January 14, 2021
The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement today welcomed the decision by the Academy of Sciences of Albania to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism. The Academy is Albania’s most important scientific institution.
The definition agreed by IHRA, an inter-governmental organization including 34 member countries, is an internationally agreed classification of anti-Semitism. Not only is it a clear, succinct statement, but also an effective tool with which to measure and counter anti-Semitism.
The Academy of Sciences confirmed the decision in a letter addressed to Robert Singer, Senior Advisor to the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement and Chairman of the Center for Jewish Impact and Noah Gal Gendler, Israel’s Ambassador to Albania. In the letter, the Academy said it “reconfirms its attitude on the historical crimes committed against Jews during the Shoah (Holocaust)” and stated that “the inhumane acts they suffered during World War II, due to racism are not a phenomena belonging to history, but it appears in a form of a danger reviving collective crimes and racism, ethnic, religious and cultural hatred.”
The Academy said that as an institution which has historically promoted study of the Holocaust and its lessons, adopting the IHRA working definition is “a completely natural step and in coherence with its own past, as well as its legal and civil mission.” The Academy of Science will issue its own statement on the adoption of the IHRA working definition on 26 January.
The Academy’s decision follows October’s landmark unanimous vote by the Albanian parliament to adopt the IHRA working definition, making Albania well-known for its interfaith coexistence the first Muslim-majority country to do so.
Robert Singer, Senior Advisor to the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement said, “I am thrilled to have worked alongside Albania’s Academy of Sciences in making this important decision. Sadly, anti-Semitism is increasing across the world, including in the academic sphere. As such, the IHRA definition has never been more important, by spelling out exactly what Jew-hatred looks like. The Academy’s decision reaffirms Albania’s determined opposition to anti-Semitism as a society. I hope that it serves as an example for other esteemed academic institutions to follow suit across the world.”
Valentina Leskaj, former Albanian government minister and member of the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement’s Advisory Board said, “Albania has a proud history of tolerance, including the protection of the country’s Jewish community during World War Two. The Academy’s decision to adopt the IHRA definition is another important expression of our country’s enduring values. The Academy’s important endorsement strengthens the clear message that anti-Semitism, intolerance and hatred has no place in our society.”