Los Angeles City Council adopts definition of antisemitism amid rise in hate incidents

Los Angeles City Council adopts definition of antisemitism amid rise in hate incidents

LOS ANGELES (RNS) — With instances of anti-Semitism on the rise — and after a public show of anti-Semitic indicators in LA impressed by Kanye West’s current remarks — the Los Angeles City Council has adopted a definition of anti-Semitism to assist implement of legislation and public officers in figuring out and monitoring such hate incidents.

Council members on Tuesday (1 November) authorised the definition – which isn’t legally binding – from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance that supporters, in the course of the assembly, stated is a crucial step in the combat towards anti-Semitism. However, not everybody agreed.

The IHRA’s working definition reads: “Anti-Semitism is a sure notion of Jews, which could be expressed as hatred of Jews. Rhetorical and bodily manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish people and/or their property, Jewish group establishments, and spiritual buildings.”

The IHRA provides 11 examples of anti-Semitism, which vary from “Calling, aiding or abetting the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion” to “Holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the state. Israel.” More than half of the examples relate to Israel.

CONNECTED: To outline or to not outline antisemitism? This is an efficient query.

Groups like If Not Now LA and LA Jews for Peace have spoken out towards adopting this definition.

Jeff Warner, with LA Jews for Peace, stated in the course of the assembly that the definition “blurs the distinction between anti-Semitic speech and legitimate criticism of Israel and Zionism.”

“It causes confusion while delegitimizing the voices of Palestinians and others, including Jews like myself, who criticize Israel and Zionism,” Warner stated. “None of this helps to fight anti-Semitism.”

Warner provided the council an alternate often called the Jerusalem Declaration on Anti-Semitism, an effort signed by greater than 200 Jewish teachers from world wide that features “a preamble, definition and a set of 15 guidelines” to acknowledge anti-Semitism.

Debi Graboff, of the Jewish Federation, stated throughout Tuesday’s assembly that the adoption of the IHRA definition is “an important step in the right direction.”

“An important first step in the combat towards anti-Semitism is to outline it in a means that displays the lived experiences of the Jewish individuals. That is the aim of the IHRA’s job description,” stated Graboff.

The IHRA definition has been adopted by 37 United Nations member states, together with the United States, and 320 non-federal authorities items, together with 22 states throughout the US and several other cities, in response to the decision the City Council authorised. Other cities embody Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.

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Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer stated the council’s actions come at a time when not solely are anti-Semitic instances on the rise, however as “celebrities now try to normalize anti-Semitism by explicitly endorsing or defending it.”

“This is an opportunity to take that step today, to say, ‘We stand with those in the Jewish community who are unfortunately facing record levels of anti-Semitism at a time when our nation so desperately needs us to stand up for each other.” Feuer stated.

City officers cited Anti-Defamation League statistics that discovered there was a 34% improve in anti-Semitic incidents in the US in 2021, in comparison with the earlier 12 months. It’s the very best quantity on document for the reason that ADL started monitoring anti-Semitic incidents in 1979.

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