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International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition of Anti-Semitism

(May 26, 2016)

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is an intergovernmental body whose purpose is to place political and social leaders' support behind the need for Holocaust education, remembrance and research both nationally and internationally. The Alliance has 33 members.

The committee on Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial called the IHRA Plenary in Budapest 2015 to adopt the following working definition of anti-Semitism:

“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as illustrations:

Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

Contemporary examples of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.

  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Anti-Semitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of anti-Semitic materials in some countries).

Criminal acts are anti-Semitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.

Anti-Semitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.

To date, the working definition has been adopted or endorsed by the following governments and bodies:

The United Kingdom (December 12, 2016), Israel (January 22, 2017), Austria (April 25, 2017), Romania (May 25, 2017), Germany (September 20, 2017), Bulgaria (October 18, 2017), Belgium (December 14, 2018), Slovenia (December 20, 2018), Sweden (January 27, 2018 and January 21, 2020), Lithuania (January 24, 2018), the Republic of North Macedonia (March 6, 2018), the Netherlands (November 27, 2018), Slovakia (November 28, 2018), Republic of Moldova (January 18, 2019), Czech Republic (January 25, 2019), Hungary (February 18, 2019), Canada (June 27, 2019), Luxembourg (July 10, 2019), Greece (November 8, 2019), and France (February 20, 2019), Cyprus (December 18, 2019), Italy (January 17, 2020), Uruguay (January 27, 2020), Serbia (February 27, 2020), Argentina (June 4, 2020), Spain (July 22, 2020), Albania (October 22, 2020).

Members of the IHRA

Argentina

Germany

Poland

Austria

Greece

Portugal

Belgium

Hungary

Romania

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Ireland

Serbia

Canada

Israel

Slovakia

Croatia

Italy

Slovenia

Czech Republic

Latvia

Spain

Denmark

Lithuania

Sweden

Estonia

Luxembourg

Switzerland

Finland

Netherlands

United Kingdom

France

Norway

United States of America


Sources: International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Definition of Anti-Semitism;
Rachel Wolf, “Cyprus adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism,” Jerusalem Post, (December 19, 2019);
Lahav Harkov, “Italy adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism,” Jerusalem Post, (January 19, 2020);
“Wiesenthal Center Applauds Uruguay's Decision to Combat Anti-Semitism Adopting IHRA`s Working Definition,” Simon Wiesenthal Center, (January 27, 2020);
“Serbia adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism,” World Jewish Congress, (June 4, 2020);
“Argentina adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism,” World Jewish Congress, (June 10, 2020);
Marcy Oster, “Spain adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism,” Jerusalem Post, (December 19, 2019);
Jeremy Sharon, “Albania first Muslim majority state to adopt IHRA antisemitism definition,” Jerusalem Post, (October 22, 2020).