European and International Special Envoys to combat antisemitism have co-signed a letter urging the football clubs to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism ‘’in order to strengthen the resolve of the Jewish community and support the international work on combating antisemitism in football.’’
The initiative of this letter came from Lord John Mann, the British government’s adviser on antisemitism.
The IHRA was founded in 1998 and is an alliance of Member States that seek to promote Holocaust remembrance and combat antisemitism. On 26 May 2016, the IHRA adopted a working definition of antisemitism, which has also been formally adopted by the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Hungary, the United States, the European Parliament, and over 30 other countries in line with the recommendations from the United Nations.
The letter noted that many Premier League clubs are adopting the definition and are signing it in public. Chelsea Football Club took the lead and signed it through Chairman Bruce Buck and Frank Lampard. They have been followed by West Ham United, AFC Bournemouth and Borussia Dortmund.
Other national and international clubs have agreed to do so this autumn.
The letter emphasizes that ‘’there has been a rise in antisemitism around the world, which has only been exacerbated by the spread of the Coronavirus.’’ ‘’Antisemitic conspiracies have been used on posters at rallies where protesters have been demonstrating against government restrictions and for the reopening of their countries.’’
The letter adds, ‘’Combating the rise of antisemitism is an ever important priority. Clubs so far have adopted this definition of antisemitism as a statement of their values. It not only sets clear guidelines, but also acts as a specific reference point for employees, stewards, and fans on what is antisemitism. It is a working definition, not a legal definition, meaning its whole purpose is to raise awareness and to be of practical assistance in addressing any incident of antisemitism and in preventing future incidents.’’
‘’Its adoption will of course send out a very strong message about your club’s ethos that will be very warmly received by local and global Jewish communities and especially Jewish football supporters and employees.’’
‘’This message is key for all citizens and football lovers, as antisemitism and all forms of racism and xenophobia constitute an attack on democracy and is contrary to our values of human rights, equality, freedom, respect of human dignity, regardless of identity, origin or belief.’’
As European Commission Coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, Katharina von Schnurbein has joined the initiative and signed the letter.
The letter was also signed by:
Lord John Mann, HM Government’s Independent for Adviser on Antisemitism
Dr Felix Klein, Federal Government Commissioner Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Antisemitism
Elan S. Carr, United States Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Professor
Milena Santerini, National coordinator for the fight against antisemitism in Italy Ambassador
Michaela Küchler, Chair, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
Ahmed Shaheed, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Rabbi
Andrew Baker, Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism Ambassador Alexandru Victor Micula, Special Representative for combating Antisemitism
Szabolcs Takács, Special Envoy of the Government of Hungary on Antisemitism, former Chair of IHRA (2015/16)
Ambassador Jovan Tegovski, Special Envoy on combating Antisemitism – North Macedonia Dr. Ringo Ringvee, Adviser, Estonian Ministry of the Interior
Dr. Efstathios C. Lianos Liantis, Special Envoy on Combating Antisemitism and Preserving Holocaust Remembrance, Head of the Greek Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)
Frédéric Potier, Préfet, National delegate against racism, antisemitism and LGBTphobia (France)