Photo Credit: Brant Schulz
From left to right: Jackie Congedo, Jeremy Spiegel, Rabbi Ari Ballaban, Mark Jeffreys, Justin Kirschner, Naomi Ruben, Kurt Grossman, and Jan Armstrong Cobb

Submitted by Naomi Ruben, American Jewish Committee of Cincinnati 

The Cincinnati City Council approved the adoption of the globally recognized working definition of antisemitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

Cincinnati joins more than eight hundred governmental bodies, educational institutions and companies that have adopted the nonbinding definition.

“At a time when antisemitism is on the rise and more American Jews feel insecure about their status in this country, approving this definition sends a strong message of support for our community and those continually threatened by this age-old bigotry,” said Justin Kirschner, Cincinnati regional director of American Jewish Committee, which was involved in the original drafting of the definition. “This definition will help city government leaders and law enforcement better identify antisemitism and take appropriate action when it emerges.”

The definition reads: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

The council’s unanimous adoption of the definition was led by Council Member Mark Jeffreys.

“Adopting a clear, comprehensive definition of antisemitism is the first step in eradicating this hatred from our community. I am proud of the City for taking this step forward, Jeffrey’s said. It gives me hope that we can continue to make progress against antisemitism and to be a welcoming city for all.”

Examples by IHRA of what would constitute antisemitism include:

Holocaust denial or downplaying how many Jews were killed by the Nazis and their allies

Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis

Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews

Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor

The vote came a month after AJC released its landmark State of Antisemitism in America report, in which found more than four in ten Jews surveyed said they felt less secure about their status in the U.S. than a year ago.

In addition, more than nine in ten Jews and the general public agree that antisemitism is a serious problem in the U.S. and more than eight in ten Jews believe antisemitism has worsened in the last five years.