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AIJAC welcomes establishment of IHRA Parliamentary Friendship Group

Oct 28, 2022 | AIJAC

Labor MP Josh Burns speaking at the launch of the IHRA Parliamentary Friendship Group
Labor MP Josh Burns speaking at the launch of the IHRA Parliamentary Friendship Group

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has warmly welcomed the creation of the Parliamentary Friends of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which was officially launched at the Federal Parliament in Canberra yesterday. The nonpartisan group is co-chaired by Labor MP Josh Burns, Liberal MP and Shadow Attorney-General Julian Leeser and Independent MP Allegra Spender, and will discuss and promote issues relating to Holocaust education and fighting antisemitism.

AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein said, “We are very grateful to the three MPs who undertook this timely and important initiative, Josh Burns, Julian Leeser, and Allegra Spender. Antisemitism has become a growing scourge across the world, and IHRA, including its landmark working definition of antisemitism, is one of the best tools we have to fight back against it, as our parliamentarians have recognised.

“The friendship group’s planned first action, writing to universities to call attention to the growing problem of antisemitism on campus and urging the adoption of the IHRA working definition as part of the strategy to combat it, is a great example of the effective and positive work that this new body can undertake,” Rubenstein added.

AIJAC Director of International and Community Affairs Jeremy Jones – who as a guest of the Chair, was one of the first Australians invited to attend and observe a formal meeting of IHRA and also had a role in drafting the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism, a precursor to the IHRA definition – called the creation of the new group a “potential watershed moment”, adding, “It’s really positive that so many members of Parliament are seeing the utility of this working definition as a tool for fighting antisemitism, and are working to see it implemented across government departments and public institutions in an effective way.”

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