SOLIHULL Council could adopt a set definition for antisemitism.
In a report prepared for Coun Alison Rolf, cabinet member for communities, Alison McGrory, assistant director of communities, stated: “The Jewish Leadership Council and Robert Jenrick MP Secretary of State for Communities have asked that all local authorities formally adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism and use it on all appropriate occasions.
“The IHRA’s working definition of anti Semitism is: “Anti-Semitism 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.”
She added the secretary of state said the definition would not be legally binding, but aims to guide councils in supporting Jews in their contemporary challenges.
The council has worked with the Solihull Faiths Forum in defining instances of antisemitism.
According to West Midlands Police, in 2018-19 there were 4,811 crimes in the region that were classed as racially motivated.
There were 540 crimes where sexual orientation was a factor, and and 296 where religion was a factor – details on attacks on specific religions were not supplied.
The declaration is not without controversy – in 2018, a group of Palestinian trade unions, co-operatives and campaigners called on city councils to reject the IHRA definition, they said: “The IHRA has been used to try to suppress discussion of the reality of Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights
“[We call on] city councils, universities and civil society at large to reject the IHRA’s false, anti-Palestinian definition of antisemitism.
“This non-legally binding definition attempts to erase Palestinian history, demonise solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality, suppress freedom of expression, and shield Israel’s far-right regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid from effective measures of accountability in accordance to international law.
“The discredited IHRA guidelines deliberately conflate hostility to or prejudice or discrimination against Jews on the one hand with legitimate critiques of Israel’s policies and system of injustice on the other.”
Solihull Faiths Forum said: “We were consulted and we all supported the council in adopting this definition of antisemitism.”