Jewish Congress Head Urges European Leaders To Adopt Definition Of Antisemitism

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European leaders should adopt the definition of antisemitism, agreed on last May by the Berlin-based International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and already adopted by the UK, European Jewish Congress (EJC) President Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor said Wednesday, speaking at the International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the European Parliament.

On May 26, 2016, the IHRA adopted the following working definition of antisemitism: “Antisemitism is 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.”

“I urge all European governments to follow the British Government’s lead and adopt this definition. The reason this is so essential is because for the first time it tells anti-Semites, your words and actions are illegal,” Kantor was quoted as saying by the Arutz Sheva news portal.

He stressed that the issue should be resolved as soon as possible as it would be an important step to give the Jewish people living in Europe a hope.

“Currently, in most of Europe, we have an absurd situation whereby antisemitism, unlike any other form of racism, is defined by the perpetrator and not the victim, as it should be. While some are trying to dampen or criticize the definition, let me make it clear that the only people who should be worried about the legalizing of this definition are anti-Semites,” Kantor added.

The call comes amid rise in a number of reported anti-Semitic incidents across Europe, in particular in Britain and Germany. On Sunday, Israel’s Diaspora Ministry released a report, revealing that the number of incidents in the United Kingdom increased by 62 percent in 2016 due to rise in far-right sympathies, triggered in particular by Brexit vote, while in Germany it doubled compared to 2015, reaching 267 cases.

In 2005, the United Nations designated January 27 as an International memorial day commemorating the victims of the genocide committed by the Nazi regime and it’s collaborators. The data coincides with the liberation of the largest Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau by Soviet troops in 1945.