As a means of fighting anti-Semitism at home and abroad, the Biden administration has said it will adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kara McDonald stated in her address at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that, “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 anti-Semitism, with its real-world examples, is such an invaluable tool.”
She added that “As prior U.S. 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.”
The IHRA is the only intergovernmental organization mandated to focus solely on Holocaust-related issues, so with evidence that the scourge of antisemitism is once again on the rise, the organization resolved to take a leading role in combatting it. IHRA experts determined that in order to begin to address the problem of antisemitism, there must be clarity about what antisemitism is.
The definition adopted by the IHRA states, “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.”
Praising the Biden Administration for this move, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations CEO William Daroff and executive vice-chairman Malcolm Hoenlein said, “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.”