Australia pledges to embrace the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism

October 14th, 2021

To download this statement in PDF format, please click here.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), the peak representative body of the Australian Jewish community, has warmly welcomed the announcement made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison by video link to the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism 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”.

“The use of the word ‘embrace’ means that the Australian government sees this pledge not only as a formal, international commitment but also as a profound expression from the heart of our most abiding national values  – a fair go for all, mutual respect and personal freedom”, said ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim.

“It is also a matter of national honour that Australia has joined the ranks of other nations which have adopted the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism”.

ECAJ President, Jillian Segal AO thanked co-CEOs Peter Wertheim and Alex Ryvchin for their efforts, as well as the Expert Members of the Australian Government Delegation to IHRA, the Zionist Federation of Australia and AIJAC.  “We have all worked closely on this issue, especially over the last 12 months”, she said. “I also acknowledge the support of a great many parliamentarians from the government and the opposition, including Federal Opposition leader, Anthony Albanese”.

“This is a watershed in Australia in the unending battle against antisemitism”, Segal said.  “It is the beginning, not the end of the journey.  In order to make good on the Prime Minister’s pledge that Australia embraces the IHRA Working Definition as a nation and a people, it will need to be adopted by the public and private sectors, the University sector, civil society, school education systems and sporting organisations among others”.

“The government’s announcement has set the standard, for which we are grateful, and the challenge of making the Working Definition a reality in daily life lies before us.”

Peter Wertheim | Co-CEO
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