The Argentine Football Association adopted last Thursday the definition of anti-Semitism developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The AFA governs all football activities in Argentina.
The day before, the University of Buenos Aires, the most prestigious university in the country, had done the same.
âWe consider it extremely important that the UBA and the AFA have adopted the definition of anti-Semitism. In the case of football, there are many precedents of concrete discrimination by religion and nationality, among others, and this decision represents a tool to fight against hatred in our main sport â, Victor Garelic, vice-president of the Jewish political umbrella Argentine. DAIA organization, told the Jewish Telegraph Agency.
The IHRA definition calls anti-Semitism “a certain perception of Jews, which can be expressed as hatred towards Jews” which is “directed towards Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and / or their property, towards institutions of the Jewish community and religious establishments â.
But it also includes âDenying the Jewish people their right to self-determinationâ¦ by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist enterpriseâ and âMaking comparisons between contemporary Israeli policy and that of the Nazisâ.
Parts of the definition that include Israel have come under fire in recent years, as some critics have said they stifle freedom of speech for protesters and activists.
Argentina’s football culture has had its share of anti-Semitic controversies in recent years.
In 2018, fans of the Atlanta team were bombarded with chants about “killing Jews to make soap,” likely a reference to the unsubstantiated claim that the Nazis made soap from Jewish corpses.
Earlier this year, a player made an anti-Semitic gesture while leaving the field during a game.
The University of Buenos Aires, which is about to turn 200, has more than 300,000 students in several different schools. Five Nobel Prize winners and 16 Argentine presidents are among its graduates.
âUBA’s adoption of the IHRA definition will be a beacon for other universities across the continent and serve as a bulwark against intolerance and incitement to hatred,â said Shimon Samuels, director of international relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Since 2002, Argentina has been the only Latin American member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The country’s foreign ministry adopted the IHRA definition in 2018.