Rotherham Council to adopt anti-semitism definition — months after rejecting idea

By Gareth Dennison | 03/09/2019

Rotherham Council to adopt anti-semitism definition — months after rejecting idea
Cllr Chris Read, RMBC leader

COUNCILLORS are to set to adopt IHRA’s definition of anti-semitism — six months after the suggestion was rejected.

A member of the public asked at February’s Rotherham Borough Council meeting whether the authority would sign up to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition, which is recognised around the world.

At the time, RMBC leader Cllr Chris Read said: “If there is some evidence that this council has not had due regard to any issues in relation to anti-semitism or Jewish people who live in the borough, I would want to take that very seriously.

“I have not had that yet and it’s not been necessary for us to take through this chamber that IHRA definition.”

Now Cllr Read has proposed a motion for RMBC to adopt the definition at tomorrow’s meeting (Wednesday).

Opposition member Cllr Adam Carter, Lib Dem (above), said: “Eradicating racism and hate speech should always be the priority of our elected officials in Rotherham.

“I was shocked and dismayed that the council leader originally refused to adopt the IHRA definitions particularly when the Labour party were embroiled in an anti-semitism scandal.

“While the change of heart is certainly welcome, it shouldn’t need the Liberal Democrat opposition to embarrass Labour into bringing forward this change.

“I now hope that the various factions of the Labour party in Rotherham will join me in voting for these definitions.”

Opposition leader Cllr Cowles, Brexit party, said: “This council will and should adopt this definition, but it does nothing to deal with the anti-semitism that stems from the top of the Labour party and has never been tackled. See the comments of Margaret Hodge and Luciana Berger who resigned the whip.

“The Labour party never question their own morality. They are always ready to condemn others but not their own.”

The motion states that the council “abhors racism in all forms” and will adopt the IHRA definition as its working model for challenging and confronting incidents of anti-semitism.

Cllr Read said the move was not a change in stance but followed the Sheffield City Region’s adoption of the definition this summer.

Tomorrow’s meeting at Rotherham Town Hall begins at 2pm.

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