More than 1,000 global entities adopted IHRA definition of antisemitism

In the United States, 18 new states in 2022 adopted it via legislation or executive actions, bringing the number of states adopting the definition to 30.

American and Israeli Jews [Illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS)
American and Israeli Jews [Illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS)

As of the end of December 2022, a total of 1,116 global entities have adopted and endorsed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition of Antisemitism. In the United States, during 2022, 18 states adopted it via legislation or executive actions, bringing the total number of adopting states to 30. Seven out of 10 Canadian provinces have adopted the definition as well. US cities such as Los Angeles, Washington, El Paso and Wichita, Kansas, have also all adopted the IHRA definition.

Since the Working Definition of Antisemitism was adopted by the alliance in 2016, it has become the most widely-recognized barometer in the collective effort against Jew-hatred, serving as an essential tool to identify and delineate all contemporary manifestations of this age-old bigotry.

Many international institutions and organizations recognize IHRA definition

A diverse array of international institutions and organizations, national and local governments, NGOs, universities, athletic clubs and corporations are now using it as a framework for recognizing modern-day iterations of antisemitism, training and educational programs, and policymaking initiatives.

Some additions to the growing list of those adopting the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism are the Philippines, Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vancouver, British Columbia, Tuscany, Italy, City University of New York, University of Pittsburgh, the Florida Democratic Party and Lufthansa Airlines.

American Jews marching in New York with Israeli flags. How can we bridge the divide between Israel and the Diaspora? (credit: REUTERS)American Jews marching in New York with Israeli flags. How can we bridge the divide between Israel and the Diaspora? (credit: REUTERS)

Notably, with antisemitism on the rise and increasingly becoming mainstream in the US, many more American cities and states have adopted the IHRA definition at a critical turning point and as a first step in taking serious action against Jew hatred.

“Support for the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism transcends the political and ideological spectrum and unites entities and individuals of a broad swathe of religious, national and cultural backgrounds,” said Sacha Roytman Dratwa, CEO of the Combat Antisemitism Movement.

“The surpassing of the 1,000 milestone from a previous report compiled by CAM is a telling indicator of the far-reaching impact and influence of the definition and its accompanying 11 explanatory examples of prejudiced and discriminatory behavior against Jews,” he said. “While the rise in antisemitic incidents has been alarming, the tidal wave of global support for the Jewish people is undeniable and greatly encouraging.”

Prof. Dina Porat, a CAM advisory board member and the Alfred P. Slaner Chairperson for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University, said the number of countries and entities that have adopted the IHRA definition is a “significant phenomenon,” which has gained momentum in recent years,” and “pinpoints the definition as a major tool in the contemporary struggle against antisemitism.”

According to the CAM report, the largest category for new adoptions and endorsements in 2022 were non-federal government entities, including municipalities, counties and state and provincial governments, with 58 in total, including 32, or 55% of them, in the US.

Dratwa noted that “local authorities and law enforcement agencies under their jurisdiction have a crucial role to play in confronting antisemitism where it is most directly felt – on the streets of the communities where Jews live their day-to-day lives.”

The business sector, though, is an important area with “room for growth” in utilizing the IHRA definition, Dratwa said.

Taking an additional step, President Joe Biden’s administration – which has said it “enthusiastically embraces” the IHRA definition – announced in December the creation of an inter-agency task force to develop a “national strategy to counter antisemitism.”

CAM has asked for all entities that adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism to “report the adoptions to CAM,” via email: [email protected], “so they can be included in future data.”