Definitions of Antisemitism

 

Recently, there have been a number of efforts to define antisemitism that could be used for legal purposes in various jurisdictions. In some cases these proposed definitions have been controversial, often because of the examples sometimes provided to illustrate possible appplications of the definition. This list provides some of these suggested definitions. 

 

International Holocaust Rembrance Alliance (May 26, 2016)

“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.”

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The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (March 25, 2021) 

"Antisemitism is discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish)." 

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The Nexus Document (February 2021) 

Understanding Antisemitism At Its Nexus With Israel And Zionism

"Antisemitism consists of anti-Jewish beliefs, attitudes, actions or systemic conditions. It includes negative beliefs and feelings about Jews, hostile behavior directed against Jews (because they are Jews), and conditions that discriminate against Jews and significantly impede their ability to participate as equals in political, religious, cultural, economic, or social life.

"As an embodiment of collective Jewish organization and action, Israel is a magnet for and a target of antisemitic behavior. Thus, it is important for Jews and their allies to understand what is and what is not antisemitic in relation to Israel." 

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Helen Fein, "Dimensions of Antisemitism: Attitudes, Collective Accusations, and Actions"

in The Persisting Question: Sociological Perspectives and Social Contexts of Modern Antisemitism, ed. Helen Fein (Berlin: DeGruyter, 1987), 67.

"A persisting latent structure of hostile beliefs towards Jews as a collectivity manifested in individuals as attitudes, and in culture as myth, ideology, folklore, and imagery, and in actions—social or legal discrimination, political mobilization against Jews, and collective or state violence—which results in and/or is designed to distance, displace, or destroy Jews as Jews."  [Italics in the original.] 

ESSAY EXCERPT WITH EXPLANATION 

 

Concerned Jewish Faculty, "Statement from Concerned Jewish Faculty Against Antisemitism" (May 3, 2024) 

A statement with over 1200 signatories opposing legislation based on the IHRA definition: "The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition conflates criticism of Israel with antisemitism. This definition hardens the dangerous notion that Jewish identity is inextricably linked to every decision of Israel’s government. Far from combating antisemitism, this dynamic promises to amplify the real threats Jewish Americans already face." 

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