Enough is enough: York Conservatives call for all-party pledge against anti-semitism

Amidst the disturbing rise of anti-Semitic rhetoric throughout in the country, City of York Council’s Conservative Group is seeking a clear commitment from all York politicians to support the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.

Councillor John Galvin, Bishopthorpe Ward said “We find the inability of some politicians and political groups to unequivocally denounce bigotry against Jews and the reluctance of some politicians to commit to a simple definition of anti-Semitism quite shocking.  I am old enough –just- to remember the aftermath of World War II and the gristly discoveries of the Nazis and I genuinely cannot believe that over 70 years later we still have people who should know better talking such rubbish.  York knows more than many cities the horrors of anti-Semitism from the historic events of 1190, so it’s particularly concerning that York Central’s Labour MP has repeatedly refused to clarify her position on this issue and ignored numerous requests on social media to do so.

“Our group believes we must all speak loudly and clearly on this issue, without caveats and exceptions, and we are urging all political groups and independent councillors to give their support to the full IHRA definition.  The clearer we define anti-Semitism, the harder it is hide amidst excuses and I very much hope that politicians in York will step up and make it clear where we stand.”

The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is as follows:

“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.”

The following guidance notes support the definition:

“To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as illustrations:
Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled 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.
Contemporary examples of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • 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 endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior 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.

Anti-Semitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).
Criminal acts are anti-Semitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.
Anti-Semitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.”