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An Australian Jewish advocacy group says that it is time for Australia to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of anti-Semitism.

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) is calling for the “Australian Government and the Labor Party opposition to endorse the IHRA working definition of antisemitism in a bipartisan way in the parliament.”

“This symbolic endorsement would send a clear message to all Australians that their democratic representatives are doing what they can to call out and combat anti-Semitism in all its forms,” wrote Naomi Levin, AIJAC senior policy analyst.

She noted that doing so would not make the IHRA definition legally binding. However, it would “telegraph to those thinking of making anti-Semitic comments or perpetrating anti-Semitic acts that their behaviour is unacceptable.”

Levin added that given opposition Labor leader Anthony Albanese has already announced his intention to endorse the definition if he becomes prime minister, a bipartisan endorsement should not be difficult to organize if the government agrees to it.

While Levin said that recent instances of condemnation of anti-Semitic incidents have made it clear that there are many people from “across the political spectrum” who across the political spectrum who are prepared to speak out against antisemitism,” she lamented the fact that Australia does not have the most effective means available to combat anti-Semitism, that of the IHRA definition.

She said that besides combating anti-Semitism, it was essential for the Australian government to adopt the IHRA definition to “clearly send a message that anti-Semitism is not acceptable in Australia,” and to “educate Australians [about] what anti-Semitism is.”

“Two years ago, Australia was promoted to become a member of IHRA. In accepting this, Australia confirmed its commitment to remembering the world’s most egregious example of anti-Semitism – the Holocaust,” she wrote.

“This commitment has been encouragingly backed up by so many of our political leaders in Australia. However two further steps – parliamentary endorsement of the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism and then its use as a meaningful education and explanatory tool by Australian institutions – are now required. It is time for Australia to adopt and apply the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism.

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