The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis — commends the Biden Administration for embracing the comprehensive International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.
On February 1, 2021, United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kara McDonald stated at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)’s expert meeting on combatting anti-Semitism, “We must educate ourselves to recognize anti-Semitism in its many forms, so that we can call it hate by its proper name and take effective action. That is why the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism, with its real-world examples, is such an invaluable tool. As prior U.S. Administrations of both political stripes have done, the Biden Administration embraces and champions the working definition. We applaud the growing number of countries and international bodies that apply it. We urge all that haven’t done so to do likewise.”
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “the Biden administration’s embracement of the comprehensive IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is America’s reaffirmation of its leadership in the global fight against anti-Semitism. The IHRA working definition is the gold standard and it helps to define anti-Semitic activity allowing intervention, prevention and curbing of the spread of anti-Semitism. This is especially important at a time when the world has witnessed a global rise in anti-Semitism.”
Mirocznik further commented, “ the timing of the Biden Administration’s adoption of the comprehensive International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism could not have been timed any better. We say this in reference to the International Criminal Court (ICC’s) declaration that the Hague has jurisdiction to open a criminal investigation into Israel and the Palestinians for war crimes alleged to have taken place in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.”
As a democratic, sovereign state, Israel safeguards the rights of all its citizens, Jewish and Arab alike. The Palestinian Authority has consistently failed to properly control security in the areas under its control, thereby necessitating Israel to take appropriate defensive acts to protect its citizenry. The ICC’s actions are nothing more than an attempt to undermine and weaken Israeli sovereignty and will serve nothing more than a mechanism to destabilize peace and tranquility in the Middle East. The Rabbinical Alliance of America thanks State Department spokesperson Ned Price who wrote that the United States objects to determination by a pretrial chamber of the International Criminal Court that The Hague has jurisdiction to open a criminal investigation into Israel and the Palestinians for war crimes alleged to have taken place in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Price wrote with strong conviction, “We will continue to uphold [US] President [Joe] Biden’s strong commitment to Israel and its security, including opposing actions that seek to target Israel unfairly.”
It is important that the United States sends the message that it will stand up for Israel when she is unfairly and inaccurately criticized. Israel is a democracy and a beacon of hope and liberty in the Middle East. The undue focus on Israel of the international human rights bureaucracy demonstrates an ingrained anti-Semitism that in its hatred is willing to destabilize a region and destroy peace. It is crucial that the United States of America continue to state clearly that agendas of hatred and distortion are unacceptable and that America will stand steady and fast with its true allies, such as Israel.