December 16, 2019 1.22 pm This story is over 47 months old

North Kesteven to adopt anti-Semitism definition into equality policy

The council will follow United Nations guidance

A council leader has said he will not “stomach any kind of racial or religious” hatred ahead of a motion this week which aims to tackle anti-Semitism.

North Kesteven District Council Councillor Richard Wright is to ask the authority to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism in its Equality and Diversity Policy.

In his motion, Councillor Wright says: “Hatred, and particularly religious hatred, in all forms, is not something that should be tolerated in our society.

“Whilst there have been instances of hatred appallingly directed at several religions, worryingly there is an upward national trend in anti-Semitic hatred that must not be tolerated.”

It follows from a report from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief in October which agreed the definition to encourage education and awareness-raising and help in monitoring and responding to anti-Semitism.

The definition says:

“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. 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.”

In June, the Community Security Trust (CST) said there were 892 recorded incidents in the first six months of 2019 – a 10% increase compared to the same period last year.

The figure was the highest since the charity began monitoring anti-Semitism in the UK in 1984 and was the third year in a row to see an increase.

Accusations of anti-Semitism have plagued the Labour party during the recent election campaign.

Ahead of the vote, Councillor Wright was also asked by Local Democracy Reporters for his view on Islamophobia, another high-profile hate crime being reported which has seen the Conservative Party suspend members elsewhere in the country.

He said: “It should not be tolerated in any form […] I don’t stomach any kind of religious or racial hatred.”

Councillors will vote on the motion during Thursday’s meeting of the full council.

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