Board of Deputies and Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel urge Mendip Council to support international definition of antisemitism following vote to reject it

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel have written to Mendip Council, after the borough unanimously voted against adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.

The then Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, wrote to all councils urging them to adopt the definition in December 2017.

Mendip Council refused to adopt the definition as it claimed that it was already covered by pre-existing legislation.

The letter, co-signed by Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Monroe Palmer of Child’s Hill and Amanda Bowman, Vice President of the Board of Deputies, states: “We were heartened by [Liberal Democrat Leader] Sir Ed Davey’s recent statement during the party conference that: ‘On behalf of the Liberal Democrats and absolutely under my leadership, we will be a force working with you to eradicate antisemitism from our country. It must absolutely play no part in our politics.’

“In addition, Ed also stated that he supported the Board of Deputies’ initiative to include the IHRA definition of antisemitism in proposed online harms legislation. Speaking at the Liberal Democrat conference he said: ‘We have long argued that Online Harms legislation should include clear definitions, and if you’re taking clear definitions, to make sure people know what is acceptable and what isn’t, it makes sense for the IHRA definition to be part of that’.

“We therefore strongly urge you that the best way to realise this laudable vision is for the council to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism as soon as possible.”

Read the letter here.

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