We need principles, not rules, to fight antisemitism: the IHRA definition and the politics of defining racism
fight antisemitism: the IHRA definition and the politics of defining racism
The definition of antisemitism proposed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) in May 2016 and adopted soon thereafter by the UK government has been widely debated, first in the UK, and then across Europe and North America.
The debate has been accompanied by many heated discussions around what does and does not constitute antisemitism, particularly in connection with the definition’s adoption by the Labour Party in September 2018.
Yet, in the heat of argument, little has been said about the implications of defining racism for legal and quasi-legal purposes, or about the difficulty of separating the two domains from each other.
In August 2018, I published the first extended scholarly critique of the IHRA definition: “Legal Form and Legal Legitimacy: The IHRA Definition of Antisemitism as a Case Study in Censored Speech.”