IHRA: The Politics of a Definition

Today we publish an explosive research report by University of Oxford PhD researcher Jamie Stern-Weiner.

The report discloses, for the first time, the untold story behind the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.

Across the world, Israel lobbyists are promoting a highly problematic list of 11 examples of purported antisemitism. These examples have been used to shield Israel from accountability for its human rights violations.

To push these examples on international organisations, governments and civil society, Israel’s advocates have depicted them as part of the ‘gold standard’ IHRA definition.

In fact, as this report conclusively documents, IHRA’s decision-making body decided to exclude all the examples from its definition.

Shockingly, the report shows how not just pro-Israel campaigners but even senior IHRA officials have systematically misled the public about the examples.

The impact of this misrepresentation has been significant as the examples, falsely represented as the IHRA definition, have been used to stigmatise and stifle legitimate criticism of Israel.

In 2018, this misrepresentation was also the basis for a national controversy targeting the British Labour Party. Pro-Israel groups charged that, by declining to endorse all the examples, Labour had thereby proved its antisemitism problem by rejecting the IHRA definition.

But this report shows that the IHRA itself excluded the examples from its definition.

In his Foreword, Oxford University Professor Avi Shlaim argues that this ‘meticulously researched’ study ‘ought to lead any government or organisation that is considering the adoption of the IHRA definition to think again’.

Download The Politics of a Definition:

As with any complex document revision and feedback reveals the need for some corrections. The author has listed these in an errata page.

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