THE deputy leader of BCP Council came under fire on Tuesday after trying to prevent the council adopting an internationally-recognised definition of anti-Semitism.

Poole People councillor Mark Howell proposed an amendment to a motion put forward by Conservative Nicola Greene in a bid to exclude the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance suggestion.

But he was heavily criticised by councillors from across the political spectrum at Tuesday’s full council meeting before his move was overwhelmingly defeated.

The meeting began with former Labour councillor Lisa Lewis apologising for her “carelessness on social media” after she shared a link to an "anti-Semitic" article last month.

The decision to retweet the Dorset Eye piece prompted Cllr Greene to put together a motion calling on the council to “unanimously, unequivocally and explicitly condemn prejudice and intolerance in all forms".

But the inclusion of the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism was opposed by Cllr Howell.

He said examples included alongside it could be used to “restrict freedom of speech” and “prevent legitimate criticism of Israel”.

Putting forward an amendment calling on the council not to adopt the definition, he said: “If anti-Semitism was to be determined in accordance with these illustrations, people could be deterred from – or criminalised for – pointing out where Jews in the UK are acting in ways designed to prevent criticism of the Israeli government."

He cited the "oppression" of Palestinians in the West Bank and their "imprisonment" in Gaza by Israel.

Fellow cabinet member Felicity Rice supported the move saying she did not think it was necessary for any religion or race to be singled out.

However, there was widespread criticism of the "outrageous" move from councillors from most parties.

Conservative councillor Anne Filer, herself a Jew, said the amendment was “a disgrace”.

“Anti-Semitism is an insidious worm and that sort of speech is exacerbating this issue,” she said.

Fellow Conservative, councillor Beverley Dunlop said the definition did not prevent people from criticising Israel.

“None of the criticisms of Israeli policy fall foul of the definition,” she said. “You can continue to make all these and not be anti-Semitic.”

Green councillor Chris Rigby, a descendant of Russian Jews, said he was "surprised" to be having a debate on the topic in 2019.

In a recorded vote on the amendment, only Poole People councillor L-J Evans joined Cllrs Howell and Rice in supporting the amendment with five others abstaining.

A subsequent vote on adopting Cllr Greene's original motion was then passed.