Why the oldest hatred needs a new definition.
By Brian Klug | The Nation | Apr 1, 2021
People of goodwill look to the IHRA definition for guidance concerning a key question: When should political speech about Israel or Zionism be protected—and when does it cross the line into anti-Semitism? What they need is clarity. What they get is a matzah pudding.
Confronted with the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA), published on March 25, 2021, it is tempting—especially for Jews at this time of year—to ask: Why is this definition of anti-Semitism different from all other definitions?
Actually, the question to ask is more specific. In 2016, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), an intergovernmental body, produced its “working definition of antisemitism.” The IHRA definition has been endorsed by the secretary general of the United Nations and adopted by governments, political parties, public agencies, universities, and other bodies (including numerous Jewish organizations) in countries around the world. The European Parliament has called upon all member states to adopt the definition. The JDA is written, in large part, as a response to the IHRA text. So, a better question might be: How is the JDA different and why does the difference matter? In short: Why the JDA?