US Jewish leaders praise Biden for backing IHRA's anti-Semitism definition

Conference of Presidents commends Biden Administration for confirming it embraces IHRA Working Definition of anti-Semitism.

Ben Ariel ,

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations on Tuesday commended the Biden Administration for confirming that President Biden “embraces and champions” the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of anti-Semitism.

While addressing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kara McDonald stated, “We must educate ourselves and our communities to recognize anti-Semitism in its many forms, so that we can call hate by its proper name and take effective action. That is why the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism, with its real-world examples, is such an invaluable tool.”

“As prior US Administrations of both political stripes have done, the Biden Administration embraces and champions the working definition. We applaud the growing number of countries and international bodies that apply it. We urge all that haven’t done so to do likewise,” she added.

“We commend the Biden Administration’s robust and unqualified endorsement of the IHRA definition, which reflects the broad support that exists for the most authoritative and internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism, as well as the widespread view that it is critically important to define anti-Semitism in order to combat it successfully. This is especially essential at a time when acts of anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred are on the rise at home and abroad,” said Arthur Stark, Chairman, William Daroff, CEO, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Vice Chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

“Last week, the member organizations of the Conference of Presidents overwhelmingly adopted the IHRA definition and pledged to encourage others to do so as a key tool to combat antisemitism. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration to expand the growing list of countries, governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, sports leagues, universities, and religious groups around the world that have adopted the definition,” they added.

The IHRA working definition offers a comprehensive description of anti-Semitism in its various forms, including hatred and discrimination against Jews, Holocaust denial and, sometimes controversially, the way anti-Semitism relates to the ways criticism of Israel is expressed.

It has been adopted by a host of countries, including Albania, Germany, Britain, Austria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France, Cyprus and Argentina.

The government of Canada formally adopted IHRA definition of anti-Semitism in 2019 as part of its anti-racism strategy.

The Canadian province of Ontario adopted the IHRA definition this past October, becoming the first Canadian province to do so.