Baltimore, MD, April 12, 2024—Coalition for Jewish Values called for Congressional support for the Define to Defeat Act of 2024, proposed by Congressman Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY). This bill requires that when referring to antisemitism, the Federal government use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism along with its contemporary examples.

“The Former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks of blessed memory, taught that ‘One of the enduring facts of history is that most antisemites do not think of themselves as antisemites,’” said CJV President Emeritus Rabbi Pesach Lerner. “This is why it is so crucial that antisemitism be defined in a neutral fashion that clearly encompasses when it is couched as ‘anti-Israel’ rhetoric.”

Recent years have seen efforts to cloud the definition of antisemitism, specifically to exonerate hatred against Jews when using different facades from those used by antisemites of earlier eras. The “Jerusalem Declaration” on antisemitism, for example, responds to the IHRA definition by claiming that opposition to Jewish self-determination in the Jewish Holy Land is not hateful. The “Nexus Project” derides the IHRA definition as something “used as a tool for suppressing free speech and criticism of Israeli policies,” and goes on to claim that replication of the Nazi boycott of 1932 is not antisemitic when hidden behind anti-Israel oratory.

“The other definitions offered are actually antisemitic, in that they exist to mask antisemitism in its most potent current form,” added CJV Rabbinic Circle Chairman Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer. “This is why it is so crucial to adopt the IHRA definition, rejecting efforts to hide the obvious connection between classical antisemitic tropes and lies said about Israel today. We hope all Members of Congress will support this bill.”