Three rabbis from Brighton and Hove were among the 68 British rabbis who signed a letter urging the Labour Party to listen to their community in the row over anti-semitism.
They were Rabbi Hershel Rader, of the Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation, Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah, of the Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue, and Rabbi Dr Andrea Zanardo, Brighton and Hove Reform Synagogue.
They called on the Labour Party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism.
In their letter, published in the Guardian newspaper, they said: “As British rabbis, it is with great regret that we find it necessary to write, yet anti-semitism within sections of the Labour Party has become so severe and widespread that we must speak out with one Jewish voice.
“The Labour Party’s leadership has chosen to ignore those who understand anti-semitism the best, the Jewish community.
“By claiming to know what’s good for our community, the Labour Party’s leadership have chosen to act in the most insulting and arrogant way.
“It is not the Labour Party’s place to rewrite a definition of anti-semitism accepted by the Crown Prosecution Service, College of Policing, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, the National Union of Students and 124 local authorities, including scores of Labour-held councils, including Haringey and Greater Manchester – but above all else, accepted by the vast majority of Jewish people in Britain and globally.
“On behalf of our communities, members and congregants, we urge the Labour Party to listen to the Jewish community, adopt the full and unamended International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism, including its examples, and like the organisations listed above, use the IHRA definition alone as their working definition of anti-semitism.”
Their plea was ignored and Labour’s definition does not include
- accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel than their own nation
- claiming that the existence of the state of Israel is a racist endeavour
- comparing Israeli actions to the Nazis
The party said that the specific examples would be covered by Labour’s wider new code of conduct.