Greenwich Council

Agenda item.

Motion - "To adopt the definition of antisemitism as set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance"

Decision:

Resolved –

 

This Council expresses alarm at the rise in antisemitism in recent years across the UK. This includes incidents when criticism of Israel has been expressed using antisemitic tropes. Criticism of Israel can be legitimate, but not if it employs the tropes and imagery of antisemitism.

 

We therefore welcome the UK Government’s announcement on December 11th 2016 that it will sign up to the internationally recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) guidelines on antisemitism which define antisemitism thus:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

 

The guidelines highlight manifestations of antisemitism as including:

  Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.

  Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

  Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non- Jews.

  Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).

  Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

  Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

   Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.

  Applying double standards by requiring of it behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

  Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.

  Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

      Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

 

This Council welcomes the cross-party support within the Council for combating antisemitism in all its manifestations. This Council hereby adopts the above definition of antisemitism as set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and pledges to combat this pernicious form of racism.

Minutes:

The Mayor announced that Councillors Anthony Okereke and Mehboob Khan wished to be formally recorded as in support of the motion. 

 

Councillor Ian Hawking moved the motion. He said that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism that had a clear 38 word basic working definition of antisemitism and 11 contemporary examples which may serve as illustrations. He said he was proud to live and represent a Ward in a multi-faith Borough that remembered and commemorated the atrocities of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. He said a disconcerting recent survey by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust had highlighted 45% of those polled did not know how many people were killed in the Holocaust, 19 % believed fewer than 2million Jews were murdered, 8% believe the scale of the Holocaust had been exaggerated and 5% believed the Holocaust never actually happened. He commented that these shocking statistics highlighted a lack of knowledge and understanding that combined with repeated misinformation from groups and individuals had led to a growing rise in antisemitism and hate crime against the Jewish people in the UK. He stated that according to the last census in 2011 only around 0.5% of the population of England and Wales identified as Jewish and were the second most targeted group for religious hate crime. He said it was clear there was a rise in antisemitism in the UK and that it needed to be addressed and eradicated, that the passing of this motion would send a message loud and clear in the Royal Borough of Greenwich that there was no place for antisemitism.

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Danny Thorpe. He commented that in this time of great uncertainty and debate about who we were as a nation and a country, we should never forget the role that Britain had played over many years to offer safe passage and protection to those people who were being persecuted around the world. He said that we had a moral duty to resist polarisation and continue to build understanding of what united, to stand up for equality and tackle injustice. That we were not just a country of leavers and remainers but people who come from a kaleidoscope of different backgrounds and for all of our individual differences and personal stories we must never forget that we always have more in common than we may think. That we needed to be clear about our fundamental British values and ensure that the ideals of equality and the fight against discrimination continues whether it's homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia or sexism we needed to redouble efforts to ensure that discrimination was tackled in all of its forms to ensure that we learned the lessons of the past and did not make the same mistakes in the future.

 

Councillors Mehboob Khan and Chris Lloyd spoke in support of the motion. 

 

Councillor Matt Hartley stated that the Conservative Group would be supporting the motion and clarified that they were first aware of it on seeing the agenda, requesting that the names of the Conservative Group Members be added to the motion.

 

Councillor Ian Hawking formally closed the motion.

 

The motion was put to the vote and it was

 

Resolved

 

This Council expresses alarm at the rise in antisemitism in recent years across the UK. This includes incidents when criticism of Israel has been expressed using anti-Semitic tropes. Criticism of Israel can be legitimate, but not if it employs the tropes and imagery of antisemitism.

 

We therefore welcome the UK Governments announcement on December 11th 2016 that it will sign up to the internationally recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) guidelines on antisemitism which define antisemitism thus:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

 

The guidelines highlight manifestations of antisemitism as including:

   Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.

   Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.

   Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non- Jews.

   Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).

   Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.

   Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

   Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.

   Applying double standards by requiring of it behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

   Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.

   Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

   Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

 

This Council welcomes the cross-party support within the Council for combating antisemitism in all its manifestations. This Council hereby adopts the above definition of antisemitism as set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and pledges to combat this pernicious form of racism.

Supporting documents: