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A diverse array of governments, NGOs, universities and other groups are using IHRA definition as a guiding framework for policies against antisemitism.

By TPS

An academic study of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism found significant global acceptance. The findings appear to confirm a significant global consensus in its favor.

The study, by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University and the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) shows 37 nations and 865 entities around the world have adopted the IHRA’s definition since it was released in 2016.

In 2021 alone, 200 entities adopted or endorsed the definition worldwide, 23 percent of the total since the definition’s inception.

So far in 2022, 20 entities have adopted the definition as well.

A diverse array of international organizations, governments, municipalities, NGOs, universities, athletic clubs, corporations, and other groups adopted IHRA’s working definition as a guiding framework for their policies against antisemitism. “The definition’s impact and influence are rooted in the mainstream consensus that has formed around it,” the report, released on Wednesday, states.

The non-legally binding definition was adopted unanimously by IHRA’s 31 member states in May 2016. The Israeli government adopted the definition in 2017 and the Knesset is moving to do likewise.

The definition states that antisemitism is “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

The IHRA definition states that antisemitic examples include denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor, comparing Israel to Nazi Germany and leveling accusations against Jewish citizens of various countries that they are more loyal to Israel than to their own countries.

“It is clear that with the marked increase in antisemitism, especially in recent years, there is a need for a universally accepted definition of antisemitism,” said Sacha Roytman Dratwa, CEO of CAM. “We need to clearly delineate the borders of hate and incitement against Jews, because for too long it is the antisemites themselves who have defined them, and no other community would accept such a disturbing situation.”

“We see those who have already adopted the IHRA working definition of antisemitism as allies and insist that Jews should be allowed to define hatred against us, as other communities do. This is the only definition endorsed by the overwhelming majority of Jews and Jewish communities worldwide,” he added.

Professor Dina Porat, Founding Head of the Kantor Center and Academic advisor of Yad Vashem said that “The adoptions in 2021 demonstrates clearly that there is already a steady consensus building around the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, so we hope more and more countries and entities will join this year.”

“Without a universally accepted definition of antisemitism, the struggle against antisemitism is liable to be much more difficult to carry on,” Porat explained.

Overall, 37 countries, including most Western democracies, have adopted the definition — 28 IHRA member states, four IHRA observer states, and five nations unaffiliated with the IHRA.

The newest additions to this group in 2021 were Australia, Estonia, Guatemala, Poland, South Korea, and Switzerland, followed by the Philippines in 2022.

An additional 320 non-federal government entities, including regional, provincial, state, county, and municipal bodies have adopted the definition, with 39 doing so in 2021, and 13 so far in 2022. In Europe, this has included major national capitals, such as London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Vienna.

Activists have particularly called on social media platforms and news services to adopt IHRA to better address antisemitism in their spheres of work.

United With Israel staff contributed to this report.

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