City of Tacoma announcement.
TACOMA, Wash. – On Dec. 20, the Tacoma City Council adopted Resolution 41104, which aligns the City of Tacoma’s working definition of antisemitism with one established by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA):
“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.”
After consulting with leaders at Temple Beth El and the Tacoma Jewish community, Resolution 41104 was brought forward by Council Member Sarah Rumbaugh for Council consideration. It was co-sponsored by Mayor Victoria Woodards and Council Member Olgy Diaz.
“Adopting this definition at the City of Tacoma shows our community that their public institutions are committed to addressing antisemitism and creating a welcoming environment for people of all faiths and backgrounds, including our Jewish community,” said Council Member Rumbaugh. “We will not stand silent in the face of hatred and oppression.”
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) was involved in the original drafting of the IHRA’s working definition 14 years ago and continues to urge governments to adopt it.
“At a time of surging antisemitic incidents and rhetoric, we are grateful that the City of Tacoma has taken this proactive measure in unequivocally stating that antisemitism will not be tolerated,” said AJC Regional Director Regina Friedland. “A foundational step in combatting antisemitism, is to clearly define and understand what it is. It is critically important to understand that antisemitism is multidimensional, manifesting in different forms. In its adoption and utilization of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, Tacoma provides this needed guidance in identifying, combatting, and monitoring antisemitism and hate speech.”
“Tacoma is a compassionate, welcoming city and that is what strengthens the social fabric that connects us,” said Mayor Woodards. “I am proud to stand alongside Council Member Rumbaugh, Council Member Diaz and my Council colleagues in adopting Resolution 41104 to send a clear message that, in the City of Destiny, we will not tolerate hatred in any form.”
“Antisemitism has left an awful legacy in this country and across Europe, and I am dismayed to see its resurgence today,” said Council Member Diaz. “An attack on one community is an attack on all of us. Tonight, with the adoption of Resolution 41104, we took a stand against hate and declared that it has no place in our city. I commend Council Member Rumbaugh for bringing forward this resolution, and I am proud to co-sponsor it along with Mayor Woodards.”
As of November 2022, 30 states and the District of Columbia either through proclamation, executive order, or legislation, are using or have recognized the importance of the IHRA definition.
Each year, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Center on Extremism tracks incidents of antisemitic harassment, vandalism and assault in the United States. Since 1979 they have published this information in an annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. In 2021, ADL tabulated 2,717 antisemitic incidents across the United States. This represents a 34 percent increase from the 2,026 incidents recorded in 2020 and is the highest number on record since ADL began tracking antisemitic incidents in 1979. The ADL also identified high rates of antisemitic incidents in Washington state in 2020 and 2021.