Hackney Council signs up to anti-Semitism definition at town hall meeting

Cllr Harvey Odze.

Cllr Harvey Odze. - Credit: Gary Manhine

A new definition for anti-Semitism was agreed by Hackney Council on Wednesday night.

Members were asked to vote on a motion presented by Springfield ward’s Cllr Harvey Odze, who said anti-Semitism “continues to rear its ugly head”.

The definition, drafted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), has sparked protests in other boroughs from opponents who say its guidelines restrict freedom of speech about Israel.

But Cllr Odze said: “We will all have received an email giving various reasons to oppose this motion, that it opposes freedom of speech.

“This definition is supported by over 30 governments including the UK, Scottish and Welsh parliaments. Over 120 councils have adopted it, including 18 London boroughs.”

Hackney had been one of only three inner London councils not to adopt the definition before Wednesday’s meeting, along with Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.

The motion was seconded by Cazenove’s Cllr Abraham Jacobson, who said as a youngster in Gateshead he would carry tear gas and a penknife to defend himself against anti-Semitic attacks.