BOURNEMOUTH council could seek to ban anti-Israel events on university campuses, a councillor has said.

At a meeting on Tuesday the authority voted to adopt a new definition of antisemitism recently laid out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Backing the motion, Cllr Anne Filer said the new definition would allow the council to ban events featuring "prominent anti-Israel activists" should they take place in the town's universities.

She said that during Israel Apartheid Week - a controversial international event consisting of lectures comparing that country with Apartheid-era South Africa - Jewish students around the UK "have complained of intimidation, threats and abuse".

"However unlikely it seems, this could happen at one of Bournemouth's universities and by adopting this definition, we could legitimately ban such events taking place in our town."

Bournemouth University declined to comment on the councillor's proposal.

The IHRA definition states: "Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical or physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities."

The motion was put forward by the council's equalities and diversity champion Cllr David Kelsey, who made no mention of banning university events.

He told the meeting: "By adopting the wording that has been put together by IHRA we as a council are able to demonstrate the seriousness with which we take antisemitism, as we do for all hate crimes."

Council leader John Beesley said Bournemouth was a "multi-cultural society" in which there was "no place" for hate crimes.

In February police figures revealed that reported hate crimes in Dorset had doubled between July and September last year, compared with the previous quarter. However, numbers were still low in a national context.

At the meeting, Cllr Filer said members of Bournemouth's Jewish community had experienced antisemitism, and that a rise in reported antisemitic crimes nationally, coupled with the "significant Jihadi threat", had led to high levels of security at Jewish religious events.

"This morning, I helped out at a lunchtime day centre for about 80 very elderly folk held in the synagogue in Glen Fern Road.

"The entrance doors were manned for the entire three hours by the Jewish community's highly trained security guards plus two policemen.

"The same level if security is always present at Sabbath morning and festival services."

She added: "Living as we do in Bournemouth, which has always been so welcoming and comfortable for visitors and students from varied backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, colours and creeds, we should not be complacent."

Rabbi Maurice Michaels of Bournemouth Reform Synagogue welcomed the council's decision. He said the town was a welcoming place for Jews, although nevertheless there had been some instances of abuse.

"I am really delighted they have chosen to do this," he said.

"I would be loathe to say that Bournemouth has become a difficult place for Jews. Not at all.

"Yes there are occasional incidents. I am sure Muslims are finding themselves in the same situation.

"As an example, a few weeks ago one of our members was leaving the synagogue when someone drove past and made an antisemitic comment.

"There are always going to be some people around who just don't like the 'other'. But that is a situation we have to live with."

Mr Michaels praised the co-operation between the town's religious groups in the form of interfaith talks and meetings.

However, he said evidence of people taking photographs of the synagogue in Christchurch Road was among the reasons for high security at services.

"It is just unfortunately one of those things that we as Jews have to live with," he said.

"If a lot of Jews come together we feel we need to assure their security. There have been incidents.

"Just occasionally we notice someone on the other side of Christchurch Road taking photographs of the synagogue. There is no reason for them to do so, it is not a building with beautiful architecture.

"It is better to be safe than sorry."

He said the security guards were synagogue members, who have received training from the London-based Community Security Trust.