If there are anti-Semites in the Labour party then they should have the book thrown at them.

The same should go for the alleged Islamophobes in the Tory party.

But whether anti-Semitism is more widespread within Labour than elsewhere in society I have no idea.

David Cameron described Ukip as a party of "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists" - but that doesn't mean there aren't fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists in other parties, including his own. It's a sad fact of life that racial hatred is found everywhere.

Yet Labour doesn't seem to have been a hostile place for Jewish people in the recent past. Their last leader Ed Miliband is Jewish, as are serving MPs such as Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman and former ones such as Gerald Kaufman and Alf Dubbs.

What Jeremy Corbyn seems to have got himself into trouble about is in the definition of anti-Semitism that he is prepared to accept.

According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), anti-Semitism isn't just hating Jews because they are Jews.

It is also "denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, for example by claiming that the existence of the state of Israel is a racist endeavour”.

In other words, if you criticise the Israeli government for racist treatment of the Palestinian Arabs, you're an anti-Semite.

To me this is nonsense. No government in the world should be above criticism, and criticising a government does not mean you're prejudiced against its citizens.

And there are plenty of good reasons to criticise Israel's government.

Last week it passed a "nation-state law" which states that Jews alone have a right to self-determination in Israel, and that Hebrew is the sole official language - a status it used to share with Arabic.

The new law effectively turn its 20 per cent Arab population into second-class citizens.

It also supports the building of Jewish settlements in the area that was earmarked for the Palestinians, forcing them out of their homes and off their land.

A little bit of historical background may be necessary. The Jews were expelled from Palestine by the Romans in AD 140 and were dispersed to North Africa, Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East.

In Europe especially they faced terrible persecution - most horrifically and murderously under the Nazis - and the idea of a homeland for them had a lot of support.

But the first Zionists, the proponents of a Jewish homeland, hadn't argued that it should necessarily be in Palestine.

Somewhere in South America had been suggested. Perhaps they could have followed the example of the Mormons, who found a largely empty place in which to settle.

Britain took over Palestine after World War One and largely created the present problem. They promised it to the Jews for their homeland, after already promising it to the Palestinian Arabs who had been living there since the Jews had left.

Contradictory promises were made to two different peoples.

The United Nations' answer was to divide it between them. Yet since 1967 Israel has occupied the Palestinian territories, and its current government has no interest in the so-called "two-state solution".

It is the world's longest military occupation in modern times and now the Israeli government there wants to expand it, with more Jewish settlement there.

There are plenty of Jews who argue against the behaviour of the Israeli governments, and say that a race who has suffered so much persecution like them should know better than to persecute another people.

Daniel Barenboim, the Israeli pianist and conductor, is a longstanding supporter of Palestinian rights, and an outspoken critic of Israel's governments and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Is he anti-Semitic?

Of course not. The fact is there is nothing anti-Semitic about opposing racist laws or policies.

It is wrong for the IHRA to suggest that it is.