Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy CorbynReuters

Britain's Labour Party was embroiled in a fresh row Wednesday over anti-Semitism within its ranks after
its new code of conduct designed to address the issue was condemned by Jewish groups and MPs.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of allowing anti-Semitism to spread in the left-wing party.

Labour MP John Woodcock, a prominent critic of Corbyn, said he was quitting the party over the issue.

Matters came to a head in March when British Jewish leaders wrote a joint letter claiming "enough is enough", and protests were held outside parliament.

The letter claimed a "repeated institutional failure" within Labour to tackle the problem and accused Corbyn of siding with anti-Semites "again and again".

In response, Labour drew up a new code of conduct on anti-Semitism, which was approved by its governing body on Monday -- in the face of intense criticism from the Jewish community.

The code states explicitly that "anti-Semitism is racism" and it is "unacceptable".

However, it stops short of signing up in full to the definition drawn up by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Many British institutions use the full IHRA definition.

In a joint statement, the leaders of the main British Jewish organisations said the "watered-down definition" would be regarded with "incredulity and outrage by the overwhelming majority of the UK's Jews."

The "distorted and diluted" definition of anti-Semitism seems aimed at protecting "those who are part of the problem", they said.

According to the Huffington Post, Labour MP Margaret Hodge confronted Corbyn in parliament, calling him an "anti-Semite and a racist".

"You have proved you don't want people like me in the party," she was quoted by the news website as telling Corbyn.

The new code endorses the IHRA's working definition of anti-Semitism and has sections of it copied word-for-word.

But it omits four examples from the IHRA list:
-- Accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country;
-- Claiming that Israel's existence as a state is a racist endeavour;
-- Requiring higher standards of behaviour from Israel than other nations;
-- Comparing contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis.

The Labour Against Anti-Semitism group condemned the adoption of the new guidelines.

Spokesman Euan Philipps said: "The Labour movement has lost its moral compass, appears to have an institutional anti-Semitism issue and can no longer claim to represent the values of solidarity, justice and equality."

The Jewish Labour Movement said: "The Labour Party has acted in a deliberate and offensive reckless manner in believing it understands the needs of a minority community better than the community itself."

Allegations of anti-Semitism have been a problem for veteran socialist Corbyn ever since his improbable leadership win in 2015.