Hastings Council in Sussex has voted unanimously to adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism after a long-running campaign by a councillor who quit Labour in protest at Jeremy Corbyn’s failure over anti-Jewish racism.
Councillor Dany Louise told the JC she was “so pleased and relieved” after her motion calling for the adoption of the definition with all of its examples was passed at Wednesday evening’s meeting.
Despite repeated attempts by left-wing Labour Group members to scupper Councillor Louise’s campaign, her motion met with little opposition from those in attendance.
In stated:"The IHRA definition is the most widely accepted and recognised definition of anti-Jewish racism, and the vast majority of the Jewish community welcomes it as providing the protection they need.
"Therefore this Council resolves to join with 260 other local authorities, and the national Conservative and Labour Parties, to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism with all its working examples, to be included in the Council’s policy and practices.”
Hastings Labour Group had previously been at the centre of continued controversy over its response to antisemitism allegations.
Ex-local MP Amber Rudd last year said: “Jewish people in Hastings and Rye deserve far better than a local Labour party obsessed with peddling conspiracy theories about Jewish people.
“For too long, the Labour party in Hastings and Rye has deliberately goaded and baited Jews with hateful language and got away with it.”
Only Leah Levane, a leading figure in the Jewish Voice For Labour movement, and a local councillor abstained on Councillor Louise’s IHRA motion.
In a sign of the weakening influence of the pro-Corbyn activists, no-one spoke against IHRA – although only one member of the Labour Group spoke for it.
The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council had both written to all members of Hastings Council ahead of the meeting urging them to adopt the definition.
Cllr Louise told the JC: "It has been a wearing battle, but an uplifting result, not least because the Labour group, and the Tories (who seconded the motion) clearly felt so good about doing the right thing in adopting IHRA.
“I also had invaluable support from the Board of Deputies, the JLC, Labour Against Antisemitism, and Lord John Mann, the government's antisemitism adviser. I am so very grateful for their help and support."
An amedment,proposed by Labour Cllr Judy Rodgers, and seconded by Ms Levane, cited Home Affairs Select Committee recommendations on the right to criticise Israel without accusations of antisemitism.
It was passed despite opposition from the Tory Group. The JC understands that Cllr Louise was advised that the amendement would make no impact on the adoption of the full IHRA definition.
Cllr Louise, who represents the Old Town ward as an Independent, had quit Labour in February 2019 saying the “level of denial” by Mr Corbyn’s supporters over Labour’s antisemitism problem left her “in despair”.
Her resignation letter was published by the JC at the time.