Board of Deputies President calls on councillors to adopt IHRA definition and oppose boycotts at Midlands seminar
The Jewish community’s priorities were spelled out to councillors from across the East and West Midlands on Sunday, at a local government seminar in Birmingham.
Councillors from as far afield as Nottinghamshire and Herefordshire attended sessions on antisemitism, Israel, education and social care.
A highlight of the event, which took place at Singers Hill Synagogue, was a speech by Holocaust survivor Mindu Hornick, who received a standing ovation from attendees.
The event was arranged by the Board of Deputies in partnership with the Jewish Leadership Council and the Representative Council of Birmingham and the West Midlands.
After the event, Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl explained the importance of engaging with local councillors.
She said: “We want to ensure that the Jewish communities concerns are understood by decision-makers across the country. We called on all local authorities to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism and its appended examples and to refrain from boycotts of Israel which divide communities. More broadly, we shared our Jewish Manifesto for Local Government which contains recommendations for how local authorities can support their Jewish communities, whether large or small. I would particularly like to thank our partners at the Jewish Leadership Council, Ruth Jacobs, Chair of the Representative Council of Birmingham & West Midlands Jewry for all her assistance in putting the event together and everyone from Singers Hill and the wider Birmingham community who volunteered on the day.”
Miki Vyse, Regional Affairs Manager at the Jewish Leadership Council’s, said: “It was great to meet so many councillors keen to engage with the Jewish community. I’m sure this will be the start of an ongoing conversation between us and I look forward to working with them.”
Ruth Jacobs, Chair of the Jewish Representative Council of Birmingham and the West Midlands, said: “We have been delighted to have co-hosted the event with the Board of Deputies and the JLC on June 24th at Birmingham’s Singers Hill Synagogue, to appraise Midlands Councillors about the community’s responses to education, antisemitism , social care and Israel. Councillors from across the Midlands attended and everyone – organisers and guests – found the experience very worthwhile and an excellent bridge building initiative. We were particularly pleased to be able to welcome the new Board of Deputies President, Marie van der Zyl, for a visit to Birmingham so early in her post.”
The Jewish Manifesto for Local Government can be read here.