IHRA definition of anti-Semitism


Sir, – Dismissing widely held misgivings about the suitability and inevitable weaponisation of the  International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism, Teresa Trainor (Letters, December 3rd) emphasises that the definition allows for “criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country”.

However, given that the Israeli state fails to adhere to internationally recognised borders, maintains one of the world’s longest-running military occupations, and stands accused by multiple human rights organisations of apartheid, the stipulation that human rights activists can only criticise its ideology, expansionism and atrocities in a manner “similar to that levelled against any other country” is absurd.

The effect of the definition would be to hamstring any serious challenge to the Israeli state’s apartheid policies.

Ms Trainor dismisses the concern that the IHRA working definition damages the “ability of pro-Palestinian activists to campaign”. In fact, the definition’s lead author, Kenneth S Stern, has already noted its weaponisation elsewhere, describing its impact on university campuses as “chilling and McCarthy-like” and warning of it being used to “hunt political speech”.

Taken along with its controversial accompanying examples, the working definition denies freedom of expression – a fundamental human right – and must be resolutely rejected as the basis for legislation in this country. – Yours, etc.



Dublin 4.