Arizona adopts the International Definition of Antisemitism
The State of Arizona has adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism.
On 19th April, Amendment HB 2675, known as the “Arizona Holocaust Education Bill”, passed the state legislature by 49 votes to 3.
The bill, which requires Arizona’s schools to teach about the Holocaust and other genocides on at least two occasions between seventh and twelfth grades, was originally introduced in January 2020, but was delayed by Arizona State Senator Paul Boyer, who wanted to include the Definition.
Jews have been a part of life in Arizona since the 1860s. According to a 2020 study, the state’s Jewish population was 108,075, making up 1.5 percent of a total population of over seven million.
Arizona has not been free of antisemitism. In January 2022, police in Tucson arrested a man in connection with the vandalism of the Kol Ami Synagogue. In November 2021, far-right influencer Tim Gionet, also known as “Baked Alaska”, was charged with damaging a Chanukah display at the Arizona Capitol building in Phoenix the year before. Also in 2021, a woman who identified herself as Melanie Rettler went on an antisemitic tirade at a school board meeting in a Phoenix suburb but her comments went unchallenged.
Sen. Boyer said: “Passing the bill without the IHRA [International] Definition would leave our legislative intent unfulfilled and vulnerable to exploitation.”
Britain was the first country in the world to adopt the International Definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism and Lord Pickles worked hard over many meetings with officials at Downing Street. Since then, numerous local councils, universities and sport associations in the United Kingdom have adopted the Definition, as have several national governments and myriad municipalities and associations around the world.
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