“Anyone guilty of that [anti-Semitism] will be called out on it, British Prime Minister Theresa May stated.
United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May announced that her government will officially adopt a working definition of anti-Semitism, which includes attacks against Israel, while saying it was “disgusting” that anti-Semitic views are found in British politics.
“It is unacceptable that there is anti-Semitism in this country. It is even worse that incidents are reportedly on the rise. As a government, we are making a real difference and adopting this measure is a ground-breaking step,” May said in a private lunch of the Conservative Friends of Israel.
“It means there will be one definition of anti-Semitism – in essence, language or behavior that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews – and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it.”
The working definition of anti-Semitism was developed in May by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), an intergovernmental organization backed by 31 countries.
The IHRA defines anti-Semitism as a “certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Having a clear definition will make it easier for political leaders to root out anti-Semitism, which is sometimes obscured by debates over what constitutes anti-Jewish language,. While the definition isn’t legally binding, it can be adopted by universities and other institutions that are struggling with this issue.
In her remarks, May also slammed the Labour Party for the increase in anti-Semitism in its ranks under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, who has also been accused of harboring anti-Semitic and anti-Israel views of his own.
A British parliamentary committee report in October said that Corbyn does not fully comprehend “the distinct nature of contemporary anti-Semitism” and suggested that the party is “institutionally anti-Semitic.”
“It is disgusting that these twisted views are being found in British politics,” May said, adding that “of course, I am talking mainly about the Labour Party and their hard-left allies.”
Calling Israel an inherently racist country or making comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany would be considered anti-Semitic under that definition.
A spokesman for Corbyn said in a statement that he fully supports the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.
“Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party share the view that language or behavior that displays hatred towards Jews is anti-Semitism and is as repugnant and unacceptable as any other form of racism. We agree with the IHRA ‘working definition” of anti-Semitism.
Earlier this month, Home Secretary Amber Rudd promised to spend millions to provide security guards for all Jewish schools, institutions and synagogues in the country.
The Community Security Trust, a British organization that monitors and records anti-Semitic incidents, has recorded an alarming rise in anti-Semitic attacks and incidents during the first six months of 2016.
Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, “warmly welcomed” the prime minister’s decision.
“With anti-Semitism on the rise, it has become essential to have a clear definition against which to assess attitudes that are or may be racist,” he stated.
By: JNS.org and World Israel News Staff