On 20 September, the German Government endorsed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism during its cabinet meeting. The endorsement of the working definition was in line with the recommendations made by an independent group of experts on the topic of antisemitism.
The endorsement of the working definition was intended to send a strong signal in the fight against antisemitism. "We Germans are particularly vigilant when our country is threatened by an increase in antisemitism," said Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maizière, following the meeting on Wednesday morning. "History made clear to us, in the most terrible way, the horrors to which antisemitism can lead."
"I very much welcome the endorsement of the working definition of antisemitism by the German Government," said Ambassador Felix Klein, Head of the German Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and Special Envoy for Relations with Jewish Organizations. "In order to address the problem of antisemitism, it is very important to define it first and this working definition can provide guidance on how antisemitism can manifest itself. Following the adoption of the working definition by 31 Member Countries at the IHRA plenary in May 2016, I am pleased to see a number of countries are also introducing it on a national level. We are proud to join Austria, Israel, Romania, Scotland and the United Kingdom in affirming that there is no place for antisemitism in any society and we call on other states to follow."
Mark Weitzman, former Chair of IHRA's Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial who helped spearhead IHRA's adoption of the working definition said "We commend Germany for taking this important step. Endorsement of the Working Definition of Antisemitism shows that Germany is committed to confronting antisemitism in all its forms and is an example of moral and political leadership."
Dr. Robert Williams, the current Chair of the Committee, said "Germany's endorsement demonstrates a clear understanding that this working definition helps identify the many forms that antisemitism can take today. In a time of rising antisemitism it provides clarity to those dealing with the problem and can be an extremely useful tool in educating and combating antisemitism on all levels."
For more information, please consult the press release on the adoption of the working definition of antisemitism in May 2016.
In October 2013 the IHRA's 31 Member Countries also adopted a working definition of Holocaust denial and distortion.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance unites governments and experts to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, remembrance and research worldwide and to uphold the commitments of the 2000 Stockholm Declaration.