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June 16, 2021 3:01 pm

US Jewish Groups Hail Adoption by Texas of Leading Definition of Antisemitism

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avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs a bill creating the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission, June 16, 2021. Photo: Office of the Governor.

The state of Texas has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism as part of a new advisory commission.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation on Wednesday establishing the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Commission, which will keep track of antisemitic activity in Texas and engage in educational programs to teach about the Holocaust and other genocides.

It will use the IHRA definition as its guide for recognizing and combatting antisemitism.

Abbott said in a statement, “Antisemitism has no place in Texas, and we have a duty to combat it whenever and however it arises. That is why I am proud to sign House Bill 3257 into law, which will create the Texas Holocaust, Genocide, and Antisemitism Advisory Committee and bolster our efforts to eradicate antisemitism in the Lone Star State.”

Joel Schwitzer, director of the Dallas branch of the American Jewish Committee, said, “The use of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism to guide a state-mandate biennial study will help ensure Texas remains a leader in combating antisemitism.”

“Given the sharp uptick in antisemitism across America, we are gratified that this legislation has received overwhelmingly bipartisan support,” he added.

The move was also cheered by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

“Texas, whose Senate and House of Representatives approved the legislation with nearly unanimous bipartisan support (no legislators voted against the bills), sets an example for the rest of the country by joining the growing global coalition of countries, major cities, and institutions that have rallied behind this key instrument in addressing the urgent threat of antisemitism,” said Conference Chair Dianne Lob, CEO William Daroff, and Vice Chair Malcolm Hoenlein.

“It is essential to define antisemitism in order to combat it successfully,” they asserted. “We thank Governor Abbott and the Texas legislature for their leadership and look forward to seeing the widespread adoption of the IHRA definition continue around the world.”

Editor’s note: This article, and its headline, have been corrected to reflect that Texas was not the first US state to adopt the IHRA definition

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