The Arlington County Board has received praise from the American Jewish Committee (AJC) for adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism.
But not everyone is thrilled with the vote.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), while not directly addressing the Arlington board’s vote, on July 24 praised the Montgomery County (Md.) Council for pulling back on adoption of a similar resolution.
Adoption of the resolution “would stifle free speech and make it more difficult to criticize the Israeli government’s policies of apartheid against the Palestinian people,” said Zainab Chaudry, director of CAIR’s Maryland branch.
Arlington County Board members passed a resolution in support of the language in June during a sparsely attended afternoon meeting with no public input.
In it, antisemitism is defined as: “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.”
The IHRA Working Definition has been adopted by 37 national governments, including the U.S., as well as 27 state governments, including Virginia’s.
But critics contend the measure is vague and ambiguous, has been “weaponized” to stifle free speech and should not be government policy.