Israel’s Knesset on Wednesday approved a proposal to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism. The vote passed by 33 to 5, according to the Knesset website.

The motion was submitted by Knesset member Zvi Hauser (New Hope).

The IHRA definition defines a variety of anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions, including Holocaust denial, denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination, and drawing comparisons between contemporary Israeli policies to those of Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

The IHRA definition states that manifestations of anti-Jewish prejudice “might include the targeting of the State of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for ‘why things go wrong.’ It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.”

“The Knesset made history today, and is joining more than 1,000 parliaments, governments, local councils and organizations around the world that have adopted the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism,” said Knesset speaker Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) following the vote.

“This is another step in the Knesset’s fight, as the legislature of the Jewish state, against anti-Semitism in all its ugly forms,” he added.

“It’s time that expressions of anti-Semitism, in the guise of criticism of the State of Israel, be defined as such. It cannot be that a position expressing double standards against the State of Israel, or a position that revokes the Jewish people’s right to self-determination, will be legitimate positions in the international discourse,” he concluded.


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