Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Combat Antisemitism Movement Encouraged by More Than 1,000 Governing Bodies and Organizations Adopting IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism A total of 30 U.S. states – including 18 in 2022 – and 56 U.S. cities and counties have adopted the most widely-recognized definition of Jew-hatred.
New York City | January 18, 2023 08:34 AM Eastern Standard Time
As of the end of December 2022, a total of 1,116 global entities have adopted and endorsed the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism. In 2022 alone, 91 new adoptions and endorsements were reported. And in the United States, 18 new states adopted it via legislation or executive actions in 2022, bringing the total number of states adopting this definition of antisemitism to 30. With that, 7 out of 10 Canadian provinces have now adopted the definition as well. U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., El Paso, and Wichita have all signed on too.
Since the Working Definition of Antisemitism was adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in 2016, it has become the most widely-recognized barometer in the collective effort against Jew-hatred, serving as an essential tool to identify and delineate all contemporary manifestations of this age-old bigotry. A diverse array of international institutions and organizations, national and local governments, NGOs, universities, athletic clubs, and corporations are now using it as a framework for recognizing modern-day iterations of antisemitism, training and educational programs, and policymaking initiatives. Notably, with antisemitism on the rise and increasingly becoming mainstream in the U.S., many more U.S. cities and states have adopted the IHRA definition at a critical turning point, and as a first step in taking serious action against Jew-hatred.
“Support for the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism transcends the political and ideological spectrum, and unites entities and individuals of a broad swathe of religious, national, and cultural backgrounds,” said Sacha Roytman Dratwa, CEO of the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM). “The surpassing of the 1,000 milestone from a previous report compiled by the Combat Antisemitism Movement is a telling indicator of the far-reaching impact and influence of the definition and its accompanying 11 explanatory examples of prejudiced and discriminatory behavior against Jews. While the rise in antisemitic incidents has been alarming, the tidal wave of global support for the Jewish people is undeniable and greatly encouraging.”
"This significant adoption phenomenon, which has gained momentum in recent years, pinpoints the Working Definition of Antisemitism as a major tool in the contemporary struggle against antisemitism,” added Professor Dina Porat, a CAM Advisory Board member and the Alfred P. Slaner Chair for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University. “Its adoption by a host of varied entities reflects a wish to stand up against an old evil and newer ones, as part of a global effort to improve the international arena."
In December, CAM assembled a “Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism” in Athens, Greece, where they fostered a conversation on the most effective ways to deal with antisemitic bigotry and violence among more than 50 municipal leaders from around the world, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams. In a year that began with the hostage situation at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, and then concluded with the Kanye West controversy, major North American cities are following in the footsteps of European capitals such as London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna in adopting the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.
The largest category for new adoptions and endorsements in 2022 were non-federal government entities, including municipalities, counties, state and provincial governments, with 58 in total, including 32, or 55%, in the U.S.
“Local authorities and law enforcement agencies under their jurisdiction have a crucial role to play in confronting antisemitism where it is most directly felt – on the streets of the communities where Jews live their day-to-day lives,” Roytman Dratwa noted.
The business sector, though, is an important area with “room for growth” in utilizing the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism, Roytman Dratwa went on to say.
“The fallout from scandals involving celebrities such as Kanye West and Kyrie Irving underscored why companies must have the means to properly identify and react to expressions of antisemitism,” said Roytman Dratwa. “Both West and Irving lost lucrative endorsement deals with the likes of Adidas and Nike over their antisemitic rhetoric and behavior. Meanwhile, the ongoing explosion of online antisemitism, particularly on social media, highlights the need for major platforms to enact stricter policies for the detection, monitoring, and removal of hateful content, as well as the banning of purveyors of bigotry, like West.”
Included in the growing list of IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism adoptions are nations, cities, universities, NGOs, and corporations such as:
- The Philippines
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- Tuscany, Italy
- City University of New York
- University of Pittsburgh
- The Florida Democratic Party
- Lufthansa Airlines
Taking an additional step, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration – which has said it “enthusiastically embraces” the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism – announced in December the creation of an inter-agency task force to develop a “national strategy to counter antisemitism.”
All entities that adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism are invited to report the adoptions to the Combat Antisemitism Movement via email – firstname.lastname@example.org – so they can be included in future data.
The full 2022 IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism Adoptions and Endorsements Report is available here.
The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) is a global coalition engaging more than 600 partner organizations and nearly two million people from a diverse array of religious, political, and cultural backgrounds in the common mission of fighting the world’s oldest hatred. CAM acts collaboratively to build a better future, free of bigotry, for Jews and all humanity.