EXCLUSIVE: Scottish Government decline to say if they have accepted the IHRA examples in full

The Scottish Government has so far refused to publish whether they have adopted the entirety of the International Holocaust Remembrance Association's anti-semitism definition.


Although the Scottish Government adopted the IHRA's working definition last June, which reads "Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.", a Freedom of Information request to the Scottish Government uncovered questions over whether the Scottish Government adopted the code's examples of anti-semitism at the same time.

In response to the the question of whether the Scottish Government adopted the definition "in full", including the examples at the heart of the current controversy embroiling the Labour party, the response only made reference to the definition with none of the examples, contemporary or otherwise.

Minutes of a meeting between Government representatives and the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, and Community Security Trust, show that, while guidelines were attached to this definition for Scottish governmental use, the Scottish Government has so far refused to publish them, leading to questions over whether these "guidelines" are the original IHRA examples, or if they have been altered or re-written.

The Red Robin has contacted the Scottish Government to find out the nature of these guidelines, but have not as yet received confirmation either way by the time of our publication.

The Scottish Government has however confirmed that the code was not legally binding, and that it was up to individual public bodies whether they adopted the code or not.

The IHRA’s definition has become a controversial topic recently, with supporters arguing that it provides a simple criteria for identifying anti-semitism, while it’s critics, including Pro-Palestine activists, argue it stifles free-speech. Indeed the SNP’s Friend’s of Palestine group recently asked its members to write to the Scottish government and SNP MSPs to urge them not to adopt the IHRA’s code.

At the time, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told reporters "We were very proud to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism and we would call on all others who have not yet done so to do so."

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