Following the signing into law today of HB 1606, which adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, Virginia’s Jewish Communities issued the following joint statement:
“With today’s ceremonial bill signing, Virginia joins 29 other states and the District of Columbia in adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism as an educational tool to identify and combat antisemitism. The Virginia Jewish Communities of Northern Virginia, the Peninsula, Richmond and Tidewater are grateful for the partnerships that unified our communities as we educated our elected representatives about Jewish identity, antisemitism, and the value of the IHRA definition as a tool for combating the hatred of Jews. These partnerships will continue to benefit our communities for years.
“We especially appreciate our elected representatives in the Executive Branch and the General Assembly learning about the IHRA definition and engaging with our communities about the rising problem of antisemitism. We know that a definition alone will not erase antisemitism, but it is an important step affirming that the Commonwealth will not tolerate anti-Jewish hate.
“We also appreciate the proclamations by the Governor and the General Assembly recognizing May as Jewish American Heritage Month, which celebrates the contributions of American Jews to our nation’s history and our present-day influences.
“As the Virginia Communities, we are committed to building bipartisan partnerships concerning issues critical to the well-being and safety of the 150-plus Jewish organizations, agencies and synagogues that we represent. Moving forward, we urge elected officials from both sides of the aisle to join us in this bipartisan approach, as antisemitism can never be an issue that divides us along political lines.”