(June 27, 2019 / JNS) Members of the Jewish Agency board of governors, along with hundreds of Jewish community and organization representatives from all over the world, called on governments worldwide on Tuesday to adopt the widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance as part of combating increasing anti-Semitism over the last year.
The IHRA definition says: “Anti-Semitism 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.”
“We urge all world governments, international and national institutions, intergovernmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations to adopt and implement the definition as a tool and or as a means of education and enforcement against the hatred of the Jewish people worldwide,’’ stated a manifesto signed by Jewish community representatives.
The decision was made following a coordination and briefing meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on developments in the Jewish world. The meeting included the entire Jewish organizational leadership that’s part of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors, led by chairman Isaac Herzog, and World Zionist Organization chairman Avraham Duvdevani.
The meeting was held in the framework of the coordinating committee between the Government of Israel, and the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization; the prime minister was briefed on the latest data on the rising phenomena of anti-Semitism in different countries. The sides agreed during the meeting to strengthen cooperation between the Government of Israel and national institutions in the struggle against anti-Semitism.
“The virus of anti-Semitism is spreading at an alarming rate and is terrifying world Jewry,” said Herzog. “I call on the State of Israel to make the fight against anti-Semitism and the safety of Jews worldwide a top priority in light of the rise of anti-Semitism and violent incidents.”
“At the same time,” he continued, “the Jewish people, in Israel and the Diaspora, must overcome internal rifts and unite against this imminent threat which strikes daily. The Jewish Agency receives worrisome reports every day from communities under attack, and it’s just a matter of time before there are more casualties.”
World Zionist Organization vice and acting chairman Yakov Hagoel, who also serves as the chairman of the Jewish Agency’s Task Force on Anti-Semitism, which is behind the current initiative, said that recognizing these definitions are a necessity today.
“Anti-Semitism is a terrible disease—a spreading virus that threatens the safety of Jews,” he said. “It will stop at nothing and can rear its head under different and strange circumstances. For the first time in history, leaders from the Jewish world are banding together, here, in Jerusalem, our eternal capital, and declaring with one voice and one heart that anti-Semitism is a malignancy that must be fought by every means.”
He continued, “I call on the governments of the world, national and international institutions, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental institutions to adopt and implement the definition of anti-Semitism as a means for education and struggle against the phenomenon.”
The IHRA consists of 32 member states.
Canada’s government announced on Tuesday that it will formally adopt the IHRA definition as part of the country’s anti-racism initiative.