German airline Lufthansa has announced it adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, becoming the first airline group globally to adopt the definition.
The airline made the announcement in a statement posted to its website on Thursday.
“I speak with conviction when I say: there is no room for antisemitism, discrimination and racism of any kind in society, nor in the Lufthansa Group,” Lufthansa Group Executive Board Member Christina Foerster, stated at a ceremony in Washington D.C. commemorating the adoption of the definition, which is guiding countries and corporations globally.
With the adoption of the IHRA definition, the Lufthansa Group reinforces the Group’s global engagement against all forms of racist, xenophobic and antisemitic behavior, it said.
“Fundamental to standing against antisemitism is understanding what it is and how it manifests, both in overt forms and through unconscious bias. The IHRA definition recognizes all of this - that is its distinct strength,” noted Foerster.
The meaningful event brought together government officials from the US, Germany, and Israel as well as leaders from the American Jewish community. Foerster further announced the collaboration between the Lufthansa Group and the American Jewish Committee to develop further corporate sensitivity trainings.
The IHRA working definition offers a comprehensive description of antisemitism in its various forms, including hatred and discrimination against Jews, Holocaust denial and, sometimes controversially, the way antisemitism relates to the ways criticism of Israel is expressed.
More than half the states in the US have adopted or endorsed the IHRA definition, plus the District of Columbia, either as legislation or as an educational standard.
The IHRA definition of antisemitism has also been adopted by a host of countries, including Albania, Australia, Canada, Germany, Britain, Austria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, France, Cyprus and Argentina.
Lufthansa’s adoption of the definition comes several months after it came under fire when it banned all Jews from taking a flight, after it accused several Jewish passengers of not wearing masks during the previous leg of the flight, with an airline rep saying in a video, “It was Jewish people who made the mess, Jewish people made the problem.”
Lufthansa apologized for the incident and its CEO later spoke to the Chief Rabbi of Berlin, Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal, to make clear there is no room for antisemitism in the airline.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Friday praised Lufthansa for adopting the IHRA definition.
"We commend Lufthansa for formally adopting the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, including all of its examples, and for standing firmly against antisemitism, discrimination, and racism of all kinds,” said Dianne Lob, Chair, and William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents.
"Lufthansa is the first airline to adopt the definition, joining 37 nations, including the United States and German government, as well as hundreds of companies, academic institutions, local governments, NGOs, and other entities in their support of the most authoritative and internationally accepted definition of antisemitism. Defining antisemitism is an essential step to effectively combatting it.”
"The Conference has been directly engaged in critical discussions with Lufthansa Group about antisemitism, education, and the importance of the IHRA definition since May 2022. We participated in a poignant ceremony in Washington, D.C., featuring Lufthansa senior officials, Israeli Ambassador Michael Herzog, German Ambassador Emily Haber, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, and Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism, Dr. Felix Klein.”
"Lufthansa Group’s plans to integrate the guidance of the IHRA definition into their employee training and applying it to standard company operations is commendable. We strongly encourage other airlines and corporations to follow in adopting the IHRA definition as a key instrument in the global fight against antisemitism and its many manifestations."
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)