Wednesday 11th October 2017
Recent reports from a number of sources have shown that anti–Semitism is rising in the UK. Over the last year a number of high profile Labour politicians have been accused of anti–Semitism including one MP.
One politician praised Hitler as the “greatest man in history” and said she hoped Iran would use a “nuclear weapon” to “wipe Israel off the map” another backed calls for Israel to “relocate” to America. In Northern Ireland graffiti has been daubed on Belfast’s Jewish Synagogue and thirteen Jewish graves were attacked in West Belfast in August 2016. In March 2017 the Belfast War Memorial to Colonel John Henry Patterson, the British soldier who led the Jewish Legion in WW1, was defaced with graffiti including “scum” and “Nazis”. In December 2016 Her Majesty’s Government became one of the first countries to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti–Semitism.
I am deeply concerned about the threat that anti–Semitism poses to our society as a whole and it is for that reason that I brought a resolution before our Council asking it to adopt the new and more effective IHRA definition of anti–Semitism. I’m glad that Council accepted my proposal and we are now the first Council in NI to state categorically that we will not accept any form of anti–Semitism in our Borough through the adoption of the IHRA definition.
Statement from Stephen Jaffe (Representative of the Jewish Community in NI)
“The Jewish community in Northern Ireland welcomes the proactive leadership stance taken by Ards & North Down Borough Council in recognising the international definition of antisemitism which has now been adopted by the government and by many local authorities across the UK. We are delighted that this Council has become the first local authority in Northern Ireland to recognise the definition and to pledge its support in the fight against anti–Jewish prejudice.”
The definition is available here.