Panama Foreign Min. Mencomo and OAS's Fernando Lottenberg
Panama Foreign Min. Mencomo and OAS's Fernando LottenbergCourtesy

The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) welcomed the Republic of Panama’s Tuesday adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, as Panama became the 42nd country to do so.

A ceremony was held to mark the occasion at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Panama City, with Panamanian Foreign Minister Janaina Tewaney Mencomo and Organization of American States (OAS) Commissioner to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Fernando Lottenberg among the participating dignitaries.

Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo was represented at the event by Minister of the Presidency José Simpson Polo.

In a tweet, Lottenberg noted that Panama was the seventh nation in the Americas to adopt the IHRA antisemitism, calling it a milestone in the fight against racism and discrimination.

The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), which organized the Central America-Israel Forum II that was hosted by Panama last year, welcomed the adoption.

“This is an important step taken by the Panamanian Government, and one which will be vital in fighting antisemitism and hate,” said CEO of CAM Sacha Roytman Dratwa. “Acceptance of the IHRA definition is continuing apace globally; almost a quarter of all nations have now accepted and adopted it, with hopefully more on the way.”

“We are delighted and grateful that the Republic of Panama has adopted IHRA, fulfilling its pledge at last year’s Central America-Israel Forum and continuing to lead in the fight against antisemitism in the region,” said Director of Hispanic Outreach at CAM Shay Salamon, who has been working very closely with Panama on this issue. “We are continuing to work in Latin America, where there is a growing understanding of the necessity in fighting antisemitism to create a safer society, free of all forms of hate and discrimination.”

The final plank of the joint declaration issued at the end of that forum, which was held at the Latin American Parliament, or Parlatino, in Panama City, read, “We affirm that antisemitism is an increasing ill in societies across the globe and support the use of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, agreed upon by the European Commission and the United States, among many other leading international entities. This definition allows for anti-Jewish prejudice to be clearly defined in its modern-day forms, helping law enforcement to handle it appropriately and justly.”

According to data compiled by the CAM Antisemitism Research Center, a total of 1,192 entities worldwide had adopted or endorsed the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism as of the end of June. This number represents a broad array of international institutions and organizations, national and local governments, NGOs, universities, athletic clubs, and corporations that have embraced the definition as a framework for recognizing all contemporary iterations of Jew-hatred, training and educational programs, and policymaking initiatives.