Switzerland adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism

The Swiss Federal Council, the country’s executive organ, has adopted the working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

The Federal Council acknowledged this in a report on the IHRA definition upon request by a Paul Rechsteiner, a member of the Council of States, the country’s upper house of Parliament.

In this report, the Federal Council recognises the value and practical relevance of the IHRA’s legally non-binding working definition. The Federal Council further emphasises that the IHRA working definition must also be interpreted in its respective context of application. Accordingly, all governmental and non-governmental actors involved are called upon to deal with the working definition and the related debate in greater depth.

In its report, the Federal Council laid out a catalogue of measures to combat antisemitism and racism more comprehensively in Switzerland. The Federal Council wants to assume a coordinating role and create a framework so that synergies can be used in the best possible way and a nationwide strategy can be developed.

The Federal Council also called on the responsible actors at all levels of government to take note of the report and to implement the recommendations on measures against antisemitism in their areas of responsibility.

The Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG/FCSI), the country’s EJC affiliate,  welcomed the report in a joint statement with the Platform of Liberal Jews of Switzerland (PLJS), praising its nuanced examination of the topic.

“It is very pleasing that the Federal Council also wants to strengthen measures against antisemitism and racism. Both umbrella organizations continue offer their expertise on this issue and are open to cooperation in specific fields of action,” the statement read.


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