Stop labelling Palestine activists as anti-Semitic

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Sam Baker
Sam Baker signed this petition

On 21 September 2018 Camden Council sent two Prevent Officers (anti-extremism officers) to observe and presumably report back on a public meeting entitled, ‘Labour, Corbyn and anti-Semitism: why is solidarity with Palestine under attack?’.

The meeting was held despite a concerted attempt to stop it from going ahead, in the wake of the Labour Party’s adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which links criticism of the state of Israel with anti-Semitism. A group of Zionists had contacted the meeting venue claiming that the meeting would be anti-Semitic.

In the end the meeting did go ahead after a successful campaign. However, the fact that Camden sent anti-extremism officers to a meeting about Palestine solidarity shows that the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is being used to redefine acceptable discourse on Israel, something that proponents of IHRA said would never happen.

A Freedom of Information request has been submitted to Camden Council, asking how the decision to send Prevent officers was made and what their report of the meeting contained. This has been refused, despite an appeal to the borough solicitor, on the basis that it would “provide insights into who is consulted in these matters, which is likely to lead to lobbying and undue and inappropriate pressure being placed on these people".

On the contrary it is entirely appropriate for a decision that labels Palestine activists as potential extremists to be subject to public scrutiny.

We demand:

·      that the details surrounding the Prevent officers’ visit to the meeting be published in the public interest

·      that there is a new vote at Camden Council to repeal IHRA, which was endorsed by the council in 2017, now that it is clear that the definition is being purposefully used in a way that curbs free speech