German cabinet officially recognizes IHRA as an international institution

February 5, 2021 by JNS
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The German cabinet officially recognized the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) on Wednesday as an international institution.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin in March 2018. Credit: Spokesperson Unit of President of Israel/Wikimedia Commons.

The measure will grant the IHRA certain immunities, including tax privileges, said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in a statement. The recognition will be put to a vote by the Bundesrat, the German legislative body, on March 26.

German’s term of the rotating IHRA presidency will also come to an end in March after a year, Maas said, “in which denial and playing down of the Holocaust reached new, shameless lows.”

Maas cited anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that went viral on the Internet, as well as the manner in which the Holocaust was “downplayed in an unbearable way at anti-coronavirus demonstrations by some participants pinning yellow stars on themselves and brandishing signs reading Impfen macht frei (‘Vaccination makes you free’), all the way to a person storming the U.S. Capitol wearing a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt.”

Maas said the images made Germany “all the more determined” in its work with the IHRA.

In passing on the presidency of the organization to Greece, Maas said Germany wanted to make sure that the IHRA is recognized as being on equal footing with other international organizations.

In 2017, Germany adopted a definition of anti-Semitism that is almost exactly identical to the IHRA’s definition.

On Monday, the Biden administration said would adopt the IHRA’s working definition of anti-Semitism, calling it an invaluable tool in fighting the scourge in its many forms. The Biden administration had received pushback from left-wing Jewish and Israeli groups to eschew the definition, claiming that it would silence criticism of Israel.

In May 2016, shortly after former President Donald Trump was elected, the U.S. State Department adopted the IHRA’s working definition along with 31 member states of the alliance.

JNS

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