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Conference of Presidents Commends Biden Administration Department of Education for Reaffirming Commitment to IHRA Antisemitism Definition

Dianne Lob, Chair, and William Daroff, CEO, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, issued the following statement:

We commend the Biden Administration and U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for their commitment to addressing the dramatic increase in antisemitic incidents on campus, affirming that the application of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism remains an important tool in the administration’s efforts to combat the pernicious challenges of Jew-hatred.

The January 4th OCR fact sheet, Protecting Students from Discrimination Based on Shared Ancestry or Ethnic Characteristics, provides guidance reinforcing the obligations schools have to protect students from discrimination based on shared ancestry or ethnicity on their campuses. We are heartened that Assistant Education Secretary Catherine Lhamon used the release of the fact sheet as an opportunity to confirm their commitment to enforcing the previous administration’s Executive Order on Combating Antisemitism, which incorporates the IHRA definition.

The IHRA definition is the most authoritative and internationally accepted definition of antisemitism to date. Thirty-nine nations, as well as hundreds of local governments, academic institutions, NGOs, and other entities formally adopted in different ways the IHRA definition of antisemitism – including 51 Conference of Presidents member organizations. The further endorsement of IHRA by the Biden administration speaks to its universal acceptance.

We note our disappointment in the 12-month delay in the Department of Education’s promulgation of long-promised regulations to combat antisemitism, but in the interim look forward to engaging with the Department on other efforts to combat antisemitism in academic settings.

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