BRISMES Signs Joint Letter Urging UN Not to Endorse IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

BRISMES has joined a coalition of 104 organisations, inlcuding Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Israeli human rights group B’Tselem calling on the United Nations not to endorse or adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.

In the letter, the groups express their "strong support for the United Nations’ commitment to combatting antisemitism in line with international human rights standards". It is noted, however, that "the IHRA definition has often been used to wrongly label criticism of Israel as antisemitic, and thus chill and sometimes suppress, non-violent protest, activism and speech critical of Israel and/or Zionism, including in the US and Europe."

As an international organization committed to the universal promotion of the rule of law and human rights, the UN should ensure that its vital efforts to combat antisemitism do not inadvertently embolden or endorse policies and laws that undermine fundamental human rights, including the right to speak and organize in support of Palestinian rights and to criticize Israeli government policies.

Human Rights and other Civil Society Groups Urge United Nations to Respect Human Rights in the Fight Against Antisemitism, 20 April 2023

In a press release announcing an additional 40 signatories to the letter, Human Rights Watch noted that the "increase in support among human rights and civil rights organizations reflects growing concern about the use of the IHRA working definition and the need to ensure that the fight against antisemitism is not sidetracked".