After consultation with local Jewish groups and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC), the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) adopted the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism at its Board Meeting on 24th July.
As part of the Equalities Update presented to the Board, the definition was unanimously agreed by the Leaders of all seven constituent member Councils.
The definition, which was set out by the IHRA in Bucharest in 2016, will help to ensure there is clarity around what antisemitism is. The description is a clear and practical working definition of antisemitism, and it is hoped that through adopting it a confidence will be created within the Jewish community in the entire West Midlands region and it will be easy to recognise what is and is not antisemitic.
The WMCA will be joining other combined authorities such as Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Liverpool City Region, North East Combined Authority and the Greater London Authority that have already adopted the definition as well as over 260 councils in England and Wales.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I am proud to be Mayor of an extremely diverse region, but we must not pretend that hate crime and prejudice don’t still exist. Nobody should be the victim of hate because of their faith or heritage, which is why I have been working closely with our Police and Crime Commissioner to tackle this, and why I was so keen for the WMCA to sign up to the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
“I am pleased the WMCA board has now agreed the definition, and I hope this serves as a symbol to not only the Jewish community in the region but all communities, that the West Midlands stands together against all forms of hate and prejudice.”
West Midlands Combined Authority portfolio holder for inclusive communities and deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, councillor Brigid Jones, said: “Adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition highlights that there is no place for antisemitism in the West Midlands.
“As we reconnect as a region following the pandemic, we should remember that inclusivity should be at the heart of everything we do and that all of our communities should be respected and not subjected to prejudice or hatred in any form.”
Claudia Mendoza, Joint Chief Executive at the JLC said: “The IHRA definition is a practical tool to help authorities identify and tackle antisemitism. We would like to thank Mayor Andy Street and the Leaders in the West Midlands Combined Authority for adopting this definition.”