Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry
IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism (2016)
Working Definition of Antisemitism
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) adopts a working definition of antisemitism on 26 May.
The consensus decision on the adopted decision was reached after in-depth discussion of the issue during the IHRA Plenary meetings held in Bucharest from 23-26 May.
IHRA Chair, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, stated:
“All IHRA Member Countries share concern that incidents of antisemitism are steadily rising and agree that IHRA’s Member Countries and indeed IHRA’s experts need political tools with which to fight this scourge. IHRA’s 31 member countries- 24 of which are EU member countries- are committed to the Stockholm Declaration and thereby to fighting the evil of antisemitism through coordinated international political action.”
The IHRA Chair continued: “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 Chair underlined the fact that as a body of 31 Member Countries, ten Observer Countries, and seven international partner organisations, with a unique mandate to focus on education, research and remembrance of the Holocaust, the IHRA was the appropriate body to adopt a working definition of antisemitism. The IHRA Chair noted the fundamental role that the German OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office played in facilitating the adoption of the working definition.
Mark Weitzman, Chair of the IHRA Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, which proposed the adoption of the definition in 2015, said: “In order to begin to address the problem of antisemitism, there must be clarity about what antisemitism actually is. This is not a simple question. The adopted working definition helps provide guidance in answer to this challenging question. Crucially, the definition adopted by the IHRA is endorsed by experts, is relevant and is of practical applicability. Together with the IHRA adopted Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion, the working definition of antisemitism provides another tool in the IHRA tool kit for combatting antisemitism.”
The IHRA held its first bi-annual Plenary meeting under the Romanian Chairmanship from 23-26 May 2016 in Bucharest where over four days around 200 experts and policymakers from all over the world met to discuss the Holocaust as a contemporary political issue.
The IHRA’s Committee on Holocaust Denial and Antisemitism was set up in order to form a common approach to address the upsurge in antisemitism and Holocaust denial and trivialization. The Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial is tasked with assessing the situation and submitting to the Plenary annual recommendations on measures to be taken to fight antisemitism in all its different forms.
IHRA is a unique intergovernmental organization which places political and social leaders’ support behind the need for Holocaust education, remembrance and research both nationally and internationally.