The Hastings, UK town council is refusing to condemn a pro-Palestinian protest from May at which demonstrators chanted “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and called for the destruction of Israel.
According to the Jewish Chronicle, Hastings Council adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in October, 2020.
The definition states that denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination is anti-Semitic.
The Hastings Council is made up primarily of members of the Labor Party.
Labor has been dealing with numerous complaints of anti-Semitism since the tenure of the party’s former leader Jeremy Corbyn (2015-2020).
Former Labor councillor and Hastings resident Dany Louise, who is Jewish, was disturbed by the chants and sent a query to the municipal government asking that her concerns be brought up at the next council meeting.
She asked the councillors to “condemn the naked anti-Semitic racism in the streets of Hastings during this rally” and to reaffirm their commitment to ensure that “every individual feels safe, protected and comfortable,” reported the Chronicle.
Instead, Louise was told by the council’s lawyer that her concerns would not be discussed because they were not the council’s jurisdiction. She was also told that the safety of individuals was a police matter, and not a subject to be discussed by the council.
Louise said she was shocked by the response.
“I've been dealing with this Labour group for about four years now. It has been heart-breaking and phenomenally frustrating attempting to encourage this group to engage or deal with the anti-Semitism in their ranks. They have simply refused to acknowledge the issue, let alone discuss it in any sensible adult manner,” she told the publication.
Labor has long been criticized for what many Jewish groups, former and current party members, and critics say is a lack of willingness to tackle anti-Semitism within its ranks.
In the latest incident, a party investigation was launched by leader Kier Starmer earlier in the month after Lucy Craig, Labor’s representative in the Wood-Green and Hornsey counties, condemned Israel's conduct during Operation Guardian of the Walls and was described by a person present as saying, 'If the Israelis behave in this way, the Jews probably did not understand the message of the Holocaust.’”
She added that in her opinion, "Israel is the one that created the need for Hamas and made it reach its current dimensions."