’s conference, but said members’ priority had been redrafting the party’s constitution.
On her support for the definition, she said: “We’ve brought forward a [IHRA] motion that I’ve co-sponsored to the current conference, but it’s been ruled ‘out of order’, due to the way we’ve said it should be incorporated into the disciplinary process.”
She said: “That’s really frustrating to me because we didn’t get another chance to re-write it to be in order. So it isn’t going to the current conference that we’re about to have in March.”
On her personal efforts, she said: “I’ve been trying to push the IHRA definition through. I see no problem with signing up to it. I signed up to it as a Camden councillor.”
She added: “I would really like the Greens to pass this. It gives clarity on ways you can oppose particular Israeli government policies and clarity on how not to behave in that situation. It gives you clarity on what is prejudice and where the line is”.
While acknowledging that “there are members who are very, very concerned about [the effect of the IHRA] on free speech and might intervene,” she felt their concerns were “unfounded… There is quite a lot of clarity in the definition.”