SWC Calls On Attorney General Garland to Adopt IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism at Department of Justice

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022 – In a letter to Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Associate Dean and Global Social Action Director, Rabbi Abraham Cooper is calling on the US Justice Department to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and to incorporate it into its training. This comes on the heels of Saturday’s standoff at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, during which Malik Faisal Akram held the synagogue’s rabbi and three others hostage for almost 11 hours. 

“We want to express our gratitude and admiration for the heroic actions taken by the special FBI unit flown in from Washington, which eliminated the Islamist terrorist who threatened to kill Jews at prayer on a Sabbath morning,” stated Cooper.

The letter added: “At the same time, we were shocked when FBI spokespeople inexplicably, initially declared that this terrorist act was not targeting Jews. These declarations were not backed by the facts on the ground, as well as the well-documented raving anti-Semitism expressed by the terrorist he was seeking to have released. To be clear, it wasn’t a mall or McDonald’s that was the chosen target, but Jews at prayer. Those statements have hurt the reputation of the FBI and enraged and worried our community.”

Cooper urged Garland to “instruct everyone under the jurisdiction of the US Justice Department to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and to incorporate it into its training.”

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance’s Tools for Tolerance has for decades and until this day, provided training for over 160,000 law enforcement professionals across the US. We are willing and able to help the Justice Department upgrade its training and invite you, General Garland, to visit our renowned Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles,” concluded Cooper.

For further information, please email Michele Alkin, Director of Global Communications at malkin@wiesenthal.com or Shawn Rodgers at srodgers@wiesenthal.com, join the Center on Facebook, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international Jewish human rights organization numbering over 400.000 members. It holds consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO).

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