Hadassah Members Combat Antisemitism Nationwide

March 2, 2023

Hadassah Members Combat Antisemitism Nationwide

Hadassah works to counter antisemitism through education and advocacy and cultivating Zionist identity and pride. Amid rising antisemitism domestically and abroad, Hadassah members are advocating at the state and national levels to adopt a clear definition so that we can stand together against antisemitism across the country. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition, with all 11 accompanying examples, is widely recognized as an essential tool in naming and fighting Jew hatred. It has been adopted by more than 1,000 global entities, including 40 countries and 30 US states.

Thanks in part to Hadassah’s support and advocacy, legislation to adopt the IHRA definition passed the legislature in Virginia and is being advanced in Georgia.

IHRA Definition Advances in Virginia With Hadassah Support

On February 8, Hadassah Richmond Advocacy Chairs Miriam Davidow and Cheri Wolff participated in the Virginia Jewish Advocacy Day to call for the adoption of H.B. 1606, legislation that adopts the IHRA definition in Virginia.

"Adopting the IHRA definition is critical to combating antisemitism — in order to address and combat antisemitism, we must first be able to easily identify and define what it is,” said Davidow. "This is precisely why adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, with all 11 accompanying examples, is so important.”

Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, Hadassah life member and Virginia's first Jewish speaker of the House, was consulted about the bill and was a vocal supporter. "We cannot root out or eliminate antisemitism until we can define it,” she said in a recent floor speech. She voted in support of the bipartisan legislation to ensure it arrived on the governor’s desk.

Hadassah Members Testify in Support of Georgia Bill to Adopt the IHRA Definition

In Georgia, Hadassah members Rachel Schonberger and Simone Wilker spoke at the Georgia House of Representatives in January to support H.B. 30. This bill, sponsored by Hadassah life member and Georgia Rep. Esther Panitch, would adopt the IHRA working definition of antisemitism in Georgia.

Wilker and Schonberger thanked their representatives for supporting Georgia’s 2020 hate crime bill, which allows for enhanced sentencing if a bias threshold is met, and noted that adopting the IHRA definition will help enforce the 2020 hate crime bill.

"The only way you can do it is to define it first,” Wilker testified. "Without that definition in your hand, it’s very hard for law enforcement or other federal or state officials to make that decision.”

Rep. Panitch was a key player in pushing for H.B. 30. She publicly spoke out in support of the bill and shares a passion with Wilker and Schonberger for combating antisemitism.

"As a point of personal privilege, the two women who just spoke belong to Hadassah," said Rep. Panitch during the Judiciary Committee hearing in late January. "I’ve been a proud member all my life. We have always taken a position on issues like this, especially as it relates to antisemitism. I’m proud to be a member and proud to see these women here today.”

Urging Federal Officials to Fight Hate in All Its Forms

Earlier this year, Hadassah CEO Naomi Adler participated in a roundtable discussion with the White House’s Interagency Task Force to Counter Antisemitism, where she encouraged the Biden Administration to address antisemitism in all its forms, as outlined in the IHRA definition. Hadassah continues to encourage all governments, organizations and institutions to adopt the IHRA definition in order to unite against antisemitism.

Take Action Today
Tell Your Legislators: Adopt the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism in Georgia
Tell the White House to Fight All Forms of Antisemitism