ORT has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism.
It means our global education network will join the thousands of governments, NGOs, cultural and social movements and organizations around the world which have begun using the definition in recent years.
The IHRA definition states: “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The reference to manifestations includes the targeting of the state of Israel when conceived as a Jewish entity. Other contemporary examples which the IHRA list include anti-Semitism in public life, in the media, schools, workplaces and the religious sphere.
Dan Green, World ORT Director General and CEO, said: “ORT stands against the scourge of anti-Semitism wherever and whenever it appears. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Jewish and non-Jewish communities and organizations worldwide who work to combat this age-old form of hatred.
“We have seen the impact that the adoption of the IHRA definition has had globally – from governments to local authorities and from sporting bodies to social movements – and we are proud to similarly adopt this tool which can be used practically to identify and combat anti-Semitism.”
At ORT we know only too well the threat posed by anti-Semitism. Now reaching 300,000 people a year in more than 30 countries, we previously operated in the most trying of circumstances under anti-Semitic regimes.
During the Second World War and the Shoah, ORT staff bravely worked in ghettoes in Poland and Lithuania and in internment camps in France. Half of the ORT students from our school in Berlin escaped to Britain in 1939, but their classmates and teachers who could not follow them continued their education at the heart of Nazi Germany until 1943 and their ultimate transportation to Auschwitz. Later ORT ran vocational training in Displaced Persons (DP) camps and helped refugees and survivors who had fled Nazi oppression.
Remembering that time, and educating the world about it, has always remained a mission close to our hearts.
World ORT is also a partner in the Anti-Semitism Initiative run by the US-based Conference of Presidents. As part of that initiative, the Conference of Presidents is reconstituting a task force with working groups to focus on specific areas of anti-Semitism, including extremism online and on social media, hatred on university campuses and physical security of Jewish groups worldwide.
The IHRA works to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance and was formed in 1998. Since adopting its definition of anti-Semitism in May 2016, countless others around the world have adopted what has become acknowledged as the international standard for those working to combat Jew-hate.