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Analysis / Interpretation / Press

Calling Campuses to Adopt IHRA’s Definition of Antisemitism

Times of Israel

NOV 2, 2020, 12:36 PM

By: Ilan Sinelnikov the founder and president of the national Students Supporting Israel movement

The SSI movement has set itself an important goal this academic year. The national movement and its chapters are working on promoting the official adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism by student governments, academic departments, and school deans. For years, our community has been struggling to come up with ways to combat the rising antisemitism on campuses. At SSI, we believe that a proactive approach to fighting antisemitism is crucial, and so SSI’s campaign #DEFINEittoFIGHTit was born. We begin with asking academic institutions to formally define antisemitism.

IHRA, an intergovernmental organization founded in 1998, developed a working definition of antisemitism and formally adopted its definition in 2016. Since then it has been adopted by The United States Department of State, 29 countries, and various international bodies. According to IHRA’s website, in attempting to take a leading role in combatting the rise in antisemitism, the organization’s experts realized that, “first there must be clarity about what antisemitism is.” We at SSI, unequivocally agree with this statement.

The IHRA working definition describes antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” In addition to the definition itself, IHRA goes into listing multiple examples of situations that can be considered antisemitic and fall under its definition, which is a very helpful way to increase understanding and create a consensus about what is or is not antisemitic.

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