New Mexico adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism

The Israeli-American Coalition for Action (IAC for Action) applauded Grisham for her “groundbreaking executive order.”

Downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico (photo credit: DEBERNARDI/CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico
(photo credit: DEBERNARDI/CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)/VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order on Tuesday establishing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism as the state’s legal standard for determining when unlawful discriminatory conduct is motivated by antisemitism.

New Mexico is the first state to integrate the IHRA definition into law via executive order, and the sixth state overall to incorporate it into law. Florida, South Carolina, Iowa, Arizona and Tennessee enacted laws using the definition through legislation. Twenty-two other states (Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming) have endorsed the IHRA definition as an educational tool through resolutions or executive orders.

The Israeli-American Coalition for Action (IAC for Action) applauded Grisham for her “groundbreaking executive order.”

“All State agencies within the Executive Department of the State of New Mexico shall adopt and use the IHRA’s Working Definition of Antisemitism, including its contemporary examples,” the executive order stated.

“In reviewing, investigating or deciding whether there has been a violation of any relevant policy, law or regulation prohibiting discriminatory acts, state agencies shall take into consideration the definition for purposes of determining whether the alleged act was motivated by discriminatory antisemitic intent.”

 US President Joe Biden, visiting for a briefing on the wildfires plaguing the state, is greeted by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham upon his arrival in Albuquerque, New Mexico, US, June 11, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE) US President Joe Biden, visiting for a briefing on the wildfires plaguing the state, is greeted by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham upon his arrival in Albuquerque, New Mexico, US, June 11, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)

Most wildly accepted definition

The most widely accepted definition of antisemitism worldwide, the IHRA definition states that while not all criticism of Israel is antisemitic, some criticism can cross the line when delegitimizing, demonizing or applying double standards to Israel.

Some 865 governments and major public entities have endorsed the IHRA definition in recent years, including the US Education, Justice and State departments. Fifty-one of the 53 Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations members have also endorsed the definition.

“IAC for Action applauds Gov. Grisham for not only recognizing IHRA but for implementing it in order to ensure equal protections from discrimination for Jewish victims. We are grateful to see that Jewish and Israeli-Americans are not left to contend with incidents of antisemitic hatred alone,” said organization board chairman Shawn Evenhaim.

Evenhaim also thanked the organization StandWithUs “for their leading role in resourcing the governor with this effective policy model, which we expect to see utilized by governors and legislatures all around the country.”

Together with StandWithUs and legal experts, IAC for Action helped lead the development of this legislative model and helped implement its adoption in Florida, Iowa, South Carolina, Arizona and Tennessee.