Press Releases

Combat Anti-Semitism Movement Applauds Albania’s Adoption of IHRA Definition, Urges Other Majority-Muslim Countries to Follow

October 22, 2020

22 October 2020 (New York) – The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement today welcomed the Albanian parliament’s endorsement of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism. As such, Albania has become one of the first majority-Muslim countries to adopt the definition.

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.

Today’s landmark decision comes just days before the Parliament of the Republic of Albania, in partnership with the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement and the Jewish Agency for Israel, hosts the first ever Balkans Forum Against Anti-Semitism. The conference, which will take place on 28 October at 16:00 CET / 11:00 AM EDT, aims to create a united front for Balkans countries to work together against anti-Semitism.

Participants will include Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama, the Speakers of Parliament from Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia, plus officials from United Nations, United States, United Kingdom and Israel. To join the event, registration in advance is required by visiting https://balkans.combatantisemitism.org/

Gramoz Ruci, Speaker of Albania’s Parliament: “It is good news that we, the Albanians and the peoples of the Western Balkans, a region that has suffered more than any other part of the world, the consequences of ethno-centrist and religious-centrist views and attitudes, join this emancipatory action of contemporary civilization: the fight against anti-Semitism. All nations that throughout history have protected Jews from extermination and support them today against stigma have a right to be proud. But we Albanians have more reasons to be proud because Albania is the only country in Europe where all Jews were taken under protection and rescued during World War II. Our homeland, Albania, in difficult times has served as a substitute soil for Jews.”

Taulant Balla, Chairman of the Socialist Party Parliamentary Group: “The positive model of Albania where individuals with different backgrounds, beliefs and races have always found a safe home even in the wildest periods of dictatorial regimes is an inspiration for many peoples. This was evident during World War II, when Albania opened its borders and provided asylum to Jewish refugees fleeing genocide. To this day, the Albanian people are proud of this act of justice and have always valued their relations with the Jewish people, the United States of America and the State of Israel.”

Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog: “I congratulate the Albanian government on the significant step it has taken in the fight against anti-Semitism. The adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is the most important and effective tool currently in place in the international arena to take practical action against the scourge of anti-Semitism. I congratulate the Prime Minister of Albania, my good friend Edi Rama, on this important decision, which comes after he recently inaugurated an impressive monument in Tirana in memory of the Holocaust and in honor of the Righteous Among the Nations from the Albanian people.”

Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement Director: “We warmly congratulate the Albanian parliament on adopting the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism. At a time when anti-Semitism is increasing across the world, the IHRA definition has never been more important. Not only does it spell out exactly what Jew-hatred looks like, but adopting IHRA’s definition makes clear that anti-Semitism has no place in free, democratic and tolerant societies such as Albania.

“We hope that Albania’s adoption of the IHRA definition will also be a catalyst for others to follow suit. Hopefully, it will encourage additional countries in the Balkans and other majority-Muslim states globally to take the same clear, firm and principled stance that anti-Semitism has no place in today’s world.”

The Combat Anti-Semitism Movement is a non-partisan, global grassroots movement of individuals and organizations, across all religions and faiths, united around the goal of ending anti-Semitism in all its forms. Since its launching in February 2019, 285 organizations and 295,000 individuals have joined the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement by signing the campaign’s pledge. The CAM Pledge draws upon the IHRA international definition of anti- Semitism and its list of specific behaviors used to discriminate against the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel.