September 26, 2019 — Paris, France
AJC is calling on French parliamentarians to endorse President Emmanuel Macron’s recognition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.
“The IHRA working definition is an essential tool for Europe today in the fight against antisemitism," said Simone Rodan-Benzaquen, Director of AJC Europe. “After the important action taken by President Macron in February, Parliament must follow suit and give this definition its necessary popular support.”
AJC Paris launched a social media campaign – “Words Against Ills” – comprised of videos and other materials that explain, with vivid examples, how prejudice against Jews and hatred of Israel are intertwined. The campaign aims to garner support for the working definition among the public and National Assembly members.
The working definition was adopted unanimously by the IHRA’s 31 member states in 2016. To date, it has been endorsed by 14 European countries. The working definition illustrates the different forms of contemporary antisemitism, including those related to hatred of Israel, which has been a growing problem in France.
"While far-right antisemitic speeches constitute a real danger to European Jewish communities and are now widely opposed, it remains almost impossible to tackle antisemitism hidden within hatred of Israel, which is widespread in France and throughout Europe," said Rodan-Benzaquen.
Macron’s endorsement of the working definition came after the Ministry of Interior reported 74% increase in antisemitic incidents in France in 2018. This spike in hatred of Jews confirmed the steady increase in antisemitism in France over the past 20 years.
At the time of the president’s announcement, MP Sylvain Maillard, chairman of the National Assembly's Working group on antisemitism, proposed a parliamentary resolution to endorse the IHRA working definition. But a vote on the measure scheduled for May was postponed until October.
"The deputies will take up the motion for a resolution on antisemitism from the very first days of October," National Assembly President Richard Ferrand recently told Le Figaro.
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.