Brighton and Hove Green Group of Councillors Statement on adoption of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition and examples

17 October 2018

Brighton and Hove Green Group of Councillors Statement on adoption of International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition and examples


The Green Group of Councillors stand together against the scourge of anti-Semitism, and tools that help counter anti-Semitism are welcome.  Figures from the Home Office this week reveal anti-Jewish hate crimes are on the rise.[1]This increase cannot and should not be ignored and tolerated.

We recognise legitimate concerns regarding the incorrect application of the IHRA to close down debate on Israeli Government policy. However the Green Group does not view Green Party policy on the State of Israel as in conflict with the IHRA.

The Greens will combat anti-Semitism by continuing to show zero tolerance to prejudice, discrimination and hate. Greens will powerfully address any misapplication of the IHRA by continuing to champion the rights of the Palestinian people to peace, freedom and justice. These values are fundamental to the Green Group.
Once the adoption of the IHRA was raised by the other parties, the Green Group immediately turned to its own Jewish Councillors to learn from their understanding and experience of the many ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself.

The IHRA document makes clear that the examples provided should serve as indicators of potential anti-Semitism. We oppose the ways in which the IHRA has been deliberately misinterpreted in order to close down deserved debate and protest for Palestinian rights. The Green Group has been guided by the recommendations made by the cross-party Homes Affairs Select Committee on Anti-Semitism. These recommendations detail that:
 
  • “It is not anti-Semitic to criticise the Government of Israel, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.
  •  “It is not anti-Semitic to hold the Israeli Government to the same standards as other liberal democracies, or to take a particular interest in the Israeli Government’s policies or actions, without additional evidence to suggest anti-Semitic intent.”
 
Greens proposed strengthening the notice of motion (NoM) to Full Council with this wording, and though this will not be reflected in the NoM, the Green Group affirm the statements above as implicit in our understanding of how the IHRA should be used. The important fight against anti-Semitism must never be weaponised to close down criticism of the State of Israel.

Green Party Policy on the actions of the state of Israel against Palestine is clear. Key excerpts are included here with the full policy available online: https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ip.html 

 

P610 The Green Party supports calls for mutual recognition of the rights of independent statehood and for recognised, agreed and secure borders for Palestinians and Israelis in Palestine; a rapid end to the violence and de-escalation of the arms build-up in the region; implementation of UN resolutions 194, 242 and 338 which followed the wars of 1948, 1967 and 1973; international assistance so that the new Palestinian state can develop self-reliance in land, water, food production, basic services and industries; long-term exploration of the possibility of establishing a confederation with neighbouring states, with free and equal access for each state's citizens.

IP611 We believe that all the interested parties, including the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people, need to talk to each other; this is a precondition for agreement on a solution acceptable to all parties.

IP612 We recognise the need for confidence building measures to enable such talks to produce tangible results for both Palestinians and Israelis.

IP613 The Green Party believes that a negotiated solution must include measures which lead to delivery of the points below:

Policies on human rights

IP620 The Green Party believes that all Israelis, Palestinians, and their families should have and be able to exercise full human and civil rights throughout Israel, Palestine and the occupied territories in Palestine. Israel must be subject to the Geneva Convention concerning the rights of individuals and communities, in the same way that other states are. The resort to 'collective punishment' in defiance of those requirements is unacceptable.

Particular issues of conflict

IP630 The Green Party calls on Israel to evacuate the illegal settlements within the occupied territories of Palestine.

IP631 We call on the government of Israel to dismantle the 'settlement wall' in those territories, which has been condemned by the International Court, which divides Palestinian territories, and which deprives them of land, water, other resources and employment. The discrimination against Palestinians practiced by the Israeli government and settlers in the occupied territories needs to be addressed as a first step.

IP632 The Green Party calls for an end to all and any illegal deprivation of the Palestinians in the occupied territories of the land and water resources pertaining to them.

IP633 We recommend that water resources in Palestine should be shared between the Palestinians and the Israelis. We call upon the government of Israel to enter into discussions with the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people to seek such an agreement covering both states in Palestine.

IP634 The Green Party calls on the government of Israel to abandon its claim to exclusive possession of the whole of the city of Jerusalem as its capital. That is contrary to the partition of the Palestine Mandate agreed by the United Nations in 1948. Equal rights should be given to Israeli and Palestinian citizens of the city, and accorded similarly to the monuments there which are holy to three religions - Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

International consequences

IP640 The Green Party calls on the United Nations and the European Union to implement international sanctions against those states which refuse to comply with the calls above.

IP641 We call on the government of the United States to use its special relationship with Israel to halt military and financial support until Israel enters the dialogue called for above.

IP642 The Green Party calls upon the European Union to ensure that agreements of Association with Israel are suspended unless and until an undertaking is secured that the state of Israel will enter into the dialogue called for above, and ensures that the human rights of Palestinians are assured as are those of Israelis.

 


Green Group Councillors are committed to Green Party policy on Palestine and will remain so, whilst opposing anti-Semitism. There is no contradiction between the two. The Green Party has policy on Israel and Palestine as well as policy on anti-racism which live side by side. Anti-Semitism exists, and we need to take action against it.               


[1] Home Office: Hate Crime, England and Wales 2017/18: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/748598/hate-crime-1718-hosb2018.pdf






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