The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism, which Labour refuses to adopt in full, is very clear about one thing. That denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination constitutes discrimination.
In the past though this fact appears to have been lost on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Footage has emerged of the leader, speaking on the Iranian sponsored channel Press TV, saying:
‘There seems to be a great deal of pressure on the BBC from the Israeli government and the Israeli embassy and they are very assertive towards all journalists and to the BBC itself. They challenge every single thing on reporting the whole time. I think there is a bias towards saying that Israel is a democracy in the Middle East, Israel has a right to exist, Israel has its security concerns’
Remember that time @JeremyCorbyn appeared on PressTV and said that the Israeli government and Israeli embassy are “very assertive towards all journalists and the BBC” and as proof of this said “there is a bias towards saying . . . Israel has a right to exist”. No? Here you go… pic.twitter.com/9Jy8l1VKHT
— The Golem (@TheGolem_) August 7, 2018
Mr Corbyn does not make clear why he considers Israel’s right to exist evidence of BBC bias, but following the statement to its logical conclusion suggests to Mr S that he would have liked the BBC to balance its coverage of Israel with people arguing that the Jewish state should not exist at all.
For those tempted to pick and choose from the examples of anti-Semitism they like, the IHRA today issued a strong rebuke:
‘Any ‘modified’ version of the IHRA definition that does not include all of its 11 examples is no longer the IHRA definition. Adding or removing language undermines the months of international diplomacy and academic rigour that enabled this definition to exist. If one organisation or institution can amend the wording to suit its own needs, then logically anyone else could do the same. We would once again revert to a world where antisemitism goes unaddressed simply because different entities cannot agree on what it is.’
Could Corbyn be worried about falling foul himself?