US/World News

Chief rabbi: Dutch Labour rejected antisemitism definition to woo Muslims

(JTA) – Dutch Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs said he was “shocked” that the Labour Party rejected a motion calling for the adoption of a definition of antisemitism, saying its vote aimed to curry favor with some Muslim voters. On Tuesday, a majority of lawmakers in the lower house of the Dutch parliament, the Tweede Kamer, passed a nonbinding motion calling on the government to adopt the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. But Labour, along with all the other left-wing parties, voted against it. The definition has been adopted as official policy by the United Kingdom, Germany and five others in the European Union, as well as the EU as a whole. Some pro-Palestinian activists have opposed the definition because it says that some forms of vitriol against Israel are antisemitic. Jacobs, a member of the Rabbinical Center of Europe, rarely comments on political votes. He made an exception here. The lawmakers who voted against the motion, he said, “did so out of political considerations.” Asked whether he meant that Labour opposed the motion to woo some Muslim voters, he said “Yes.”

Labour leader Lodewijk Asscher declined to say why his party voted against the motion, Ernst Lissauer, a prominent freelance journalist, wrote on Twitter.

Despite Labour’s vote, Jacobs said, “There is real determination in the Dutch political establishment to fight anti-Semitism, and the chairwomen’s remarks at the event reflected that.”

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