Austalia government adopts IHRA definition on antisemitism

Australia adopts IHRA definition on antisemitism
2 min read
15 October, 2021
The Australian government announced it was adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition on antisemitism, which activists fear will be used to clamp down on pro-Palestine activism.
Jewish advocacy groups welcomed the decision [Getty-file photo]

The Australian government has said it will formally adopt an internationally recognised definition of antisemitism, raising concern among anti-Zionist groups who fear it will be used to clamp down on pro-Palestine activism.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced to an international forum on combating antisemitism that his country would adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition.

"Antisemitism has no place in Australia. It has no place anywhere in the world. And we must work together, resolutely and as a global community to reject any word or any act that supports antisemitism towards individuals, towards communities or religious facilities," he said.

The IHRA is an intergovernmental body of 34 countries, most of which are in Europe.

It defines antisemitism as "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."

Though the definition is not enshrined in Australian law, some are concerned it will be used to silence those who criticise Israel.

The IHRA says: "Manifestations (of antisemitism) might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic."

Politicians, activists, and others are often accused of being antisemitic when criticising Israeli policy and action towards the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, or their attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.