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Brent Council votes to accept anti-semitism definition

PUBLISHED: 17:19 20 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:58 25 September 2017

Brent Civic Centre

Brent Civic Centre

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Brent Council has been praised for voting overwhelmingly to combat anti-Semitism in the borough.

At a meeting of the full council on September 18 councillors voted to support the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.

The motion was brought forward by the Brent Conservative Group (BCG) with some amendments made to wordings by the Labour group.

Cllr Joel Davidson, of the BCG, said: “I’m delighted the motion passed. We are all very proud of the diversity in Brent and it’s essential we condemn all forms of racism.

“I feel that in recent times that Brent’s had particular problems with anti-Semitic activities.

“We are also seeing a big rise in anti-Semitism across the country. It was very important that Brent followed the lead of neighbours like Camden, Barnet and Harrow in adopting this motion.”

Labour councillor Shafique Choudhary suggested that one example – denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination – be changed to reflect an equal right of self-determination for the Palestinian people, which was passed.

The IHRA’s Committee on Holocaust Denial and Anti-Semitism was set up in order to form a common approach to address the upsurge in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial and trivialisation.

The IHRA definition, made in May 2016, states that 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”.

The British government formally accepted the definition last December.

Philip Rosenberg, who is on the Board of Deputies of British Jews praised Brent for its commitment. Prior to the meeting he sent a letter to all councillors saying: “After the government and the official opposition adopted the definition in December last year, we believe the adoption of the definition at every level increases the resilience of our society to hateful discourse about Jews, and helps educate people about the forms that anti-semitism takes.”

Following the vote he said: “Your clear message on anti-Semitism being unwelcome in Brent, or anywhere in our society, was a very good Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year – present for the Jewish communities of Brent.”

“At the Board of Deputies, we look forward to working together with you to tackle all forms of prejudice in our society.”

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