JUSTICE - No. 68

20 No. 68 JUSTICE n 2022, Iowa became the first state in the United States to pass a statewide law adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.1 The law, which is based on a model bill I drafted,2 requires authorities to use the definition ‒ the only internationally accepted definition of antisemitism ever drafted ‒ when assessing the motivation behind illegal discriminatory conduct. This is an important development because although antisemitism is rising across the country,3 most U.S. citizens neither understand nor are aware of what antisemitism is.4 One cannot fight antisemitism using legal tools if one cannot define it clearly, because otherwise there is no objective way to determine if a line has been crossed. This law provides authorities with a tool to do just that. By the time it was passed, versions of the bill were also pending in Georgia,5 Tennessee,6 New Jersey,7 and Arizona,8 and several other states are also considering such legislation. South Carolina9 and Florida10 have already adopted the IHRA definition for use in their education systems. Twenty states in the U.S. have endorsed the definition in some fashion.11 As the rate of antisemitic incidents continues to rise across the country,12 and as more states move to pass these “antisemitism” laws with wide bipartisan support, it is important to be clear what the IHRA definition is; why these laws make use of it; and how this type of legislation can better protect the Jewish community. The IHRA Definition The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is an intergovernmental organization whose purpose is “to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance worldwide and to uphold the commitments of the 2000 Stockholm Declaration13 and the 2020 Ministerial Declaration14 by bringing together governments and experts.15 As “the only intergovernmental organization mandated to focus solely on Holocaust-related issues,” and “with evidence that the scourge of antisemitism is once again on the rise” in the early 2000s, IHRA experts resolved to take a leading role in combatting antisemitism. They determined that “in order to begin to address the problem of antisemitism, The New Antisemitism Bills in the United States: A Practical and Legal Analysis I MarkGoldfeder 1. https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook ?ba=HF2220&ga=89&utm_medium=email&utm_ source=govdelivery 2. Mark Goldfeder, “Defining Antisemitism,” SETON HALL L. REV. Vol. 52(1) (2021), Art. 3, available at https:// scholarship.shu.edu/shlr/vol52/iss1/3. This essay is an elaboration of this article, with a focus on the practical application of the theory discussed therein. 3. https://adl.org/resources/press-release/adl-audit-findsantisemitic-incidents-united-states-reached-all-time-high 4. https://www.sun-sentinel.com/florida-jewish-journal/ fl-jj-surveys-half-americans-dont-know-what-anti-semitismmeans-20201027-zfwdhpilyjaklkzy4icuhohn2m-story.html 5. https://www.legis.ga.gov/api/legislation/document /20212022/205570 6. https://legiscan.com/TN/bill/HB2673/2021 7. https://trackbill.com/bill/new-jersey-senate-bill-2434establishes-state-definition-of-anti-semitism/2248253/ 8. https://trackbill.com/bill/arizona-house-bill-2819educational-institutions-discrimination-religion-antisemitism/2223106/ 9. https://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess123_2019-2020/ prever/5287_20200225.htm 10. https://www.flsenate.gov/Committees/billsummaries /2019/html/1937 11. https://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/jns/kansaslegislature-adopts-ihra-working-definition-of-antisemitism/article_487c68e4-4332-5dbb-b223-df41371af3da. html 12. See https://www.kcur.org/news/2022-04-07/kansas-citysyoung-jews-worry-about-their-safety-as-antisemiticincidents-hit-historic-highs; and https://www.adl.org/ what-we-do/anti-semitism/antisemitism-in-the-us 13. https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/about-us/ stockholm-declaration 14. https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/about-us/2020ihra-ministerial-declaration 15. https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/worldremembers-holocaust