December 6, 2013 – New York – AJC is urging the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to restore to its website the “working definition” of anti-Semitism.
“The working definition was a landmark achievement, its usefulness remains undiminished, and, in fact, it informed the FRA’s own comprehensive survey of anti-Semitism in EU member states,” said Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC’s Director of International Jewish Affairs.
AJC worked closely with the director of the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) in drafting the working definition. Notably, the document, issued in 2005, acknowledged that a new form of anti-Semitism was emerging, one that demonized the State of Israel and questioned its very legitimacy.
The working definition has been an essential tool in the efforts to monitor and combat anti-Semitism across Europe. It has been included in police training materials prepared by the OSCE. In addition, the U.S. Department of State adopted the working definition, and it has been recommended by inter-Parliamentary commissions in the United Kingdom and Canada.
Since it was released it has helped many people come to recognize that anti-Semitism can take multiple forms, including some that relate to Israel. After the EUMC became part of the FRA in 2007, the working definition was included on the FRA website until it was inexplicably removed recently.
"It is unfortunate that the working definition has disappeared from the FRA website, and we would urge its return if only in recognition of the important legacy of the EUMC,” said Baker. “The FRA has shown that it is in the business of examining and confronting anti-Semitism,” said Baker. “Its recently released survey of Jews in the EU described in detail their experiences and perceptions of anti-Semitism and demonstrated for one and all that the problem is acute and widespread.”