UK leader introduces official definition of anti-Semitism

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May introduced an official definition for anti-Semitism on Monday in hopes of curbing attacks against Jewish people.

“It means there will be one definition of anti-Semitism — in essence, language or behavior that displays hatred towards Jews because they are Jews — and anyone guilty of that will be called out on it,” May said.

Jewish organizations praised the step at a time when attacks are on the rise. The groups said a clear language would make it easier to demonstrate when actions are anti-Semitic.

The definition states that “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

While the definition has no binding legal effect, Jewish rights groups hope it will be used by courts and other government institutions. May adopted the analysis of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which hopes the definition will be accepted globally.

Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, “warmly welcomed’ the decision.

“With anti-Semitism on the rise, it has become essential to have a clear definition against which to assess attitudes that are or may be racist,” he said in a statement.


This story has been corrected from an earlier version to show the correct spelling of Prime Minister Theresa May’s first name.