Peace dove

Assembly backs international anti-Semitism guidelines

08 February 2017

The London Assembly has unanimously agreed to adopt the internationally recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) guidelines on anti-Semitism.

The Assembly pledged to combat this form of racism and condemned the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK and London over recent years.

Andrew Dismore AM, who proposed the motion said:

“The recent rise in anti-Semitism is utterly obscene. We have a large Jewish population in London and they, like everybody else, should be protected from the words and actions of the intolerant and ignorant. Yet there’s little doubt that the decision last year to leave the EU, and the recent election of President Trump, has left some unpleasant individuals believing they have permission to act on their prejudices.

In recent months we’ve seen Jewish people, and their properties, become the target for acts of hatred. If we’re to weed out anti-Semitism, we need to be clear about the challenge on our hands. These guidelines leave no room for doubt about the many ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself. By adopting them we’re issuing a warning that any expression of anti-Semitism will not be tolerated.

While it is vital the Assembly responds quickly and unequivocally to recent events, this motion goes beyond expressing alarm: we must take action to stamp out this despicable behaviour and we must take it now.”

Gareth Bacon AM, who seconded the motion said:

“It is deeply concerning to note the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes in London and the UK in recent years.

It has seemed in recent times that there are some areas of society in which this sort of discrimination is considered acceptable. It is not.

Hatred and discrimination of any sort is of course wholly unacceptable and it is important the London Assembly makes a point of taking a stand.”

The full text of the Motion is:

This Assembly expresses alarm at the rise in anti-Semitism in recent years across the UK including London. This includes incidents when criticism of Israel has been expressed using anti-Semitic tropes.

We therefore welcome the UK Government’s announcement on December 11th 2016 that it will sign up to the internationally recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) guidelines on anti-Semitism which define anti-Semitism thus:

“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.”

Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

The guidelines highlight manifestations of anti-Semitism as including:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

This Assembly hereby adopts the above definition of anti-Semitism as set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and pledges to combat this pernicious form of racism. 

Notes to editors

Notes to editors: 

 

  1. Watch the full webcast.
  2. The motion was agreed unanimously.
  3. Andrew Dismore AM, who proposed the motion, is available for interviews. Please see contact details below. 
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Lisa Lam on 020 7983 4067.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.