The European Parliament on Thursday voted in favor of a resolution endorsing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, drawing praise from Jewish groups.
The IHRA formulated the definition last May amid concerns of rising antisemitism, in an effort to clamp down on discriminatory or prejudicial behavior that might fall between the cracks due to unclear or differing definitions of antisemitism.
Jewish groups had called on the European Parliament to support the adoption of the definition prior to the vote.
“We fundamentally believe that the absence of accepted definitions of antisemitism in the legislation of some member states and indeed, the European Union itself, acts as a major obstacle in addressing the real security concerns of our communities and thereby preventing the efficient use of resources by governments in their primary role to protect their citizens,” wrote representatives of Jewish communities in EU member states, led by EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor.
The IHRA definition adopted by the group’s 31 member countries reads: “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.”
The EJC letter notes that 24 EU states are members of the IHRA and therefore signatories to the IHRA definition.
“We believe that the affirmation by the European Parliament and the support of all its political groupings of this clear, recognized and effective tool in fighting the scourge of antisemitism will send an important message to those in our communities concerned for their security and their fundamental rights in Europe and be a facilitator for the important measures required both at the legislative and the practical security level for all member states to tackle antisemitism,” the signatories wrote.
In April, Austria became the third country to adopt the definition, after the UK and Israel.