Focus on the Family is dedicated to commemorating the memory of the Holocaust and combating anti‐Semitism. As part of that effort, President Jim Daly signed on to support a new working definition of anti‐Semitism created by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
“I’m honored to sign the document in support of the Jewish people,” Daly said. “We must never forget.”
This year marks the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz‐Birkenau by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945, and the world first started to learn more about the Nazi program of extermination against the Jewish people.
But the memory of the Holocaust is starting to fade. The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany has published surveys that show a shocking level of American ignorance towards the Holocaust.
In a national survey, 63% of Americans did not know that six million Jews died in the Holocaust, with 36% believing that the number is two million Jews or fewer—and though there were 40,000 ghettos, concentration camps and death camps located throughout Europe, 48% could not name a single one. It’s a sad reflection on the American education system.
This ignorance has encouraged a growing anti‐Semitic movement. Before the coronavirus pandemic, there had been a noticeable increase in attacks and assaults against the Jewish community, especially the Hasidic Jewish community, in New York City. Jews have now become the primary victims of hate‐crimes in the city, with anti‐Semitic crimes jumping 21% in early 2020.
To address this growing and disturbing trend, IHRA, which “unites governments and experts to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance and to uphold the commitments to the 2000 Stockholm Declaration,” is working to provide a new and more definitive definition of anti‐Semitism.
According to the IHRA website, “The IHRA is the only intergovernmental organization mandated to focus solely on Holocaust‐related issues, so with evidence that the scourge of anti‐Semitism is once again on the rise, we resolved to take a leading role in combatting it. IHRA experts determined that in order to begin to address the problem of anti‐Semitism, there must be clarity about what anti-Semitism is.”
To that end, it has published a new working definition of anti‐Semitism: “Anti‐Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward 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 facilities.”
Several nations have signed on to support this definition, including the United States, and now Focus on the Family will follow suit.
What happened between 1933 and 1945 in Germany and beyond under the leadership of the Nazi war machine is unconscionable and one of the greatest violations of human rights and human dignity in the history of mankind. The IHRA is doing what it can to educate and prevent something like the Holocaust from ever happening again.
It’s important that Christians across the country make every effort support the Jewish community and make a stand against anti‐Semitism.
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