Councils agree to support International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance guidelines

As the nation prepares to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, councillors from Babergh and Mid Suffolk have strengthened their commitment to tackling anti-semitism.

They have agreed to support the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) guidelines, which were adopted by the UK government in 2016, ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday, January 27.

The IHRA provides clear examples of anti-semitism in public life, which include calling for, aiding or justifying the killing of Jews in the name of a radical ideology and making dehumanising, demonising or stereotypical allegations about Jews.

In particular, the definition states: “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 towards Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Adopting the IHRA definition reinforces the councils’ commitment to a clear and consistent definition of anti-semitism and support the equality objectives and Equality and Diversity Policy.

Recently, there has been an increase in anti-semitic incidents recorded across the UK, with 1,652 crimes in 2018, representing a 16% increase on the previous year.

The Babergh and Mid Suffolk areas have historical ties to the Jewish community and welcomed refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in the kindertransport prior to the start of the Second World War.

British banker and humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton established the organisation which brought 10,000 children to the UK, with many arriving at Harwich by ferry from the Hook of Holland.

At least 2,000 of these new arrivals are believed to have stayed in the eastern region with some being sent to a training farm at Barham before joining foster families in Babergh and Mid Suffolk.

John Ward, Babergh District Council’s leader, said: “Hate crimes towards Jewish people are a growing problem within society and I therefore welcome the adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-semitism. This will provide reassurance to the Jewish community in the Babergh district that we take this form of crime very seriously and will do everything in our power to tackle it.”

And Suzie Morley, Mid Suffolk District Council leader, added: “Jewish people are an important part of our community and I therefore welcome this commitment to tackle all forms of hate crime, whether towards Jews or other religious minorities.”

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