Citing Rising Hate Crimes, Los Angeles City Council Unanimously Adopts IHRA Antisemitism Definition

The Los Angeles City Council chambers. Photo: Hillel Aron.

November 2, 2022

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved on Tuesday a resolution adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, which was also endorsed the same day by the Montgomery County Council in Maryland.

The Los Angeles resolution — introduced by Councilmember Paul Koretz and seconded by Councilmember Bob Blumenfield — said that hate crimes in California “increased 32 percent from 2020 to 2021 and are at their highest reported level since 2001.”

“The IHRA definition of antisemitism serves as an important tool for law enforcement, public officials, and community members to help identify, measure, monitor, and ultimately combat antisemitism,” it noted.

It went on to ask “City departments, staff, elected and appointed officials, and contract agencies to familiarize themselves with the IHRA definition of antisemitism, associated IHRA reference materials, examples, and articles, and incorporate their use where appropriate.”

Dillon Hosier — CEO of the Israeli-American Civic Action Network, a Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) partner organization which advocated for the resolution — stated, “In Los Angeles, we can do better when it comes to confronting the many manifestations of antisemitism that we’re seeing impact our Jewish communities. That’s why we applaud Councilmember Koretz’s leadership to have L.A. adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism, so that all Angelenos can be more aware of the many ways that hatred is expressed towards Jews and work together to make it stop.”

The resolution in Montgomery County, Maryland, called the the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism a “useful educational tool, among other resources, concerning the identification of discrimination rooted in antisemitism and for discussions to address such discrimination.”

“Montgomery County denounces and condemns antisemitism in all its manifestations,” it said.

“We are living in very, very dangerous times,” Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, was quoted as saying. “That just highlights the need for a repudiation of antisemitism.”

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.”

The definition’s accompanying list of examples details 11 specific discriminatory behaviors targeting Jews and the State of Israel.

A growing number of U.S. cities and states have adopted or endorsed the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism, a welcome trend promoted by CAM and monitored by CAM’s Antisemitism Research Center.

According to a study by CAM and the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, nearly 1,000 entities around the world — including international organizations, governing bodies, NGOs, universities, athletic clubs, and corporations, among other groups — have adopted the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism since 2016.