… the version that Luke Akehurst is peddling is even worse
Luke Akehurst of ‘We Believe in Israel’ has been circulating an amended version of the IHRA definition of antisemitism to Local Authorities and encouraging them to adopt it. A letter sent by Akehurst, former Labour Leader of Hackney Council and failed NEC candidate, has been urging councils to pass a motion that subtly, but significantly, toughens the suppression of pro-Palestinian voices. Worse it tries to pass off this new version as the same as the original. The letter has been circulated in the name of a previously unknown front organisation ‘Local Government Friends of Israel’.
The IHRA definition is in two parts: a flawed core definition and a series of exemplars that link the definition to criticism of Israel. The IHRA definition describes the exemplars as:
“Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:”
Akehurst’s model motion amends this to:
“The guidelines highlight manifestations of antisemitism as including:”
This makes criticism of Israel such as “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.” an absolute offence; regardless of whether there is any evidence of antisemitic intent.