The long-running dispute in Britain’s opposition Labour Party over racism in its ranks is bubbling over again amid complaints that the party’s new anti-Semitism code does not go far enough.
A parliamentary Labour Party meeting is set for Monday with some legislators challenging the code backed by party leader Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s executive committee. There is also a dispute over whether leading Jewish lawmaker Margaret Hodge should face a disciplinary review for calling Corbyn an anti-Semite.
Hodge, who has long roots in the Labour Party, lost family members in the Holocaust. She has challenged Corbyn in recent days and told the BBC on Monday she would not leave the party despite a spate of abuse.
“I am going to fight within the Labour Party and it is terrible that in 2018 I have to do that,” she said.
She said she had been slow to conclude that Corbyn was an anti-Semite but would not back down.
“I have always in the past disagreed with the people who have called him an anti-Semite but, at the end of the day, people have to be judged on what they do and not what they say. They have to be judged on their actions and not their words,” she said.
The current crisis in Labour’s ranks was spurred after the party’s executive committee proposed a new definition of anti-Semitism that in large part embraces the position taken by the widely recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance but excludes several examples that the alliance cites as anti-Semitic.
The alliance, for example, says it is anti-Semitic to accuse Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than to their home country, an example not picked up by Labour. The alliance also says it is anti-Semitic to compare contemporary Israeli policies to the policies of the Nazis, a view Labour did not endorse.
Corbyn, who says the proposed code shows Labour will not tolerate anti-Semitism, has called for Monday’s meeting of Labour lawmakers to be delayed until the autumn.