Adopted: OCTOBER 2021

International holocaust rememberance aliance (ihra) working definition on antisemitism

Policy statement

Australia is a vibrant multicultural society in which all forms of racism and hatred including antisemitism are widely considered to be unacceptable. Yet Jewish Australians, and Australian Jewish women in particular, experience antisemitism, both in the physical environment and online. Reports to the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia provide testimony that there is increasing stress on Jewish women and young Jewish women, in particular, who find contemporary antisemitism extremely challenging.

Without detracting from the need to address other forms of racism and bigotry, it is the singularity of antisemitism, due to its longevity and demonstrated capacity to mutate from religious to racial to political forms, culminating in genocide, which warrants particular attention and remedies. Given the many forms antisemitism has taken, defining antisemitism is a necessary first step in responding to it.

NCJWA welcomes the announcement made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 13 October 2021 that the Australian government “pledges to embrace the definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance” (IHRA). The Prime Minister emphasised that Australia has made this pledge “as a people and as a nation”, adding: “Antisemitism has no place in Australia. It has no place anywhere in the world”. 

NCJWA notes that the IHRA Working Definition was developed internationally as a non-legally binding definition to provide guidance to governments, government agencies, publicly owned corporations, political parties, civil society organisations, academic institutions and sports and cultural bodies in identifying contemporary forms of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere.

NCJWA strongly believes that by adopting, endorsing and acting on the IHRA Working Definition, Government and policymakers will be assisted in meeting its responsibility to provide a safe and secure environment for all citizens, including Jewish women and girls.