Johnson County Board of County Commissioners adopts formal definition of antisemitism

Johnson County logo on wooden podium

Today, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution formally adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism while recognizing an increasing number of incidents in the region and the nation.

The resolution is not legally binding, but helps to spread awareness and education of the issue.

“Antisemitism has no place in Johnson County, and it is contrary to the values of a democratic society,” said Mike Kelly, chairman of the Board of County Commissioners. “With this action today, we hope that more of our residents will be able to identify this increasingly prevalent issue when it occurs and take steps to combat it.”

Commissioners passed the resolution after hearing a presentation last week from the Jewish Community Relations Bureau | American Jewish Committee on the issue that put forward the definition for consideration.

“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,” the IHRA working definition reads.

The county joins four cities in Johnson County and other state and local governments who have passed similar measures, including the city of Kansas City, Missouri, and the state of Kansas.

Learn more about the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

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