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June 4, 2021 1:19 pm

World Jewish Groups Praise Switzerland’s Approval of Leading Definition of Antisemitism

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avatar by Algemeiner Staff

A Swiss government building. Photo: The Federal Council of Switzerland.

Leading Jewish groups in Europe and around the world welcomed the Friday decision by Switzerland’s executive body to approve the working definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

At a meeting Friday of the Swiss Federal Council, the country’s seven-member executive authority adopted a report on applying the IHRA, now recognized by 29 countries around the world.

“The Federal Council firmly and unequivocally opposes any form of antisemitism,” the council said in a statement. “It recognizes the value and practical relevance of the IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism, which can provide further guidance in identifying antisemitic incidents while also serving as a basis for more specific definitions aimed at particular areas or purposes.”

The Council report also made recommendations for measures to combat antisemitism in Switzerland.

“It is very gratifying that the Federal Council also wants to strengthen the measures against antisemitism and racism,” said two umbrella organizations, the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG) and the Platform of Liberal Jews Switzerland, adding that they would seek to cooperate with the government on specific action plans.

The decision was cheered by the European Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress, which both called it “an important step” in fighting antisemitism.

“Congratulations to #Switzerland for adopting @TheIHRA working definition of #antisemitism! This is an important tool to help governments identify, monitor and address anti-Jewish hatred,” said B’nai B’rith International on Twitter.

The antisemitism report was initiated by Swiss council member Paul Rechsteiner, according to SIG.

Introduced in 2016, the IHRA definition has been adopted by the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Parliament, as well as a growing number of educational and other institutions.

Its full text reads, “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards 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.”

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