(Friday, May 10 2019) The European Jewish Congress (EJC) welcomes the announcement by the Islamic Religious Authority in Austria (IGGÖ) to endorse the working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

In a statement on social media the IGGÖ declared: “It is very important for our President, Ümit Vural, not to leave the Austrian Jewish community alone in the fight against antisemitism. For this reason we will henceforth endorse the IHRA definition of antisemitism.”

The announcement followed a meeting on March 6th 2019 between IGGÖ President Vural and Oskar Deutsch, the President of the Austrian Jewish community and the country’s EJC affiliate. At the meeting, Mr. Vural presented Mr. Deutsch with a Sarajevo Haggadah.

“We discussed similarities and shared interests, as well as the problem of antisemitism in the Muslim community and the role of certain organisations in spreading it. President Vural is open to our concerns and he takes them seriously” said Mr. Deutsch. “Just as we cannot ignore the underlying tensions, we must never generalise. This applies to every person regardless of religious denomination.”

“It is extremely encouraging that the Muslim community in Austria has taken the lead in the fight against antisemitism and I hope many organisations will follow suit,” said EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor. “As the holy month of Ramadan begins, I extend my best wishes to the Muslim community in Austria and across the world. May we join forces against antisemitism, anti-Muslim hatred and all kinds of hatred and extremism.”

The IHRA working definition of antisemitism is a comprehensive, legally non-binding document, which has been endorsed by over 15 countries, the European Parliament and European Council and other governmental and non-governmental organisations worldwide. The definition includes illustrative examples of instances where criticism of the State of Israel can be regarded as antisemitism.