update deskAntisemitism

‘Tragic error,’ 11 groups say of only partial White House IHRA embrace 

“Jewish members of Congress should know better,” the Jewish groups wrote to Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, addresses a General Assembly plenary meeting. U.N. Photo/Loey Felipe.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, addresses a General Assembly plenary meeting. U.N. Photo/Loey Felipe.

Eleven U.S. Jewish organizations sent a letter on July 7 to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, urging her to publicly embrace the leading definition of antisemitism.  

The missive to Linda Thomas-Greenfield sought to counter a letter addressed to her in late June by left-wing Democrats which applauded the Biden administration for failing to codify the application of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism across the whole of government. 

The White House “embraced” the IHRA definition in its national plan to fight antisemitism released last month, but did not fully endorse it to the exclusion of other definitions preferred by those who wish to be freer in singling Israel out for criticism and applying double standards.

Last week’s letter to Thomas-Greenfield calls the decision “a tragic error,” adding that “Jewish members of Congress should know better.”  

Representatives of CASEPAC, StopAntisemitism, Israel Heritage Foundation, Club Z, The Endowment for Middle East Truth, Baltimore Zionist District, Coalition for Jewish Values, Republican Jewish Coalition, Students Supporting Israel, Jewish Policy Center and Jewish Leadership Project signed the letter.

It urges Thomas-Greenfield to publicly embrace the IHRA definition “as part of your previous commitments to combat the scourge of antisemitism at the United Nations and beyond.”

Thomas-Greenfield’s boss, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, claimed at the outset of the Biden administration that it “enthusiastically” embraced IHRA, and the United States is one of 36 IHRA member countries.

Thomas-Greenfield has largely lived up to promises to support Israel at the United Nations, leveraging Washington’s veto power on the U.N. Security Council and its influence in the General Assembly on a number of matters.

Last month, the United Nations postponed a scheduled meeting with Jewish organizations to develop a plan to monitor and combat antisemitism after it became clear the U.N. draft plan was not acceptable or workable in its current form.

The meeting has been rescheduled for September. It was unclear at the time of the postponement whether the State Department planned to participate.

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