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The IHRA definition’s imprecision makes it a threat to free speech

The definition is vague and has no legal standing—leaving it open to misuse by those who wish to stifle speech. Long after the Labour debate is over, this problem will remain

By Rebecca Gould  

A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) demonstration at SOAS. Photo: Wikimedia commons

In a legal opinion on the IHRA definition of antisemitism that has received much exposure in recent months, Geoffrey Robertson QC notes that the law must be “formulated with sufficient precision to enable citizens to regulate their conduct.” Like many proposals to curtail free speech—including in the name of fighting misogyny and Islamophobia—the IHRA definition of antisemitism fails this crucial test of legal legitimacy.

Adam Wagner, a prominent proponent of the IHRA definition who has offered valuable commentary on the controversies surrounding antisemitism in the…

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