NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) endorsed the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism and called on the NSW government, opposition and community organisations across the state to adopt the IHRA Working Definition.

November 18, 2021

Following a discussion led by Dame Louise Ellman, Vice President of Britain’s Jewish Leadership Council, who joined the community from England to share her experiences as a politician in the Labour party and her views on antisemitism today.

Jillian Segal , President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry – ECAJ, discussed the situation in Australia and Gabi Stricker- Phelps, Director of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and Public Affairs Coordinator of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS), focused on the application of the Definition in the campus environment.

The IHRA Working Definition has broad community support having been adopted by the Commonwealth Government and Federal Opposition. NSW Parliament has heard from Farlow MLC and Rev Fred Nile MLC supporting the adoption of the IHRA Working Definition at the state level.

JBOD President Lesli Berger said: “This definition has been a long-standing topic of discussion in our community and the emphatic adoption of the motion is a clear sign that the Jewish community is broadly united behind the definition and would strongly welcome its application across NSW.”

CEO Darren Bark added: “We encourage the endorsement of the definition in the public and private sectors, the University sector, schools and broader civil society.”

Speaking in NSW State Parliament on Wednesday, NSW Labor frontbencher and NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel deputy chair Walt Secord welcomed the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

During Private Members’ Statements in the NSW Legislative Council on Wednesday, Mr Secord also praised NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Lesli Berger and NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark for “their tireless efforts in this area”.

Outside NSW Parliament, Mr Secord said this signalled that the IHRA definition was the official position of NSW Jewry.

In State Parliament, he said: “Unfortunately, we are seeing a resurgence of anti‑Semitism around the world. We are having to respond to people flying Nazi flags in New South Wales and swastikas appearing in public places. The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies reported that in 2020 there were 331 anti-Semitic incidents in New South Wales. This is clearly an understatement, as the vast majority of anti-Semitic incidents go unreported.”

In addition, Mr Secord pointed out that Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese was the first major political leader in Australia to commit to the definition. “He did so on 13 July 2021 during a Zoom meeting with the Jewish community, where he also condemned anti‑Semitism, boycotts of Israel, the apartheid slur, and reiterated support for a two‑state solution.”

In the spirit of bipartisanship, Mr Secord referred to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s October 14, 2021 statement, committing Australia to adopting the IHRA definition. This coincided with Australia’s participation in the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Anti‑Semitism, held in Sweden.

He added at the local municipal level, The Greens, Labor and the Liberals at Waverley Council in the eastern suburbs had endorsed the definition of anti‑Semitism.