Agudath Israel of America applauds the Kentucky legislature’s unanimous adoption last week of the working definition of anti-Semitism formulated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) in 2016. Kentucky is the first state to do so.


The action follows a recent letter from Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who averred that the Biden Administration “enthusiastically embraces” the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism.


The IHRA’s working definition of anti-Semitism is groundbreaking, as it gives organizations and governments a baseline for identifying anti-Semitism. Notably, it provides concrete examples of anti-Semitic tropes that involve conspiracy theories, control, and dehumanization, among others. It also recognizes that ostensibly anti-Israel speech is often actually anti-Semitism, and defines the acceptable limits of political discourse when it comes to Israeli and Jewish affairs.


“Agreeing on what is anti-Semitism,” said Rabbi A.D. Motzen, National Director of State Relations of Agudath Israel, “is the first step towards combatting it. What Kentucky has done here, as the first state to adopt the definition, is noteworthy.”


“Agudath Israel has endorsed, in the past, the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act which includes this very definition,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Executive Vice President of Agudath Israel, “and in a time of rising anti-Semitism, we appreciate these steps by the Biden Administration and the Kentucky legislature. We encourage other states to follow Kentucky’s lead.”