31 countries adopt broader anti-Semitism definition

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31 countries adopt broader anti-Semitism definition

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance decided to adopt the European definition after 'in-depth discussion'

Swastikas daubed on graves
Swastikas daubed on graves

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance has adopted a broader ‘Working Definition’ of anti-Semitism, saying it needs “political tools to fight the scourge”.

The intergovernmental organisation, comprising 31 member nations, adopted the European definition after “in-depth discussion” during plenary meetings in Bucharest last week.

The EUMC Working Definition is increasingly used by European law enforcement officers because it gives examples of the kind of behaviour which may constitute anti-Semitism, including references to Israel.

Sir Eric Pickles, UK Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues and head of the UK delegation to the IHRA, said: “I’m delighted… We can [now] step up our efforts in the fight against anti-Semitism internationally.”

Romanian chairman Mihnea Constantinescu said: “All share concern that incidents of anti-Semitism are steadily rising and agree that IHRA’s Member Countries and indeed IHRA’s experts need political tools with which to fight this scourge.”

Constantinescu explained that 24 of the 31 states were EU member countries, so were committed to the Stockholm Declaration and “thereby to fighting the evil of anti-Semitism through coordinated international political action”.

He added: “By adopting this working definition, the IHRA is setting an example of responsible conduct for other international fora and hopes to inspire them also to take action on a legally binding working definition.”

The organisation, which focuses on education, research and remembrance of the Holocaust, also adopted the Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion, which it described as “another tool in the kit”.

Mark Weitzman, Chair of the IHRA Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, said: “In order to begin to address the problem of anti-Semitism, there must be clarity about what antisemitism actually is. This is not a simple question.”

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