December 3, 2019 — Paris, France
American Jewish Committee (AJC) praised French National Assembly adoption today of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. Parliament’s action follows on President Emmanuel Macron’s call earlier this year for France to adopt the IHRA working definition.
"The National Assembly’s endorsement of the working definition is a very welcome and significant boost to France’s determination to recognize the dangers to our society of rising antisemitism and to more effectively fight hatred of Jews in all its forms," said AJC Paris Director Anne-Sophie Sebban-Bécache.
Parliament’s adoption of the working definition comes amidst a continuing rise in antisemitism, including acts of violence, in France. In the first semester of 2019, the number of antisemitic acts in France increased by 76% over the previous year during the same period.
"The urgent need for education on antisemitism, to recognize it and mobilize to confront it, is paramount,” said Sebban-Bécache. “It is essential now that government, civil society, faith and other leaders use the working definition in the fight against antisemitism.”
The working definition was adopted unanimously by the IHRA’s 31 member states in 2016. The European Parliament endorsed it in 2017, and last December the Council of the European Union adopted a declaration calling on Member States that had not yet done so to adopt the IHRA working definition. To date, it has been endorsed by 16 European countries.
The IHRA definition is based on the 2005 European Monitoring Centre (EUMC) Working Definition. It offers a clear and comprehensive description of antisemitism in its various forms, including hatred and discrimination against Jews, Holocaust denial, and, of particular note, antisemitism as it relates to Israel.
For many years, AJC worked closely with the EUMC to develop the working definition, and has advocated for its adoption at the institutional, national and popular levels.