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British Labour Party Vows To Expel Anti-Semites, But Leaves Definition Vague

(JTA) — Following allegations that Labour is whitewashing its anti-Semitism problem, the British party adopted rules designed to facilitate the expulsion of members caught using hateful rhetoric against Jews.

The rules, which the Labour Party Conference adopted Tuesday, “finally make it easier to expel antisemites,” the Campaign Against Antisemitism watchdog wrote in a statement about the rules, but they “do not make it easier to prove that an an antisemite is actually antisemitic, which has been major part of the Labour Party’s problem,” the statement said.

One of the new rules says expulsion will occur in the case of any member “holding or expression of beliefs an opinions” which involve prejudice. But the rules do not define what constitutes anti-Semitism.

The new rules follow the eruption of a new scandal within Labour. At an event held on the fringes of the main party conference in Brighton, Israeli-American author and pro-Palestinian activist Miko Peled said people should be allowed to question whether the Holocaust took place in the name of free speech.

Denying the Holocaust is illegal in the United Kingdom.

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, vowed the party would investigate the speaker and said he was disgusted the party gave him a platform.

Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s membership surged thanks to enrollment by activists and voters from the far left, including people who made anti-Semitic statements, often in connection to Israel. Ken Livingstone, a former mayor of London, repeatedly insisted that the Nazis were Zionists, leading to his suspension in April. 

Last year, Shami Chakrabarti, a human rights activist and Labour member, compiled a report on anti-Semitism in Labour, which the Board of Deputies of British Jews and other mainstream communal groups said was a “whitewash.”

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