Dame Margaret Hodge called her party leader an anti-Semite to his face after Labour’s executive committee decided that comparing Israeli policies to the Nazis’ is not anti-Semitic.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Dame Margaret Hodge furiously denounced the leader of her party, Jeremy Corbyn, on Tuesday, after Labour’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) adopted a code of conduct on anti-Semitism that did not adhere to the internationally accepted definition on what constitutes Jew-hatred.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition on anti-Semitism has been adopted by many countries, including Great Britain. In fact, the members of Parliament from the Labour Party made a point of overwhelmingly voting to adopt it in full Monday night, showing the NEC where their sentiments lay.
After the committee met and decided to ignore its own MPs, Hodge, a Jew, confronted her party chief behind the speaker’s chair in Parliament. As reported in the Huffington Post, Hodge’s colleague said that she angrily told Corbyn, “You’re an anti-Semitic racist. You have proved you don’t want people like me in the party.”
When he dissented, she repeated her charge, saying, “It is not what you say but what you do, and by your actions you have shown you are an anti-Semitic racist.”
Hodge – who has been a Labour member for many decades – spoke in the House of Commons just this April about the hatred lately being directed at her from within the party.
‘I have never felt as nervous and frightened’
“I never ever thought I would experience significant anti-Semitism as a member of the Labour party,” she said in her speech. “I have, and it has left me feeling an outsider in the party of which I’ve been a member for over 50 years… I have never felt as nervous and frightened as I feel today about being a Jew. It feels that my party has given permission for anti-Semitism to go unchallenged.”
The proponents of the IHRA definition completely agreed that actions speak louder than words, with one, Eddie Izzard, tweeting that he had stressed this point at the NEC meeting.
“Perception is everything, and to be perceived at the moment as anything other than in support of the Jewish community is wrong,” he said.
Fellow MP Margaret Beckett backed up this point when she stated, “The Jewish community has lost trust in the party. We need to act. It is not the NEC that needs to be convinced we’re doing the right thing. It’s the Jewish community.”
In a bid to calm the situation, a Labour Party spokesman said that “in light of the serious concerns expressed,” the NEC “agreed to reopen the development of the code, in consultation with Jewish community organizations and groups, in order to better reflect their views.”
The Jewish community has already spoken, however, in the form of an open letter signed by 68 rabbis from across the religious spectrum that was published in The Guardian before the vote, urging the party to accept the IHRA definition in full.