JTeach.ca, like over 1100 other entities, recognizes the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Non-Legally Binding Working Definition of Antisemitism as its guiding definition of antisemitism.
“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.”
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 antisemitic. Antisemitism 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 antisemitism 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.
Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).
Criminal acts are antisemitic 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.
Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.
Endorsement and Adoption of the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism
The IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism, adopted in 2016 at the Bucharest Plenary under the Romanian Presidency, has helped guide countless governments, organizations, and individuals in their efforts to identify antisemitism. This practical tool has also been formally adopted or endorsed by these groups, both at the national and organizational level.
The following UN member states have adopted or endorsed the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. Beyond the 39 countries listed below, a wide range of other political entities, including a large number of regional/state and local governments, have done so as well.
Albania (22 October 2020)
Argentina (4 June 2020)
Australia (13 October 2021)
Austria (25 April 2017)
Belgium (14 December 2018)
Bosnia (22 July 2022)
Bulgaria (18 October 2017)
Canada (27 June 2019)
Colombia (2 June 2022)
Croatia (20 January 2023)
Cyprus (18 December 2019)
Czech Republic (25 January 2019)
Estonia (29 April 2021)
Finland (17 February 2022)
France (3 December 2019)
Germany (20 September 2017)
Greece (8 November 2019)
Guatemala (27 January 2021)
Hungary (18 February 2019)
Israel (22 January 2017)
Italy (17 January 2020)
Lithuania (24 January 2018)
Luxembourg (10 July 2019)
Moldova (18 January 2019)
Netherlands (27 November 2018)
North Macedonia (6 March 2018)
Philippines (18 February 2022)
Poland (13 October 2021)
Portugal (28 July 2021)
Romania (25 May 2017)
Serbia (26 February 2020)
Slovakia (28 November 2018)
Slovenia (20 December 2018)
South Korea (4 August 2021)
Spain (22 July 2020)
Sweden (21 January 2020)
United Kingdom (12 December 2016)
United States (11 December 2019)
Uruguay (27 January 2020)
The following international organizations have expressed support for the working definition of antisemitism:
- Secretary General Antonio Guterres acknowledged the efforts of the IHRA Member Countries to agree on a common definition of antisemitism and underlined that it could serve as a basis for law enforcement, as well as preventive policies.
- Special Rapporteur for freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shaheed recommended that governments use the IHRA working definition of antisemitism as a non-legally binding educational and training tool and ensure it is incorporated, together with relevant human rights standards-based guidance on protecting freedom of opinion and expression, into training and educational materials for all public officials, such as police, prosecutors, and judges, government employees, educators, and national human rights institutions, and integrated into diversity inclusion programs.
- Council and Parliament called on Member States that had not done so already to endorse the non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism employed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as a useful guidance tool in education and training, including for law enforcement authorities in their efforts to identify and investigate antisemitic attacks more efficiently and effectively.
- Commission highlighted the working definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance as the benchmark for developing a victim-centered approach and urged for its adoption.
Organization of American States
- Secretary General Luis Almagro asked every member state to adopt the working definition and announced it would be employed to guide OAS work.
Council of Europe
- European Commission against Racism and Intolerance welcomed the non-legally binding IHRA working definition of antisemitism in the sense that it aids and promotes a better understanding of antisemitism. It considered that it can be a positive tool and encouraged Council of Europe member states to take it into account, in particular in the areas of data collection, education, and awareness-raising.