Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Anti-Semitism Vote Poser for Councils

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Anti-Semitism Vote Poser for Councils

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES CAIN Local democracy reporter james.cain@reachplc.com @JIMMYMCAIN

ANTI-SEMITISM - will Teesside's councils adopt the international definition? That's the question being posed by a Conservative councillor amid accusations of anti-semitism within the Labour Party.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism has been adopted by more than 130 UK local councils, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the judiciary.

But controversially, Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party chose to omit examples of contemporary antisemitism as listed by the IHRA from the party's code of conduct.

One point of contention is that the Labour code leaves out claims "that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavour".

The move sparked a backlash in which three Jewish newspapers ran identical front page stories accusing Mr Corbyn of posing an "existential threat to Jewish life".

Now, Steve Turner, Conservative councillor for Longbeck has submitted a motion to Redcar and Cleveland Council asking for the local authority to adopt the IHRA definition - and has called on all Teesside authorities to do the same.

The motion says: "In January of 2017 the Secretary of State for communities and local Government wrote to every council leader in the country urging them to adopt the IHRA's definition of anti-semitism.

"Our authority, along with the other Tees Valley authorities has not yet done so.

"I take this opportunity to ask members to show the wider public that we can lead locally on this issue as we have on so many others.

"Therefore, this council agrees that the authority adopts in full the IHRA's definition of anti-semitism at the earliest possible opportunity."

Cllr Turner said: "I see no reason why the council can't adopt it.

"I genuinely believe that in this day and age it is shocking that we should even be talking about something like this. …

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