The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday praised the International Holocaust
Remembrance Alliance, an association of 31 democratic countries dedicated to
perpetuating the memory of the Nazi genocide, for promulgating a new working
definition of Holocaust denial.
The working definition is not legally
binding, but has significant moral authority due to the composition of the IHRA.
It includes many of the world’s leading democracies as members and the United
Nations among its official observers.
Gideon Behar, the Foreign
Ministry’s point man on anti- Semitism and one of two Israeli delegates to the
body, told The Jerusalem Post the definition was important because it was the
first such document detailing what is considered acceptable by Western
democracies and ratified by an international body.
“It is important
because finally [we can refer] to it and say, yes there is a definition of
Holocaust denial,” he explained. “If you say that only two million Jews were
killed that is Holocaust denial according to this definition.”
president of Iran were to speak about the Holocaust, he continued, Western
nations could point to this document in their rebuttals.
According to the
IHRA, distortion of the Holocaust is defined as:
• “Intentional efforts to
excuse or minimize the impact of the Holocaust or its principal elements,
including collaborators and allies of Nazi Germany”
• “Gross minimization of the
murder of the victims of the Holocaust in contradiction to reliable sources”
“Attempts to blame the Jews for causing their own genocide”
• “Statements that
cast the Holocaust as a positive historical event” and
• “Attempts to blur the
responsibility for the establishment of concentration and death camps devised
and operated by Nazi Germany and putting blame on other nations or ethnic
“This is excellent, this is extremely important, because it
focuses on Holocaust distortion which is something that has developed rapidly in
the last few years and is posing a serious threat the Jewish narrative of the
Holocaust, especially in Eastern Europe,” Dr. Efraim Zuroff of the Simon
Wiesenthal Center, which contributed to the definition, told the
However, Zuroff said that “doesn’t specifically identify the
efforts to equate communism to Nazism as a form of Holocaust distortion,” an
oversight that he believes is problematic.