City coun­cil to clar­ify def­i­ni­tion of anti-Semitism to stamp out big­otry

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

BIRM­ING­HAM City Coun­cil is to re­spond to the rise in anti-Semitism by be­com­ing the lat­est lo­cal au­thor­ity to adopt an in­ter­na­tional guide­line on the is­sue.

With anti-Jewish big­otry and abuse on the rise, es­pe­cially on so­cial me­dia, a grow­ing num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions and coun­cils have adopted the In­ter­na­tional Holo­caust Re­mem­brance Al­liance (IHRA) def­i­ni­tion of anti-Semitism.

It has proved use­ful in clar­i­fy­ing when le­git­i­mate crit­i­cism of Is­raeli pol­icy in Pales­tine for ex­am­ple, turns into anti-Semitism.

At least two Birm­ing­ham Labour coun­cil­lors, Waseem Zaf­far and Za­far Iqbal, have pub­licly apol­o­gised for over­step­ping the line, while both the Con­ser­va­tives and Labour dropped can­di­dates in the Hall Green coun­cil by-elec­tion last year for shar­ing Jewish con­spir­acy the­o­ries on line.

Na­tion­ally, for­mer UKIP leader Nigel Farage has this week been ac­cused of anti-Semitism af­ter talk­ing about the ‘Jewish lobby’ ex­ert­ing dis­pro­por­tion­ate in­flu­ence on US pol­i­tics dur­ing his ra­dio show.

And for­mer Lon­don Mayor Ken Liv­ing­stone has been sus­pended by the Labour Party for com­ments de­scribed by leader Jeremy Cor­byn as ‘grossly in­sen­si­tive’ and of­fen­sive to the Jewish com­mu­nity.

Birm­ing­ham coun­cil­lors will now be asked to adopt the IHRA def­i­ni­tion of anti-Semitism at its meet­ing on Tues­day.

Cllr Ewan Mackey (Con­ser­va­tive, Sut­ton Trin­ity), who has pro­posed the mo­tion, said: “Birm­ing­ham has a proud his­tory as a di­verse and wel­com­ing city and tak­ing this step will reaf­firm our com­mit­ment to tack­ling dis­crim­i­na­tion and big­otry in all its forms.”

He said it would make it eas­ier to call out and tackle this form of big­otry.

“We are con­fi­dent that this mo­tion will re­ceive cross-party sup­port to set an ex­am­ple of re­spon­si­ble con­duct and al­low re­ports of anti-Semitic hate crime to be han­dled ob­jec­tively and uni­formly. By adopt­ing this in­ter­na­tion­ally-recog­nised word­ing with­out amend­ment, we can show that we stand un­con­di­tion­ally and un­am­bigu­ously with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity against the scourge of anti-Semitism.”

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