As antisemitism continues to rise nationwide, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed into law a bill making the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism the state’s official definition of anti-Jewish bias and discrimination.
IHRA definition of antisemitism
The IHRA definition of antisemitism recognizes that while not all criticism of Israel is inherently antisemitic, some criticisms can cross the line into antisemitism when delegitimizing, demonizing or applying double standards to Israel. The definition also addresses the antisemitic nature of attacks against Jewish individuals or institutions that attribute to all Jews collective guilt for real or perceived actions by Israel.
In addition to Arkansas, 27 state governments have adopted or endorsed the IHRA definition, the most widely accepted legal standard for antisemitism internationally.
More than 1,000 government entities and NGOs have endorsed the IHRA definition in recent years, including the US State Department, Education Department and Justice Department. It has also been endorsed by 51 of the 53 member organizations of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.
The Los Angeles-based Israeli-American Council (IAC) and its legislative and policy-making sister organization, the Israeli-American Coalition for Action (IAC for Action), praised the Arkansas bill.
“By acting today, Arkansas is helping generate a nationwide movement of states protecting their citizens against anti-Jewish bias and hatred.”Shawn Evenhaim, chair of the Israeli-American Coalition for Action
“We applaud Arkansas for taking a bold stand against antisemitic and national origin discrimination,” IAC for Action chairman Shawn Evenhaim said. “By acting today, Arkansas is helping generate a nationwide movement of states protecting their citizens against anti-Jewish bias and hatred.”
IAC for Action executive director Joe Sabag said: “It was an honor to help lead the drafting and passage of this bill. Arkansas’ bill takes the strongest possible approach in combating antisemitic crime and discrimination. This new law should be considered a model for all other states moving forward.
“We extend our sincere thanks to Gov. Huckabee for swiftly signing this bill into law. We also thank Rep. Mindy McAlindon for her sponsorship and strong advocacy in the House. Lastly, we thank Sen. Jim Dotson, the primary bill sponsor, for his tireless leadership in combating antisemitism and supporting Israel. Sen. Dotson’s legislative record clearly shows that he is among the most important of all American legislators supporting our community’s public policy needs.”
William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents, on Monday told The Jerusalem Post: “Coming on the heels of the US Supreme Court’s affirmation of the constitutionality of anti-BDS laws, the adoption of the IHRA definition by the State of Arkansas reflects the broad support that exists for the most authoritative and internationally accepted definition of antisemitism.”