Victorian Government wrong to adopt IHRA definition of antisemitism

May 12, 2022

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network is outraged at the Victorian Government’s move to endorse the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism.

We completely reject the definition and the appended working examples, as they do little to address antisemitism, and only serve to suppress and punish legitimate criticism of Israel and its ongoing human rights abuses.

The criticism of Israeli apartheid-like policies and actions is not antisemitic, just like the criticism of Australian refugee policy does not make one anti-Australian.

“There is no justification for the Victorian Government rushing through this IHRA endorsement,” APAN President, Bishop George Browning said.

“Scholars, legal experts, human rights groups, and even the definition’s key author have raised concerns about it being adopted by governments.

“The definition has been pushed by particular lobby groups, who use it as a political tool to censor and punish people raising genuine concerns about Israel’s ongoing human right abuses.”

APAN Vice President, Nasser Mashni, says the Victorian Government’s intentional timing is atrocious.

“May 15th is when Palestinians world-wide commemorate the ethnic cleansing they experienced during the founding of Israel, the Nakba,” Mr Mashni said.

“The Government adopting this definition this week, which deliberately seeks to stop human rights advocacy, is disturbing.

“My father was a Palestinian refugee who was dispossessed, and forced to flee at gunpoint in 1948.

“He was able to make a home in Victoria, but to see this government now supporting this statement on the day of his dispossession is highly offensive.”

The IHRA definition, which was endorsed at least partially by the UK and Canada, has been used by governments to threaten funding to universities in those countries unless they also adopt it.

Kenneth Stern, one of the key drafters of the IHRA definition, has also stated it is being used to “restrict academic freedom and punish political speech”.

More information about the IHRA definition, and analysis from experts can be found on our website at

For more information, contact Jarred – [email protected] – 0434 869 088