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Serbia’s Education Ministry Adds International Holocaust Group’s Definition of Anti-Semitism to Website

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June 3, 2020
GUCA, SERBIA – AUGUST 12: A man draped in the Serbian flag looks on as a woman tries on a hat during the Guca Trumpet Festival on August 12, 2017 in Guca, Serbia. Thousands of revellers attend the trumpet festival, held annually since 1961 in the small, central Serbian town of Guca. The free event is a celebration of Balkan music with dozens of orchestras and solo trumpeters taking part in the festival’s main competition. During the festival wild street parties take place throughout the night as brass bands parade and play for tips to the thousands of visitors in the town’s restaurants, bars and pop-up tents. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

(JTA) — The Education Ministry of Serbia has added to its website a definition of anti-Semitism that includes some examples of hatred against Israel.

The ministry uploaded the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA, to the site on April 30.

On Monday, the Israeli Embassy in Belgrade offered its congratulations on Twitter to the Serbian government “for adopting the IHRA definition.”

Serbia is a close ally of Russia, which has not adopted the definition.

Eleven countries have been said to adopt the definition.

In France, the adoption was put to a vote, which was passed in December. In the United Kingdom, the government announced in 2016 that it was adopting the measure.

The definition states that some forms of vitriol against Israel, including comparing it to Nazi Germany and denying the Jewish people’s right to self determination, are examples of anti-Semitism, though criticizing Israel’s policies is not.

“The purpose of this document is to provide a practical guide for identifying and collecting data on anti-Semitic incidents,” the Serbian Education Ministry’s website reads.

Pro-Palestinian activists oppose the IHRA definition, claiming it prevents criticism of Israel’s policies or unduly limits free speech.

The definition features mostly examples of anti-Semitic behaviors unconnected to Israel, such as calling to harm Jews or denying the Holocaust.

Manifestations of anti-Semitism, the new definition reads, “might include the targeting of the State of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity,” though “criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.”

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