Activists want American Bar Association to redefine anti-Semitism in resolution condemning it
The American Civil Liberties Union, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Council on American Islamic Relations on Jan. 18 asserted that the definition is "dangerously chilling fundamental rights of free speech, freedom of assembly and protest, and academic freedom."
The American Bar Association's House of Delegates is preparing to vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in early February, but activists are pressuring the group to change the definition of the term, contending that current phrasing discourages free speech.
The Feb. 6 vote will address Resolution 514, according to the Washington Examiner. That proposal would call on American governments at every level to condemn anti-Semitism as outlined in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism.
"Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews," reads the IHRA definition. "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."
Outside groups, however, argue that the IHRA definition is errant. The American Civil Liberties Union, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Council on American Islamic Relations on Jan. 18 asserted that the definition is "dangerously chilling fundamental rights of free speech, freedom of assembly and protest, and academic freedom," per the Examiner.
The ABA has stood by its use of the IHRA definition, pointing to other organizations such as the State Department that also make use of it when addressing the matter.
The specific ABA resolution, however, points to more specific examples such as "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," or targeting Jews in an effort to hold members of that group "collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel," per the outlet.