Back the NEC Code: A statement from Brighton and Hove Momentum

Brighton and Hove Momentum steering committee would like to make clear that we back the Labour Party national executive committee (NEC) code of conduct on antisemitism, which includes the full 38-word International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition, as the gold standard of any political party in the UK.

We agree with Jewish Voice for Labour that the attacks upon it and upon Jeremy Corbyn are entirely unfounded.

We agree with the Labour leadership and its NEC that antisemitism and all other forms of racism are an evil that must be tackled whenever and wherever they arise. We believe the code provides a thorough framework for doing so.

We would also like to take this opportunity to express our strong and continued support for Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, in the face of a continuous barrage of smear, innuendo, outright misrepresentation and slander from the media and others.

In a febrile atmosphere of world-turned-upside-down hysteria, the British public is being bombarded with messages asking us all to believe that a man who has proved himself to be on the right side of history for his entire career, is racist or antisemitic.

Mr Corbyn, a man awarded several international prizes for his lifelong efforts to negotiate peace, a man brought up by parents who fought at Cable Street, a man who as a councillor in Haringey joined a 12,000-strong Anti-Nazi League march against the antisemitic National Front in 1977, a man arrested protesting apartheid in 1984, a man who has sponsored, co-sponsored and signed literally hundreds of anti-racist motions in parliament, a man whose first act as Labour Party leader in 2015 was to speak at a rally in solidarity with refugees, is demonstrably not a racist in any way, shape or form. It would be hard to find anyone in public life with a clearer record of life-long activism against all forms of racism and bigotry.

We urge national Momentum as well as Labour’s NEC, the Parliamentary Labour Party, all Constituency Labour Parties, and all Labour and Momentum members to resist calls to adopt the full 11 examples, which were never intended to be used as a part of any disciplinary process and which, indeed, have been disowned by their own author, who said they have been used in a “chilling” and “McCarthy-like” way.

We are concerned — like Kenneth S Stern, the author of the IHRA, as well as numerous academics, Jewish and Black and Minority Ethnic groups in the UK and around the world — that adoption of the full examples, without specific clarifications, would be likely to be used to curtail freedom of speech on the actions of the Israeli government, and stifle all debate on this and related subjects, with members afraid to say anything at all for fear of being accused of racism or antisemitism.

In conclusion, we applaud the efforts of the Labour leadership and the party’s NEC in their determination to tackle all forms of racism both in the party and in wider society, and call on the National Coordinating Group of Momentum, the NEC, and all Labour Party members to back the NEC code.