Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin announced this week that the West Yorkshire Combined Authority will be adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of Antisemitism later this year.
Addressing a gathering of local authority councillors from across the Yorkshire and Humber region via a video message, the Mayor said, “it is vital that we serve everyone and are seen to serve everyone, that is why we will be bringing the IHRA definition forward for adoption at the Combined Authority.”
Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies, welcomed the announcement saying “West Yorkshire’s imminent adoption of the IHRA definition has helped cement the consensus of supporting the definition across local and regional Government and we thank Mayor Tracy Brabin for her leadership. Now is the time to move beyond motions and to make sure it is implemented in policies and procedures.”
A similar sentiment was expressed by Claudia Mendoza, Co-CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council who noted “the IHRA definition is a practical tool to help authorities identify and tackle antisemitism and especially useful in areas like West Yorkshire with sizable Jewish communities. We are thankful for Mayor Tracy Brabin for her support in adopting the definition.”
Simon Myerson QC, Chair of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council supported the mayor’s statement when he said, “we welcome Tracey Brabin’s commitment to adopt IHRA for West Yorkshire. A framework for understanding antisemitism is a framework for protecting Jewish communities, and allows policies, behaviour, and political debate to be assessed against an objective standard. IHRA is the best standard available because it has both academic credibility and the overwhelming support of the Jewish community.
The seminar was held in Leeds at the Marjorie And Arnold Ziff Community Centre (The MAZ) last Sunday, and was organised by the Board of Deputies. It included sessions on antisemitism, the region’s Jewish communities, Israel, and support for refugees. Those attending represented areas in which over 10,000 Jewish people live and work.
Lisa Baker, President of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council who acted as host for the afternoon, spoke of the importance following the hiatus caused by the pandemic, for councillors and other elected representatives from across the region to come together to learn in person about Judaism and hear directly of how antisemitism affects Jewish communities. She went on to say, “they should be heartened by the Jewish community’s ability to work collaboratively with other faiths as part of the Leeds Faith Forum and understand how they can support refugees and those seeking asylum.”
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