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Biden will 'champion' IHRA

Lord Mann says it is 'very reassuring' we have an American President who 'understands importance' of tackling antisemitism

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President Joe Biden "embraces and champions" the internationally recognised working definition of antisemitism, a  senior State Department official has confirmed.

Addressing the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe conference the  Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Kara McDonald confirmed: "As prior US administrations of both political stripes have done, the Biden administration embraces and champions the working definition.

"We must educate ourselves and our communities to recognise antisemitism 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 (IHRA) working definition of antisemtism, with its real-world examples, is such an invaluable tool."

Speaking at the event, which is a security umbrella for Western nations, the State Department official added: "We applaud the growing number of countries and international bodies that apply it,” she said. “We urge all that haven’t done so to do likewise.”

Ms McDonald said President Biden and Secretary (Antony) Blinken, "whose family includes two Holocaust survivors, need no convincing that we must take deadly seriously the violence that often accompanies antisemitism and the dangerous lies that undergird it."

She added: "During this past year, outrageous conspiracy theories have proliferated, falsely blaming Jews for creating, deliberately spreading, and profiting from COVID-19.  

"It is our collective duty to oppose those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes, employing antisemitic tropes to promote their warped agendas or for their political gain.  

"Attempts continue in this region to rehabilitate long-dead antisemites and vicious nationalists and hold them up as heroes to new generations.

"We must reject every effort to deny, distort, or diminish the indisputable fact of the Holocaust."

Her comments were welcomed by others speaking at the conference, including the UK government's own antisemitism adviser Lord John Mann.

The non-affiliated life peer told the JC: “It is very reassuring that we have an American President  who understands the importance of tackling antisemitism as I am certain he does for all hatreds. White suprematist antisemites are a growing threat across America and IHRA will help in taking them on.”

Ms McDonald confirmed that President Biden is yet to nominate an antisemitism envoy.

But she said: "Until a new envoy is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, it will be my honour to ensure that the State Department loses no opportunity to advance our work on this compelling issue."

In January, a group of left-wing Jewish and Israeli groups known as the Progressive Israel Network issued a statement in opposition to adopting the definition, claiming that doing so would silence criticism of Israel. 

The JC previously revealed how all three of President Biden's children married Jewish spouses.

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