Bradford Council adopts full IHRA antisemitism definition
Bradford Council has voted overwhelmingly to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in a move its Labour leader said was a sign the city was a place of “welcome”.
At a packed full council meeting on Tuesday night, the motion to adopt the IHRA definition was passed, as 80 Conservative and Labour Councillors united to back its implementation – the same day the party outraged British Jews by refusing to adopt the same at a national level.
Ahead of the debate, council leader Susan Hinchcliffe and the Bradford Council For Mosques both issued an appeal for “calm” among local Muslims who were concerned that adopting the IHRA definition would close down criticism of Israel.
But speaking in Tuesday’s debate, Cllr Hinchcliffe argued there was “nothing problematic in the definition or its examples” of how criticising Israel can be antisemitic. She added that she herself would still remain critical of Israeli government policies.
Cllr Imran Khan told the chamber he stood with Bradford’s Jewish population and while there was “concern to have the right to criticise and to have free speech” he insisted it was “up to Jewish people to decide what antisemitism is”.
Lib Dem councillor David Ward – who was sacked as the parliamentary candidate for Bradford East last year over comments on Israel and the Holocaust – led the opposition to adoption of the definition but only nine other councillors supported him.
Cllr Ward claimed the IHRA definition had “had its day” and accused supporters of the definition of “turning their backs on the Palestinians”.
A Board of Deputies spokesperson said: “That Bradford Metropolitan District Council has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition with all its examples is a very welcome move.
“While we would disagree with some of the unfair criticism of some Israeli government policies expressed in the debate, this served to prove that it is possible to criticise Israel whilst being resolutely opposed to antisemitism.”
Bradford has faced a string of scandals involving antisemitism over recent years. George Galloway quizzed by police over alleged racial incitement in 2014 after he declared the city an “Israel-free zone” when he was an MP in the city.