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Embrace IHRA antisemitism definition, 160 Jewish groups tell UN

“International efforts to fight antisemitism can only succeed if reflecting the actual realities faced by Jews today,” B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin.

Defining anti-Semitism. Credit: Lobroart/Shutterstock.
Defining anti-Semitism. Credit: Lobroart/Shutterstock.

A group of 160 Jewish organizations from 66 countries are urging the United Nations to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s working definition of antisemitism.

“While we are always seeking allies in the fight against antisemitism, it is important for Jewish communities and specialists in antisemitism—those who best know it, and have directly observed and experienced its manifestations—to guide the global response to hatred of Jews,” Daniel S. Mariaschin, CEO of B’nai B’rith International, told JNS.

With the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, European Jewish Congress, Jewish Federations of North America and World Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith is an organizer of the letter to the United Nations.

“International efforts to fight antisemitism can only succeed if reflecting the actual realities faced by Jews today,” Mariaschin said. “These are encompassed in the IHRA working definition.”

The signatories wrote in the letter that they have long recognized that understanding antisemitism is a prerequisite to combating it.

“Key to these efforts is employing a clear and comprehensive definition that explains the multiple forms antisemitism may take,” wrote the 160 organizations. “It is our collective view that the non-legally binding IHRA working definition of antisemitism is an indispensable tool to understand and fight antisemitism.”

In a press release, Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, stated that one cannot overemphasize the significance of the IHRA definition.

“It is the most widely adopted and accepted definition by governments, institutions and organizations around the world,” he said. “It’s essential to effectively combat antisemitism because it allows policymakers worldwide to identify and respond to all forms of Jew-hatred, including those that may be more subtle, but no less insidious.”

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