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Serbia Adopted International Antisemitism Definition

Serbia has become the second country in the Euro-Asian region to adopt the working definition of antisemitism developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, IHRA.

President of the Jewish community of Sombor (Serbia), a member of the Board of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Sandra Papo Fisher said that Serbia accepted the working definition of antisemitism in February 2020. However, the news was officially announced only in May, when the state of coronavirus emergency was lifted. The Republic of Serbia is the 11th country in the world to adopt the IHRA definition.

“30.000 Jews lived in Serbia before World War II, only one-third of them survived. Today, around 2.500 Jews live in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Zrenjanin, Sombor, Pancevo, Kikinda, Nis, and some other cities. In 2016, Serbia was the first country in Europe to adopt a law on remedying the consequences of seizure of assets of Holocaust victims with no living legal heirs”, – said Sandra Papo Fisher.

“We welcome the decision of the Serbian authorities and appreciate that countries of the Euro-Asian region are starting to adopt the working definition of antisemitism. The Euro-Asian Jewish Congress is engaged in the dialogue regarding the IHRA definition with Ukrainian authorities and in the process of appeal to other governments of the region. The state leaders need to take a firm position to prevent further escalation of antisemitism in the region“, said Director General of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Dr. Haim Ben Yaakov.

The IHRA definition is non-legally binding (i.e., does not create legal obligations) and provides a realistic, non-ideological approach to the task of identifying antisemitism from the moment it is adopted by the state.

Moldova is the first country in the Euro-Asian region that has adopted the IHRA definition in January 2019.