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Pro-Israel Groups Claim Victory, though Biden Panel Avoids Embracing IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

The White House carefully crafted a definition of antisemitism — or rather declined to craft one.

In the weeks before the Biden administration released the nation’s first comprehensive plan to combat antisemitism on Thursday, Jewish groups jockeyed over the definition to the point that even they worried the debate would overshadow the substance of the report itself. 

The definition used in the plan, a response to rising antisemitism in the U.S. and the product of more than six months of conversations with more than 1,000 Jewish leaders, mattered to many American Jews.

In the end, the Biden administration appeared to adopt no definition wholesale, giving credence to several. Many, not all, on one side of the debate — the more stridently pro-Israel side — claimed victory.

Mainstream Jewish organizations had pushed for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s definition, which includes examples that characterize much strong criticism of Israel as antisemitic. “No other definitions work,” Anti-Defamation CEO Jonathan Greenblatt had tweeted.

That didn’t sit well with many progressive Jews and Jewish groups, who feel IHRA stifles legitimate criticism of the Jewish state, and focuses too much of the fight against antisemitism on rooting out anti-Zionism.

Though neither side in the debate got to see a full-throated endorsement of any definition, the Biden administration came much closer to embracing the IRHA definition than any other, and Greenblatt declared victory on Twitter Thursday morning:

“It’s also noteworthy that the plan adopts the @TheIHRA definition of #antisemitism, which is critical for identifying and combating the many forms of antisemitism.”

Read entire article at Forward