December 3, 2020 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC) praised the British Premier League for adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. The Premier League, comprised of 20 football (soccer) clubs, is the most-watched sports league in the world.
“Bravo to Lord John Mann and all of those involved in this landmark decision,” said AJC CEO David Harris. Mann is the British government’s top advisor on antisemitism and a leading proponent of the IHRA working definition. “The importance of the British Premier League recognizing the most widely used definition of antisemitism cannot be overstated,” said Harris. “Hundreds of millions of people around the world follow closely the Premier League’s teams and players. The impact of today’s decision and its implementation can be extraordinarily helpful in the battle against rising antisemitism.”
Harris called on American sports leagues to seriously consider emulating the British move. “Just imagine the potential reach and impact if American sports leagues, beginning with MLB, NBA, and NFL, follow the British lead,” said Harris.
Lord Mann said, “The adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism by the Premier League will rightly be heralded by the footballing community and clubs worldwide. I congratulate our Premier League for setting the global standard. I trust others will now step up and be counted.”
The working definition was adopted unanimously by the IHRA’s 31 member states in 2016. It has been endorsed by 24 European countries, including the United Kingdom.
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.