The Albanian parliament’s unanimous endorsement of the IHRA definition came ahead of the first ever Balkans Forum Against Anti-Semitism.
Albanians ‘’have more reasons to be proud’’ because their country is on the only country in Europe where all Jews were taken under protection and rescued during WWII, said Gramoz Ruci, Speaker of the Albanian parliament.
‘’Our homeland, Albania, in difficult times has served as a substitute soil for Jews,” he said.
Albania became Thursday the first Muslim country to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism.
The definition agreed by IHRA, an inter-governmental organization including 34 member countries, is an internationally agreed classification of anti-Semitism. Not only is it a clear, succinct statement, but also an effective tool with which to measure and counter anti-Semitism.
The Albanian parliament’s unanimous endorsement of the IHRA definition came just before the parliament, in partnership with the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement and the Jewish Agency for Israel, host the first ever Balkans Forum Against Anti-Semitism.
This conference, which will take place on 28 October, aims to create a united front for Balkans countries to work together against anti-Semitism.
Participants will include Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama, the Speakers of Parliament from Albania, Kosovo and North Macedonia, as well as officials from United Nations, United States, United Kingdom and Israel.
“It is good news that we, the Albanians and the peoples of the Western Balkans, a region that has suffered more than any other part of the world, the consequences of ethno-centrist and religious-centrist views and attitudes, join this emancipatory action of contemporary civilization: the fight against anti-Semitism,” said Gramoz Ruci, Speaker of the Albanian parliament.
He said that Albanians ‘’have more reasons to be proud’’ because their country is on the only country in Europe where all Jews were taken under protection and rescued during WWII. ‘’Our homeland, Albania, in difficult times has served as a substitute soil for Jews,” he said.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama recently inaugurated a monument in the capital Tirana in memory of the Holocaust and in honor of the Righteous Among the Nations from the Albanian people.
Isaac Herzog, Chairman of the Jewish Agency, congratulated the Albanian government on the significant step it has taken in the fight against anti-Semitism.
‘’The adoption of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is the most important and effective tool currently in place in the international arena to take practical action against the scourge of anti-Semitism,’’ he said.
Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, Director of the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement declared: ‘’At a time when anti-Semitism is increasing across the world, the IHRA definition has never been more important. Not only does it spell out exactly what Jew-hatred looks like, but adopting IHRA’s definition makes clear that anti-Semitism has no place in free, democratic and tolerant societies such as Albania.’’
He expressed the hope that Albania’s decision will also be a catalyst for others to follow suit.