Seventeen out of 18 Muslim MPs have signed up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism which has been heavily promoted by pro-Israel organisations.
From the Labour Party Rushanara Ali, Yasmin Qureshi, Shabana Mahmood, Naz Shah, Imran Hussein, Khalid Mahmood, Mohammed Yasin, Tulip Siddiq, Rupa Huq, Rosena Allin-Khan, Afzal Khan, Apsana Begum and Zarah Sultana signed the definition.
From the Tories, Rehman Chishti, Nusrat Ghani, Sajid Javid and Saqib Bhatti signed it.
Only Labour’s Tahir Ali has so far not signed although it’s not thought that he has a principled objection to doing so.
Pro-Palestine organisations have warned that the IHRA definition conflates criticism of Israel with antisemitism and is designed to silence pro-Palestine voices.
The Antisemitism Policy Trust invited candidates from all parties to sign up to the definition during the General Election campaign last year, and around 700 did so.
After the election, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Against Antisemitism then set out to sign up more MPs to the definition.
“The result was 637 parliamentarians personally signed up to the definition in what is believed to be the largest collective parliamentary support for any non-parliamentary document in modern times,” the Antisemitism Policy Trust said.
Apart from Tahir Ali, those who have not signed are the seven Sinn Fein MPs who abstain from taking their seats and Grahame Morris MP. The Trust said this was “despite repeated attempts to contact them.”
The IHRA definition has been adopted by the UK government and the Labour Party – though only after a protracted row over the examples it provides of how criticism of Israel can veer into antisemitism.
In 2018 Palestinian civil society organisations issued a statement urging the British Labour Party and trade unions to reject the IHRA definition.
They said it was a “false, anti-Palestinian definition of antisemitism which seeks to conflate antisemitism with criticism of Israel. This definition aims to silence criticism of Israeli policies that clearly violate Palestinian human rights.”
They added: “This non-legally binding definition attempts to erase Palestinian history, demonise solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality, suppress freedom of expression, and shield Israel’s far-right regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid from effective measures of accountability in accordance to international law.
“The discredited IHRA guidelines deliberately conflate hostility to or prejudice or discrimination against Jews on the one hand with legitimate critiques of Israel’s policies and system of injustice on the other.”