Ukraine must adopt IHRA's international definition of anti-Semitism – Boris Lozhkin
There is practically no anti-Semitism in current Ukraine, says Boris Lozhkin, President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine. However, in order to fully prevent manifestations of intolerance, Ukraine needs to join the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Lozhkin said this in the interview given to Yevreyskiy Obozrevatel (Jewish Observer).
"Since 2016, a common legal definition of anti-Semitism, developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) has been in effect in the world,"Lozhkin said. The number of countries that have adopted this definition has been constantly growing. In October, it was adopted in Albania; in November, even the Global Imams Council, the most reputed association of Muslim leaders, joined. Ukraine has not become a member of the IHRA yet.”
When Ukraine adopts the IHRA definition, it is possible that the statistics of manifestations of anti-Semitism will also change. The data are unlikely to significantly change, Lozhkin believes, but the very fact of adopting a civilized definition of anti-Semitism will have a positive impact on Ukraine's international image. "All the facts would have been at least recorded and prosecuted according to the internationally recognized procedure, and we would have eliminated any possible dubious interpretations,"added Lozhkin.
Today, according to Lozhkin, Ukraine has one of the lowest rates of intolerance towards Jews in the world.
"At the Kyiv Jewish Forum in September, US Special Envoy to monitor and combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr cited research data from the reputed international company Pew Research – 83% of the population in Ukraine view Jews favorably. This is the highest rate in the world,"the JCU President said.
However, isolated incidents do occur. Lozhkin recalled the recent destruction of the festive Hanukkah Menorah in Kyiv on Kontraktova Square: "The vandal was not even hiding his face, recording an openly anti-Semitic speech on camera, and then also posted this video on the social network – clear evidence of the crime.”
However, Lozhkin said that according to the current legislation, law enforcement authorities qualified this crime not as anti-Semitism, but as hooliganism. If Ukraine joined the IHRA, the dubious interpretation of this incident would have been ruled out.
As a reminder, the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine held online in September the second international Kyiv Jewish Forum that gathered an audience of 83 thousand people from all over the world.