Leader of the Council – Business, Innovation, Employment & Skills Cabinet Member – Minutes – 1 March 2017

15 (15) ADOPTION OF THE IHRA WORKING DEFINITION OF ANTI-SEMITISM – The Head of Paid Service and Executive Director People and Transformation submitted a report providing an update of the UK Government’s Adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of Anti-Semitism and recommending that the council adopt the IHRA definition.

The council had a statutory duty to promote equality, challenge hate crime and support those who had been a victim of hate incidents.

In December 2016, the Government formally adopted the IHRA working definition of Anti-Semitism, and were the first European Union country to do so.

The definition, which was non-legally binding was adopted by the IHRA plenary in Bucharest in May 2016.  The adopted definition was as follows: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews.  Rhetorical and physical manifestations of Anti-Semitism are directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, towards Jewish community institutions and religious facilities”.

The adoption of the single definition by the Government and other public bodies ensured that there was one definition of Anti-Semitism.  Jewish people and institutions had protection under the Hate Crime Legislation and the single definition would make it easier to prosecute offenders.  The definition ensured that people who perpetrated hate crime did not escape justice because of ill-defined technology or because different organisations and bodies had alternative interpretations.

The IHRA definition was already used by Police Forces and they would be supported in their efforts to challenge hate crime and hate incidents if all public bodies were to use the same definition.

Resolved – (a) That the proposal to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of Anti-Semitism above, to be applied across community cohesion and the strategic and operational wider work of the council, be approved, and (b) that further reports be submitted to the Leader of the Council on the implementation of any subsequent changes required as a result of the adoption of the definition.