Camden Council adopts new anti-Semitism definition

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Camden Council adopts new anti-Semitism definition

Decision welcomed as Jewish representatives accuse critics of IHRA definition of being 'in denial' about Jew hatred

Representatives of all political parties on Camden Council on Monday voted unanimously voted to adopt a controversial expanded definition of anti-Semitism.

Camden’s move follows similar votes in Harrow and Hertsmere earlier this year, with councils adopting the working definition of anti-Semitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, a 31-nation group.

The IHRA definition, which was adopted by Theresa May on behalf of the government in December, provides a far bigger list of “examples” of modern-day anti-Semitism, including the statement that Israel is a “racist endeavour”.

It has been criticised by leading lawyers as “unclear and confusing,” and of having a “chilling effect” on free speech in public bodies such as universities.

At Monday night’s meeting, there were protests from the floor, including those representing Camden Abu dis Friendship Association, Free Speech on Israel, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Dr Les Levidow, who argued against the resolution, said: “This definition appears to link criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism, and this must be wrong. If criticism is fair, people must have a right to voice it.”

However Labour Councillor Phil Rosenberg, who is also director of public affairs at the Board of Deputies, welcomed the news, saying the motion passed “despite pressure from those in denial about the problem of anti-Semitism”.

He added: “I want to thank everyone who stood up to be counted, including Cllr Hai, Cllr Robinson and Rabbi Levin from South Hampstead Synagogue who spoke so well as the meeting.”

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