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Cyprus adopts international anti-Semitism definition, earning praise from Israel

Jerusalem hails shift as an ‘important step’ in combating hatred of Jews; definition allows for criticism of Israeli policies.

Cyprus has adopted a broad definition of anti-Semitism that takes aim at some expressions of anti-Israel sentiment, the Mediterranean island country announced Wednesday.

The decision made Cyprus the 17th country to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism.

“The decision reaffirms the commitment of the Republic of Cyprus to promoting and fostering respect and diversity and to combating all forms of discrimination, racism and xenophobia, including anti-Semitism,” the Cypriot foreign ministry said in a statement.

I welcome the announcement by the Cypriot government of their adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
It is an important step in the fight against all forms of antisemitism, including anti-Zionism.— ישראל כ”ץ Israel Katz (@Israel_katz) December 18, 2019

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition states that various forms of vitriol against Israel, including comparing it to Nazi Germany, are examples of anti-Semitism, though criticizing Israel’s policies is not.

Cyprus also said it has applied for observer status at the IHRA.

Welcoming the decision, Foreign Minister Israel Katz tweeted that it was “an important step in the fight against all forms of anti-Semitism, including anti-Zionism.”

Jewish Agency chair Isaac Herzog also praised the move, as did American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris.

The move by Cyprus comes after Canada adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism earlier this year and Greece said in November it would also do so.

France’s lower house of parliament passed a resolution earlier this month calling on the government to join other European nations in adopting the definition.

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