Marcus Dysch

Antisemitic hate as been defined - and that's official

The governments adoption of an official definition of antisemitism has been welcomed by the Jewish community.

December 16, 2016 15:41

Announcing the move on Monday, Theresa May said she wanted people to be clearer about what constituted Jew-hatred. Downing Street believes an agreed interpretation will enable action to be taken more effectively against perpetrators.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition, agreed at a conference of more than 30 countries in Bucharest in May, 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.”

Mrs May said: “It is unacceptable that there is antisemitism in this country. It is even worse that incidents are reportedly on the rise. As a government we are making a real difference and adopting this measure is a ground-breaking step.

“There will be one definition of antisemitism — in essence, language or behaviour that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews — and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it.”

Examples of antisemitism given by the IHRA include justifying harming Jews in the name of radical ideology, or making demonising or stereotypical allegations about Jews such as alluding to control of the media or the economy.

Other examples covered in the definition include denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, such as claiming the state of Israel is a “racist endeavour”, comparing Israeli policy to the Nazis, accusing diaspora Jews of being more loyal to Israel than their own countries, or claiming Jews have exaggerated the Holocaust.

The government will introduce two caveats to the IHRA’s document, to ensure non-antisemitic criticism of the Israeli government can continue.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis saluted “the government’s commitment to tackling the scourge of antisemitism in our society”. His words were echoed by the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council, Community Security Trust and other groups.

December 16, 2016 15:41

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