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There’s Nothing Shocking About a Tool for Sussing Out anti-Semitism

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In his August 2 Hebrew-language op-ed for Haaretz – following up on his July 3 English-language piece “Maybe when it comes to anti-Semitism, no ‘other Germany’ exists?”Prof. Daniel Blatman calls the working definition of anti-Semitism adopted in April 2016 by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance “a scandalous document” and “shocking.”

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I’d like to note that this definition has been adopted by many countries and organizations. It was adopted in 2005 by the Vienna-based European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia, and then by the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe at a major conference in Cordoba, Spain.

After its adoption by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – which unites governments – the European Parliament and UNESCO recommended its use in 2017, and that year Vera Jourova, the European commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, announced she would put the definition on her website.

>> Read more: Trump has made it official: He is the greatest anti-Semite of our age | Opinion

In 2018, the Council of Europe expressed its commitment to fighting anti-Semitism that included a call to council members to adopt the definition. In February of this year, French President Emmanuel Macron called for its readoption in France, and the list goes on. So far 15 countries, including Germany and Austria, have endorsed it; Britain did after a strong speech by then-Prime Minister Theresa May. In June, Canada joined the list.

Even though the definition is legally nonbinding, for 15 years it has been a tool helping judges, prosecutors the police and nongovernmental organizations. Also, a guide published by an affiliate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe recommends using the definition to improve the collection of information and data.

All this raises the question of how all those entities didn’t see the document as “shocking” and “scandalous,”........

© Haaretz