NSW embraces the IHRA definition of antisemitism

December 16, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has applauded NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet for announcing today that the NSW Government will embrace the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of antisemitism.

Premier Dominic Perrottet

This follows the emphatic support for the definition amidst calls from the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and other bodies for the State government and other organisations to endorse the IHRA definition.

This announcement by the Premier will make NSW the first state or territory in Australia to officially adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.

“We would like to thank the NSW Premier for championing this cause and are proud to see that the fight against antisemitism is a priority for the NSW government, particularly in light of recent increases in antisemitic incidents,” Board of Deputies President Lesli Berger said.

Darren Bark

Identifying and describing antisemitism is the first step in combatting antisemitic behaviour. The IHRA definition does just that – it provides clear examples of antisemitism to educate and guide community action against it,” Berger added.

“Combatting antisemitism is not just the responsibility of the Jewish community, it takes leadership from every public figure, which is why we are so grateful to the Premier, and the NSW Government for leading the way amongst state governments,” Board of Deputies Chief Executive Officer Darren Bark added.

“Every tool that is available to stamp out the scourge of hate speech and racism should be used before speech manifests into something more dangerous,” Bark concluded.

The Premier’s statement:


The recent festival of Chanukah reminds us of the triumph of light over darkness.

It’s a time of joy, but it’s so much more.

It’s also a reminder of the dangers of racism, bigotry and hate speech.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen many challenges.

One of those has been in the fight against racism towards many groups, both at home and across the globe.

Antisemitism is one of the oldest forms of racism. Sadly, no place in the world is immune from its scourge.

Yet there is no place for it anywhere in the world, especially not in NSW.

It goes against everything our proud, strong, multicultural state stands for.

The hate must stop here.

Today I’m proud to announce that the NSW Government will join our federal colleagues in embracing the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism.

To fight something, you need to be able to identify it.

To be able to describe it.

To name it.

A definition is an essential and important tool.

It’s a tool which empowers all those who fight this fight.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of Antisemitism is a step in the right direction.

This follows the important work of the Jewish community, including the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and other community leaders.

I’d also like to acknowledge Minister Natalie Ward and Scott Farlow MLC, who have not only been tireless advocates for this cause, but fierce opponents of discrimination in any form.

We hear the Jewish community, and today we stand with them in the fight against antisemitism.

This definition will make a difference. It will help people call out antisemitism wherever it hides.

On social media.

On educational campuses.

On the streets of NSW.

Embracing this definition is an important step to ensure our peaceful, vibrant, multicultural society remains just that.

Because ultimately, this is about being Australian and about ensuring NSW remains the best place to live – for everyone.

NSW Labor today welcomed the adoption of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism by the NSW Government.

NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns said it was the role of State governments to stand up against antisemitism and to promote racial harmony in the community.

“Federal Labor Leader Anthony Albanese was Australia’s first major political leader to commit to the IHRA definition. The Premier’s announcement means there is now bipartisan support for the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism in NSW.”

Shadow Police and Counter Terrorism Walt Secord said: “Albanese committed to the IHRA definition on 13 July 2021 during a Zoom meeting with the Jewish community, where he also condemned antisemitism, boycotts of Israel, the apartheid slur, and reiterated support for a two-state solution.”

Mr Secord, who is deputy chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and patron of the NSW Labor Israel Action Committee praised his Liberal colleague Scott Farlow, MLC who is chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel for advocating that NSW adopt the formal position.

The Zionist Federation of Australia also welcomed the adoption of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism by the NSW Government.

ZFA President Jeremy Leibler said, “The importance of the IHRA definition is being recognised around Australia and around the world. Antisemitism has no place in Australia, and, as Premier Perrottet says, in order to fight it, we have to define it. We thank the NSW Government for this stand and encourage other Australian state governments to do the same.”

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council said the IHRA definition is a simple, straightforward description of antisemitism, containing 11 illustrative examples of how antisemitism might manifest in practice. Developed over many years by international antisemitism and Holocaust experts, the IHRA definition is a vital tool for identifying and responding to antisemitism.

Particularly given the increasing phenomenon of Holocaust distortion among a segment of those protesting COVID-19 vaccines and restrictions, it is more important than ever that the IHRA definition be adopted and applied to educate the population about antisemitism and combat all its ugly forms, including preventing its more violent manifestations, which we have witnessed in the US and Europe in recent times.

AIJAC has long promoted the adoption of the IHRA definition and hopes other states and territories will soon follow the welcome initiative of New South Wales.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein said, “We are very pleased that the NSW Government has today taken this important step in combatting antisemitism. As the Premier said, it is important to identify antisemitism in order to fight it.  We thank the NSW Government for this principled and moral action. We also thank Minister Natalie Ward and Scott Farlow MLC for their advocacy on this issue.

“NSW may be the first state to embrace the IHRA definition, but we are confident that others will soon follow its excellent lead. We also look forward to seeing the definition adopted by a range of institutions across Australia. Antisemitism must be combatted with all the tools at our disposal, and the IHRA definition is the most authoritative explanation of antisemitism we have,” Dr Rubenstein concluded.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism: “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.”



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