The Bulgarian Cabinet has formally adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism. It has also appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Georg Georgiev as National Coordinator for the Fight Against Antisemitism. The definition is clear and detailed, leaving no doubt as to what antisemitism is. In particular, the definition tackles the full spectrum of antisemitism, from ancient slurs to conspiracy myths to antisemitism in discourse about Israel.
In a statement, the Bulgarian Jewish community’s Shalom Organisation said: “For the Bulgarian Jewish community, this is a serious call for an uncompromising attitude towards all actions that overwhelm common values such as tolerance, humanism and respect for human rights. We strongly support the Cabinet decision and wish Georg Georgiev success in his new mission.”
Britain was the first country in the world to adopt the definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism, Sir Eric Pickles and others worked hard over many meetings. Austria became the next national government to adopt the definition, followed by the Romanian government, then the German government, and now the Bulgarian government has done the same.
During the Second World War, Bulgaria was a member of Nazi Germany’s Axis and passed antisemitic legislation which barred Jews in territories under Bulgarian control in northern Greece and parts of Yugoslavia from holding citizenship. 11,000 Jews in those territories were handed over to Nazi Germany by the Bulgarian government, prompting a popular outcry throughout Bulgarian society, led by the Orthodox Church, opposition politicians and intellectuals. The outcry from Bulgarians was so fierce that the Bulgarian government stopped dead plans to round up and hand over Jews in Bulgaria-proper.
Image credit: Edward Crompton