Bellevue adopts internationally recognized definition of antisemitism

Bellevue is the first city in the Pacific Northwest to adopt this definition, according to AJC.

The internationally recognized definition of antisemitism, which has been adopted by more than 800 nations, was also adopted by the city of Bellevue on October 3. According to the American Jewish Committee (AJC), Bellevue is the first city in the Pacific Northwest to adopt this definition.

AJC, a global Jewish advocacy organization, assisted the city with crafting the original draft for the antisemitism definition which is from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

The IHRA definition reads:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilties.”

Regina Sassoon Friedland, AJC regional director of Seattle, said the IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism is a resource that describes antisemitism in the many forms it manifests.

“A fundamental step in combating the alarming surge in antisemitic incidents is to be able to define what antisemitism is, both in overt acts and through unconscious bias,” said Friedland.

The 2021 State of Antisemitism in America report from AJC found that 90% of American Jews surveyed believe that antisemitism is a serious problem, while about 25% of those surveyed said they have experienced or been the victims of antisemitism.

The report also found that 39% of American Jews surveyed said they changed their behavior to avoid being identified as Jewish, including self-censoring comments on social media; not wearing a yarmulke or Star of David in public.

“Bellevue is a leader in Washington by taking this vital step against Jew-hatred,” said Friedland. “We look forward to other municipalities in the region adopting the IHRA definition and stand up to hate.”