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Debate on the working definition of antisemitism


On the 26 April 2017, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Elie Wiesel National Institute organized a debate marking one year since the Internatioanl Holocaust Remembrance Alliance adoption of the working definition of antisemitism.

The debate was aimed at analysing the best means for identifying, preventing and combating antisemitism in public discourse and to promote the use of the working definition by Romanian institutions. The participants discussed the possible avenues of implementation of the working definition in Romania, its impact on Romanian society and on the monitoring antisemitism. A special guest in the debate was Mark Weitzman, the director for  governmental relations at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in New York and Chair of IHRA's Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial. The debate was part of a week of events dedicated to the commemoration of the Holocaust and to the promotion of the contribution of Jewish communities to the evolution of Romanian society.

The participants included representatives from civil society, members of the Parliament, ministries involved in law enforcement, judges and prosecutors, and the Jewish community of Romania.

Participants underlined that in the current European context marked by increasing acts of discrimination, antisemitism, xenophobia and racism, the non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism adopted by the IHRA brings clarity. The topic of antisemitic hate speech in the online environment and on social media platforms was also discussed, and participants called on members of Parliament to ensure resolute initiatives for preventing hate speech. It was noted that the working definition could be instrumental, as it may significantly help in accurately identifying antisemitic discourse online.