The Italian government decided to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism on Friday. The Foreign Ministry has called for as many countries as possible to use the definition as a guideline for what should be considered antisemitism, and Israeli Ambassador to Italy Dror Eydar has advocated for its adoption.
The IHRA definition of antisemitism, drafted in 2016, states that “antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
It also lists a number of examples, such as calling to kill or harm Jews or spreading dehumanizing allegations about Jews or the power of Jews as a collective, but also targeting Israel as a Jewish collective, such as denying Jewish people the right to self-determination or comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
The Italian cabinet decision states that it adopts the definition, and that it appointed Prof. Milena Santerini as the national coordinator of the fight against antisemitism.
Eydar tweeted that he is “pleased to hear the Italian government’s decision to adopt the IHRA definition… Antisemitism is a pathology that every healthy society must fight.”
The ambassador said “a new form [of antisemitism] is added today, which is manifested by the denial of the existence of the nation-state for the Jewish people in Israel.”
The European Parliament adopted the IHRA definition in 2017, and many EU member states have followed suit since then. US President Donald Trump issued an executive order in December using the IHRA definition as the guideline for examining antisemitism in educational institutions, which could lead to their losing federal funds.
IHRA held its Ministerial Meeting in Brussels on Sunday, where ministers from member countries declared a “commitment to fighting Holocaust distortion, antisemitism, antigypsyism and other forms of discrimination,” the organization said.
Among the points in the joint declaration released at the meeting were pledging to keep the legacy of Holocaust victims and survivors alive, accepting responsibility as governments for fighting antisemitism and other forms of racism and leading efforts to promote education about the Holocaust.