The City Council of Bamberg, in the southern German state of Bavaria, recently unanimously adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.
“Ultimately, the IHRA definition is a very good regulatory tool for my work in order to classify antisemitism and thus to be able to fight it better,” said Patrick Nitzsche, the Bamberg municipality’s antisemitism commissioner, after the adoption. “It is an important step that the Bamberg City Council unanimously supported today. However, we all must not rest on our laurels.”
A total of 1,192 international institutions and organizations, national and local governments, NGOs, universities, athletic clubs, and corporations that have adopted or endorsed the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism as a non-legally binding framework for recognizing all modern-day iterations of Jew-hatred, training and educational programs, and policymaking initiatives.
Bamberg was the first city in Germany to appoint an antisemitism commissioner in January 2022. Both IHRA adoptions and appointing antisemitism commissioners are components of the six-point municipal action plan unveiled by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) at the Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism in Athens, Greece, last December, an event in which Nitzsche participated.
The plan includes the following courses of action:
— Appoint a coordinator responsible for liaising with the city’s Jewish community and organizing the municipal-level response to incidents of antisemitism.
— Adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism — the most authoritative, comprehensive, and widely-accepted tool used to delineate contemporary manifestations of antisemitism across the ideological spectrum.
— Allocate municipal resources for initiatives fostering interfaith tolerance, understanding, and harmony.
— Enforce a zero-tolerance policy for antisemitism, with municipal officials uniformly speaking out to condemn each and every local act of Jew-hatred.
— Devise an educational plan to train municipal staff and law enforcement personnel how to detect and react to all forms of antisemitism.
— Celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month and the European Day of Jewish Culture with annual municipal programming by highlighting the rich and storied history of the Jewish people in the U.S. and Europe and the positive contributions of Jews to American and European culture and society.
The Bamberg City Council is led by Lord Mayor Andreas Starke.
This coming Nov. 29-Dec. 1, the city of Dortmund, Germany, will host the 2023 European Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism.