Motion D07 (an “organisational” motion), sponsored by former Deputy Leader Shahrar Ali and others, calls on the Party to “reaffirm its support for free speech on Israel and Palestine and for The Green Party to campaign against adoption of the [International] Definition of Antisemitism and in support of Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaigns.”
The suggestion that the Definition stifles free speech is as persistent as it is unfounded in both fact and law. Meanwhile, research by Campaign Against Antisemitism has shown that the overwhelming majority of Jews feel intimidated by the tactics used to boycott Israel. It is also ironic that boycotting – particularly when it impacts academia and culture – is by definition an attempt to stifle free speech.
This is not Mr Ali’s first battle against the Definition. The Green Party failed to pass a resolution adopting the Definition in 2018 following calls to oppose it by Mr Ali.
Motion E07 (E motions are “unaccredited policy motions and enabling motions”) focuses on the BDS movement but also seeks to repudiate one of the examples under the Definition, namely that “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination (e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour)” is antisemitic.
The conference is due to be held online during the first week of March 2021.
Last year, Green Party co-Leader Sian Berry expressed her “frustration” that her Party had still not adopted the Definition. Speaking at a campaign briefing for the Jewish community, Ms Berry observed that motions to adopt the Definition had been placed before the Party’s conference twice but blamed the failure to adopt it on other priorities for the membership. She also noted that she sponsored another motion for the Party’s Spring conference of that year but that it was ruled “out of order”. The conference was in any event cancelled due to the pandemic.
Most other mainstream political parties in Britain have adopted the Definition, including the Conservative Party, Labour Party (after some controversy) and Liberal Democrats.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.