IHRA Chair’s Statement on Adoption of Declaration on Antisemitism by the Justice and Home Affairs Council

IHRA Chair Ambassador Sandro De Bernardin speaks about the importance of democratic countries adopting the declaration on antisemitism.

“In my capacity as Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, I commend the unanimous adoption of the declaration on antisemitism by the Justice and Home affairs Council by the 28 Member States on 6 December.

The declaration is a strong statement that democracies must pay closer attention to – and take specific steps to combat – the problem of antisemitism. Existential questions have been raised about the viability of continued Jewish life in Europe – a community that has existed in Europe for millennia.  Were this to change, so too would the future of Europe as a democratic and pluralistic society. In the words of Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission, “If there’s no future for Jews in Europe, there’s no future for Europe.”

I also welcome the call for Member States to endorse the non-legally binding IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism. In order to combat antisemitism effectively, it is important to have clarity about what it is and how it may manifest itself. The IHRA tool captures antisemitism in its developmental stages and mutations, reflects current realities and is of practical use. It seeks to educate and inspires dialogue on forms of antisemitism: from antisemitism that emerges from hateful intent to unconscious forms of discrimination, as well as subsequent antisemitic actions that deny rights and/ or a feeling of safety and security to Jews or people identified as Jews.

At our recent meetings in Ferrara, the IHRA was pleased to welcome the European Union as a Permanent International Partner organization. We look forward to working closely with the European Union and with Katharina von Schnurbein, EU Coordinator on Combatting Antisemitism. With humanity still scarred by genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, the international community shares a solemn responsibility to fight those evils.”

IHRA Chair
Ambassador Sandro De Bernardin