Lord Mann criticises 'incredibly dangerous' report by charity on IHRA definition

Deputy leader of Bassetlaw District Council writes that the Campaign Against Antisemitism 'inaccurately and ignorantly attack us and other councils'


Lord John Mann has criticised as “incredibly dangerous” a report which attempted to show how many local authorities in the UK had adopted the internationally recognised definition of antisemitism.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) submitted an audit to Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick  in August which examined local authorities’ adoption of the working definition of antisemitism developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

The report initially claimed only 119 out of 422 authorities across the UK had adopted IHRA in its entirety – that is, including its list of examples of what could constitute antisemitism.

Its publication sparked a flurry of complaints from at least 70 councils who said they had mistakenly been accused of not adopting the full definition when in fact they had.

 Lord Mann, the government’s own adviser on antisemitism, told the JC: “A report of this nature is incredibly dangerous indeed.

“What it does is create a hurdle that doesn’t exist.

“By all means challenge councils who refuse to adopt the definition, or try and change it.  But there is only one IHRA definition. It has either been adopted or it has not.”

In a letter, published by the JC this week, the deputy leader of Bassetlaw District Council in Nottinghamshire accused the CAA of “inaccurately and ignorantly attacking us and other councils” with the report.

Councillor Jo White wrote: “I was surprised to read the debate about which local authorities have adopted the internationally accepted a IHRA definition of antisemitism to assist and advice their work. 

“My council has done so and yet is criticised by an organisation called the Campaign Against Antisemitism. 

“Our District has a tiny Jewish population, but we are steadfast in ensuring that their rights and freedoms are no less than anyone else.

“Like most Councils, have no time for the obscure arguments of those wanting to alter this internationally agreed definition, we simply accept it as it is and will use where appropriate if we need to do so.”

Cllr White – who is Lord Mann’s wife – added: “I don’t expect any plaudits for us doing do, our population does not like antisemitism and we are simply acting responsibly as people do in places like this.

“But please do not inaccurately and ignorantly attack us and other councils by over complicating a simple truth.”

The CAA have subsequently published an “update” to their IHRA report, listing the local authorities that they now accept have adopted the definition.

Over the past two years, the Jewish Leadership Council, together with the Board of Deputies and the London Jewish Forum have worked on engaging with local authorities over the adoption of IHRA.

More than 260 of the 340 councils in England say they have adopted the definition.

A CAA spokesperson told the JC: “Based on documents that Bassetlaw District Council provided to us, we concluded that the council had adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism but left out the examples, which we had noted in an appendix at the back of our report.

“Now that we have been provided with this new information by the Council, we will of course update the next edition of the report and we have already informed them of this.”




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