West Sussex County Council has adopted an internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism into its own equality policy.
Members of the standards committee voted unanimously to include the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition after being contacted by the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC).
In his letter, Simon Johnson, chief executive of the JLC, said: “Incidents of anti-Semitism are unfortunately on the rise across the UK and, as an umbrella body for Jewish communal institutions, we believe that first step in combatting this evil is to adequately define it, which is why we are asking local authorities to adopt the definition into their own policies.”
There was no doubt among the committee about the need to adopt the definition, with chairman Lionel Barnard stating: “We should do it, we have to do it, and we should do it now,” and Bob Smytherman (Lib Dem, Tarring) adding: “I’m surprised we haven’t already done it.”
When Amanda Jupp (Con, Billingshurst) suggested that the policy should be aimed at opposing all forms of discrimination as well as anti-Semitism, Diane Henshaw, principal solicitor, assured her that this was already the case.
Ms Henshaw said: “At the moment we have anti-discrimination policy within our equality policy.
“The proposal is we will simply have a line in there to say as part of that we endorse the definition from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.”