Council agrees pledge to fight anti-Semitism in Northampton

The motion to tackle anti-Semitism was backed by councillors from all parties
The motion to tackle anti-Semitism was backed by councillors from all parties

Northampton Borough Council has followed the government’s suit by signing up to guidelines on tackling anti-Semitism.

The authority will adopt the internationally recognised guidelines of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), as well as its definition of what constitutes anti-Semitism.

A motion, brought forward by Conservative cabinet member Councillor Anna King, calling for the council to adopt the definition was backed by members of all parties.

The news was warmly received by John Josephs, a member of the Jewish community and member of the Inter-Faith Forum.

He told councillors: “I’m very grateful to Councillor King for this motion at a time of crucial importance to Jews in this country.

“Anti-Semitism is on the increase and has been for some years. We saw the culmination of it in Pittsburgh recently when people were killed in the act of prayer and naming a new baby. One cannot think of anything more appalling than that.

“But I have been very proud to live in this town for many years after moving here, and I noticed how forward it is on matters of faith but also on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“This is a great town to live in if you are a minority, and I hope this will continue into the future.”

The agreed motion makes Northampton Borough Council one of more than 140 councils across the UK to have adopted the IHRA guidelines and definition, which will be used as the working model for ‘challenging and confronting incidents of this form of racism’.

The definition is worded as ’a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred’, and when ‘rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities’.

It also restates the council’s condemnations ‘of all forms of racism in all its manifestations’, and to support the growing Jewish community in the town.