The Biden administration has confirmed they will continue to champion the IHRA working definition on anti-Semitism just as the Trump administration had done previously.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition was written in 2010, during President Obama’s first term in office, but was officially adopted by the US on 26 May 2016, during President Trump’s administration.
“As prior US administrations of both political stripes have done, the Biden Administration embraces and champions the [International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s] working definition [of anti-Semitism]. We applaud the growing number of countries and international bodies that apply it. We urge all that haven’t done so to do likewise,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Kara McDonald.
McDonald made the comments at an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe meeting, adding, “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 IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism, with its real-world examples, is such an invaluable tool.״
The IHRA definition 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.”
It also includes examples, some of which speak of Israel, including comparing Israel to the Nazis, calling Israel racist and applying a standard to Israel that isn’t applied to other countries, which are helpful in identifying where anti-Israel activity turns into anti-Semitism.
In 2019, President Trump signed an executive order calling on U.S. government departments to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits the federal funding of universities and other institutions that engage in discrimination based on race, colour and national origin, and will now also be applied to anti-Semitism. The executive order additionally stated that U.S. government agencies should “consider” adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.
CUFI founder and Chairman Pastor John Hagee attended the White House event as the President signed the order, said at the time:
“One cannot defeat that which they are unwilling to define. As such, advancing the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act has been CUFI’s top policy priority of the year. Through this executive order, President Trump will achieve what Congress could not bring themselves to do: take an important first step in combating the scourge of anti-Semitism that has spread across our nation,” Hagee said.
“Countries around the world adopted the IHRA’s definition while our leaders in Washington were too paralyzed to do so. I and CUFI’s 7 million members are very grateful to the President for his unequivocal stance on this vital issue,” Hagee added.