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Geoffrey Robertson says UK anti-Semitism definition is inadequate

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Published: 11 September 2018

Last updated: 4 March 2024

IN AN OPINION prepared for the Palestinian Return Centre, the human rights lawyer said the definition does not cover the most insidious forms of hostility to Jewish people and the looseness of the definition is liable to chill legitimate criticisms of the state of Israel and coverage of human rights abuses against Palestinians.

By pivoting on expression that arouses hatred (a “very strong word”), he said it does not cover speech that arouses hostility and fails to protect Jews from many prevalent kinds of antisemitism. For this reason, Robertson’s opinion evinces surprise that Jewish organisations are advocating acceptance of the full definition by the Labour Party and other organisations.

Mr Robertson examines all 11 “examples” attached to the definition and concludes that several of them are so loosely drafted that they are likely to chill criticism of action by the Government of Israel and advocacy of sanctions as a means to deter human rights abuses in Gaza and elsewhere.

He says there is a particular danger that the definition will be used mistakenly, to defame criticisms of Israel by branding them as anti-Semitic.

FULL STORY IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is not fit for purpose (Doughty Street)

READ GEOFFREY ROBERTSON’S FULL OPINION

Photo: Geoffrey Robertson.com

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