I am extremely distressed to hear that the leaders of both Unison and GMB – large UK trade unions – have joined the pro-Israel bandwagon and urged the Labour Party to adopt the pro-Israel IHRA definition of antisemitism in full (a definition which the BBC persists in disingenuously describing as ‘internationally accepted’ and the Guardian – poor excuse for an intelligent left-of-centre paper – glibly describes as ‘standard’).
Netanyahu and his far-right cabal must be laughing up their sleeves and patting themselves on the back, just as many Jewish groups the world over are deeply troubled by these developments.
Yes, it won’t be known to you if your only source of news is the British mainstream media, but many Jews do not support Israel’s ongoing and extreme violations of human rights, and explicitly reject the IHRA definition of antisemitism because it deligitimises criticism of Israel (whatever the GMB leadership might say).
Many Jewish groups do not support ‘internationally accepted’ definition
Here is what over 40 Jewish groups, the world over, including many in the UK, say about the IHRA definition:
Of particular concern is the usage of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, intentionally worded such that it equates legitimate criticisms of Israel and advocacy for Palestinian rights with antisemitism, as a means to suppress the former.
I call on the members of the GMB and Unison to express their disgust with their leaderships’ position on this issue, which surely amounts to a betrayal of what should be the values of any trade union worthy of the name: support for human rights and solidarity with the oppressed, the world over.
Tear up your cards
If the trade union leaders will not change their policies on the IHRA definition, then I expect members’ consciences will give them little choice but to tear up their membership cards.
In doing so, they would have my support and, I am sure, that of all the Jewish groups mentioned above (as well as, it goes without saying, the oppressed and dispossessed people of Palestine).
Footnote: Please see what MediaLens has to say about the mainstream media’s role in this sorry saga.