Ohio State adopts the IHRA definition of antisemitism

In Executive Order 2022-06D, called “Defining and Combating Antisemitism”, Governor DeWine encouraged “all federal and local governments and governmental agencies and entities to adopt it as well.”

International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (photo credit: Courtesy)
International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
(photo credit: Courtesy)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered all state agencies, departments, boards and commissions, including all public colleges and universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism on Thursday.

In Executive Order 2022-06D, called “Defining and Combating Antisemitism,” Governor DeWine encouraged “all federal and local governments and governmental agencies and entities to adopt it as well.”

The executive order was passed because of the rise of antisemitism in the US. The governor said that antisemitism is a “disturbing problem in American society, including here in Ohio.”

“Jews continue to be a targeted minority in the United States and are, according to FBI statistics and other reporting, consistently the most likely of all religious groups to be victimized by incidents of hate,” he said, “and such incidents are increasing at an alarming rate.”

The IHRA, by consensus vote of its member states, adopted a Working Definition of Antisemitism in May 2016, which has become the internationally recognized, authoritative definition for use by governments and international organizations.

 Ohio state flag (credit: Wikimedia Commons) Ohio state flag (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“Ohio has seen several domestic terrorism plots targeting the Jewish community,

including one in Toledo in December 2018 and another in Youngstown in August 2019, for which the terrorists are now serving prison sentences,” the order states.

“It continues to be the policy of my administration to prohibit unlawful and inappropriate discriminatory practices in state government and to ensure that all state government employees have employment opportunities based upon their talent, skill, dedication, merit, and fitness for the job,” the governor said.

“Nothing in this order shall be construed to diminish or infringe upon any rights protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or the State Constitution. Nothing in this order shall be construed to conflict with local, federal, or state discrimination laws.”

DeWine’s decision will expire ten calendar days after his last day as governor unless it is rescinded before then.Eight Jewish Federations in Ohio congratulated DeWine, saying that he has “repeatedly given his personal commitment to our community on combating hate, especially Jew-hatred. His issuance of today’s Executive Order defining antisemitism is the latest step.

“Together with his powerful letter to college and university presidents in December on making the campus safe for Jewish students, faculty and staff, Ohio leads the way in facing this ancient hatred head-on. We are grateful for his leadership.”

The federations said that “Sadly, statistics bear out that antisemitism is on the rise in Ohio, nationally, and throughout the world, including recent incidents at The Ohio State University and a frightening arrest of a security guard who was betraying the very Jewish institutions in Central Ohio he was supposedly protecting.

FBI hate crimes statistics bear out this trend, with nearly 55% of religiously motivated hate crimes in the US targeting Jews, despite being only 2% of the population.

“Both Hillel and ADL statistics also show a rise in anti-Jewish hate on campus, with Hillel showing an astonishing 178 incidents in 2019-20, in a year when many campuses were shut down for months due to the pandemic.”