- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 1, 2022

A unanimous Montgomery County Council on Tuesday passed a non-binding resolution affirming an internationally recognized definition of antisemitism and condemning anti-Jewish hatred.

The council affirmed the “working definition” of antisemitism prepared by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). It states that antisemitism “is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

The council’s resolution included a statement saying “criticism of Israeli government policies or actions does not constitute antisemitism.”

However, officials at the Council on American-Islamic Relations criticized the move. The group, which says it opposes antisemitism, said the IHRA definition is being “weaponized” against critics of Israel’s government.

“The definition being used to explain what antisemitism is strips free speech protections from constituents in Montgomery County to protect a political interest in a foreign government that is currently under investigation by the U.N. as of last week, according to reports, for charges of apartheid,” Zainab Chaudry, director of CAIR’s Maryland office, said in a telephone interview. “This shows that the council members are not prioritizing the democratic process or valuing their constituents equally.”

The Washington Times has contacted spokespersons for the county council for comment on CAIR’s criticism.

About 10% of the county’s 1.05 million residents are Jewish, accounting for 45% of Maryland’s Jewish population, according to census estimates. The Montgomery County Police Department has reported 32 anti-Jewish offenses this year, accounting for 26% of the county’s bias-motivated crimes.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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