IHRA Co-Chairs Ambassador Terezija Gras and Sara Lustig state:
“Following the conclusion of the first Plenary Meetings under the Croatian IHRA Presidency, we express our deepest concern about IHRA experts’ reports of rising antisemitism and Holocaust distortion, which threaten the fabric of our pluralistic societies and the very existence of Jewish communities around the world. However, we are equally motivated by the impact of the IHRA’s collaborative, cross-cutting approach to addressing these threats, and are convinced of its effectiveness.
Seven years ago, the IHRA’s adoption of its non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism was a watershed moment. The question is no longer whether antisemitism exists in societies, but how it can be combated and monitored. As IHRA Co-Chairs, we note with satisfaction the large number of countries who have adopted the non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism, referred to it in their national action plans, and used it to inspire the appointment of Special Envoys on the issue. At various levels of government, as well as in countless organizations around the world, the working definition has proven to be the tool that made the difference, driving action against antisemitism.
The illustrative examples listed in the IHRA’s working definitions, though by no means exhaustive, include forms that are deeply rooted in our societies, making them all the more difficult to recognize and address. The IHRA’s working definitions make it easier to take the first step, and then the second and third as well. They make it possible to broach the difficult subjects of antisemitism and Holocaust denial and distortion and have uncomfortable conversations, which promote open dialogue that helps us come to terms with the truth of the Holocaust, while guiding us through present and future challenges.
We are not alone in wanting to have these difficult conversations. We underline the IHRA’s work with the European Commission, the OSCE/ODIHR, the United Nations, and UNESCO – steadfast partners in our campaign to #ProtectTheFacts and raise awareness of Holocaust distortion, a significant, but often overlooked, threat to democratic values and pluralistic societies. This campaign was inspired by the IHRA’s working definition of Holocaust denial and distortion, which serves as a throughline in our work.
We commend all who embrace the critical task of humbly and persistently combating antisemitism and Holocaust distortion. Securing the future of global Holocaust remembrance requires no less.”