English Premier League and clubs adopt definition of antisemitism

December 4, 2020 by JNS
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The English Premier League and its clubs adopted on Thursday the widely accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.

The announcement follows efforts spearheaded by the U.K. Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism Lord John Mann, who recently signed a letter alongside international counterparts to leading British and European football clubs, urging them to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

The IHRA definition says: “Anti-Semitism 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.”

The league’s executive director, Bill Bush, stated: “The Premier League is committed to tackling any form of discrimination in football. Our adoption of the IHRA’s working definition will enable us to be more effective in dealing with any antisemitic behaviour targeting our clubs or personnel.”

He went on to say that “the adoption of the IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism is the latest step in the Premier League’s continued work to ensure that football is a welcoming environment for all.”

American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris said: “the importance of the British Premier League recognizing the most widely used definition of antisemitism cannot be overstated.”

“Hundreds of millions of people around the world follow the Premier League’s teams and players,” he continued in a statement. “The impact of [the] decision and its implementation can be extraordinarily helpful in the battle against rising antisemitism.”

Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, director of the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement, said in a statement, “Sport and football, in particular, is a global language that unites millions of people. As the most popular competition in world football, the Premier League is sending a hugely important message to countless fans across the world, that there is absolutely no place for antisemitism in today’s world. We hope that it will inspire people to join the fight against antisemitism, racism and hatred.”

Co-CEO of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim commented: There is a growing global momentum towards endorsement of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism not only by governments but also by a broad range of civil society organisations. 

On December 2, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance published an Opinion welcoming the definition as a positive tool which promotes a better understanding of contemporary antisemitism. 

The English Premier League announcement on December 3 is especially welcome.  Sport is one of the most potent media available to combat racism and bigotry.  In football, everybody is quite literally on an equal playing field regardless of personal background.  Antisemitism and other forms of racism are completely contrary to the concept of fair play.  The English Premier League are to be commended for conveying that simple but powerful truth to their millions of followers around the world.”



One Response to “English Premier League and clubs adopt definition of antisemitism”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    This is great news. Hopefully, it will enable FIFA and administrators of football events to come down more effectively and heavily on the antisemitic behaviour that has been evident at many games throughout the world.

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