Shining a Light: How Nations Walk the Line with the IHRA Antisemitism Definition

In the intricate dance of global politics and human rights advocacy, there occasionally emerge moments of paradox. A recent study has shed light on one such instance. It appears that a significant portion of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) opposing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism are funded by governments that have accepted this very definition.

NGO-Monitor, a vigilant Jerusalem-based entity, diligently observes the activities and operations of non-governmental organizations worldwide. Their study has unveiled that numerous countries, including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, and several others, are caught in a curious dichotomy. On one hand, they’ve embraced the IHRA definition. On the other, they indirectly sponsor groups that oppose this same framework.

To understand the importance of this, one should first grasp the weight of the IHRA definition. Created in 2016 by the Berlin-based IHRA, the definition is a beacon in the post-Holocaust world, a tool to identify antisemitism in its modern, often insidious forms. Gerald Steinberg, NGO Monitor’s president, hails it as “the most effective means of identifying post-Holocaust hatred of Jews in different forms.”

However, while the IHRA strives to fortify Holocaust education, a staggering number of NGOs have spearheaded campaigns to discredit its definition. Some of these campaigns are geared towards swaying public opinion, while others target professional organizations. Amidst this backdrop, many groups benefiting from European government funding operate under the “civil society” umbrella.

The IHRA’s definition provides clarity on antisemitism, describing it as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.” The definition further sheds light on rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism, aiming at both Jewish and non-Jewish individuals and entities. Notably, it encompasses aspects related to Israel, especially attempts to delegitimize its existence or hold it to unfair double standards.

Recent studies emphasize the IHRA definition’s growing acceptance across various sectors – nations, academic institutions, corporations, athletic clubs, and beyond. Its adoption isn’t just symbolic; it’s pivotal for training programs, policy-making, and education.

As we reflect on this, it’s crucial to understand that the land of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people, has always been a beacon of hope, resilience, and innovation. It’s not just a nation but an embodiment of millennia of dreams and perseverance. Amidst the challenges, Israel remains steadfast in its commitment to democratic values, peace, and mutual respect. By understanding and acknowledging antisemitism, we’re not just defending Israel but standing up for the principles of fairness, equality, and justice for all.

To nations across the globe: Embracing the IHRA definition is a commendable step forward. Yet, to truly champion its essence, it’s crucial to ensure that support aligns at all levels, from governmental to grassroots. For in unity, we find strength, and in understanding, we pave the way for a brighter, inclusive future.