Albania Joins Global Efforts to Combat Anti-Semitism

TIRANA, Albania (AP) -

The Albanian parliament on Thursday passed a resolution joining global efforts to combat anti-Semitism.

The parliament unanimously voted to approve the definition of anti-Semitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), becoming the second majority-Muslim country to adopt it after Kosovo.

The definition describes hate speech and other acts that discriminate against the Jewish people or the state, their properties or religious objects.

The New York-based Combat Anti-Semitism movement called Albania’s act a “landmark decision” and urged other countries to join it.

“At a time when anti-Semitism is increasing across the world, the IHRA definition has never been more important. Not only does it spell out exactly what Jew-hatred looks like, but adopting IHRA’s definition makes clear that anti-Semitism has no place in free, democratic and tolerant societies such as Albania,” said CAM’s head, Sacha Roytman-Dratwa.

Nazi German forces occupied Albania from September 1943 until November 1944, when they were pushed out by local communist partisans. However, Albania boasts that it was the only country where no Jews were killed or handed over to the Nazis.

The country’s Jewish population rose from 200 before World War II to more than 3,000 by its end as Albanians protected their Jewish friends, and helped other Jews who fled from Germany and Austria by either smuggling them abroad or hiding them at home.

A small Jewish community living in Albania left the country for Israel just after the fall of the communist regime in 1991.

Next week, the first ever Balkans Forum Against Anti-Semitism will be held in Albania.