Anti-Semitism Definition Under Threat

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Only a few months ago, HonestReporting launched a petition calling on the mainstream media to adopt recognized and considered definitions of anti-Semitism as accepted by both the U.S. State Department and the European Union.

The petition is still live and we intend to send your 30,000+ signatures to the media. Before we do so, however, a disturbing development has come to light that threatens not only the validity of our petition but the very fight against anti-Semitism itself, particularly in Europe – the EU Working Definition of Anti-Semitism has been effectively removed as an official document giving an opening for anti-Semites and enemies of Israel to discredit and delegitimize the fight against anti-Semitism.

The European definition was originally published in 2005 by the EU’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, which has since been replaced by its successor organization, the Fundamental Rights Agency. The anti-Semitism definition is, pointedly, not included on the FRA’s website.

[It's not too late to sign the petition and show your support for the endorsement of the definitions of anti-Semitism - click on the banner below.]

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Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center explains in The Times of Israel:

On 6 November, I protested to EU High Representative forForeign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, the current disappearance of the “Working Definition” from the FRA website, requesting it be immediately reuploaded

The 29 November response from the European Commission Directorate-General Justice, with responsibility for Fundamental Rights, was astounding in insisting “at the outset, that neither the Commission in particular, nor the Union have an established definition of antisemitism and that there is no policy to create one. Furthermore, it should be pointed out that the FRA is an independent agency.”

The letter explained that “in 2005, the EU’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) had placed online a document entitled Working Definition of Antisemitism… Since then, various actors, mainly NGOs, have referred to this document as the EU’s definition of antisemitism… In all autonomy, the FRA retained this document online until recently, when it was removed together with other non-official documents.”

fralogoIndeed, HonestReporting has also referred to the definition as the EU’s. The disappearance and disavowal of the definition will remove a vital tool in the fight against anti-Semitism and gives the European media a ready-made excuse not to endorse the definition. At this point in time, this has not affected the U.S. State Department definition, which is based on the European one.

Nonetheless, we agree with Shimon Samuels:

Its removal can only comfort and encourage antisemites. Its return to the FRA website would be appreciated as the first step for European endorsement of what has become a vital arm in the arsenal against hate.

Thousands of you signed our petition calling for the media’s endorsement of the definitions. We ask you now to support the European definition by emailing the Fundamental Rights Agency - information@fra.europa.eu – to ask that the definition be restored to the FRA’s website as a first step in ensuring the definition’s continued validity and credibility.


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