2023 Gets Underway With Series of New IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism Adoptions

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) logo.

January 26, 2023

Recent weeks have seen a series of new adoptions of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, marking a strong start to the new year, following a 2022 that saw a total of 91 adoptions and endorsements worldwide.

The latest adoptees include the country of Croatia; cities of Kansas City, Missouri, and Florence, Italy; Westchester County in New York; and the University of Melbourne in Australia.

A comprehensive data report published earlier this month by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) and Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University found that a total of 1,116 entities across the globe had adopted or endorsed the definition as of the end of 2022.

The non-legally binding definition includes 11 explanatory examples detailing specific discriminatory behaviors targeting Jews.

Croatia — which will assume the chair of the IHRA Presidency for a one-year term in March — is the 40th country to adopt the definition.

The University of Melbourne is the first institution of higher education in Australia to adopt the definition.

“This sends a message to all Jewish students around the country that our voices are being heard,” the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) stated “The University’s anti-racism commitment will go a long way to fostering an inclusive and thriving campus experience for all minority groups.”

Westchester County, Kansas City, and Florence joined the nearly 500 non-national governmental entities that have adopted or endorsed the definition.

Kansas City is the first U.S. municipality to adopt the definition in 2023, following a year in which Los Angeles, Washington, D.C, El Paso, Tacoma, and Wichita did the same.

“In recent meetings with leaders of the Jewish Community in Westchester County as well as at numerous community events, we have discussed the disturbing increase in acts and expressions of antisemitism,” Westchester County Executive George Lattimer said. “It is very important to me that all County residents speak forcefully and with one voice in denouncing these acts.”

The Kansas City adoption resolution — sponsored by Mayor Quinton Lucas and Councilmember Andrea Bough — called the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism “an important educational tool” to address Jew-hatred.

The IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism says, “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.”