ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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Switzerland adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism

The nation is the 36th country to do so, says it will be added to other measures to combat the phenomenon

Children play outside the Federal Palace in Bern, Switzerland, July 21, 2009. (CC BY Floofy/Wikimedia Commons)
Children play outside the Federal Palace in Bern, Switzerland, July 21, 2009. (CC BY Floofy/Wikimedia Commons)

The government of Switzerland has adopted the definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, making the Alpine nation the 36th country to do so.

“This definition can serve as an additional guide for identifying antisemitic incidents within the framework of the various measures to combat antisemitism in Switzerland,” the Federal Council, the country’s highest executive authority, said in a statement Friday.

The IHRA working definition describes various forms of antisemitism, including hatred and discrimination against Jews and Holocaust denial.

It also lists examples of anti-Israel criticism that it says in certain context can be defined as antisemitic, including comparing the country’s policies to those of Nazi Germany, denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and “applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

Criticism of Israel similar to that leveled at any other country is not antisemitic, the definition also states.

Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations welcomed the decision by Switzerland, saying in a statement that accurately defining antisemitism is crucial to being able to combat the phenomenon.

IHRA introduced the definition in 2016, three years after the European Union’s anti-racism agency removed a very similar text from its website amid protests over the text by pro-Palestinian activists who argued it limits free speech.

The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and the European Parliament are among the national and international bodies that have adopted the definition.

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